How to Keep a Pumpkin Fresh for Halloween, According to Science

As the evenings get colder and darker, many of us will prepare for halloween celebrations this weekend.

A typical decoration is a gourd carved with a spooky face, which can sometimes take hours to gut and slice.

But all too often all that painstaking work can be wasted when, just hours before nightfall on October 31st, the fruits turn into mush.

To avert this gruesome fate, professional pumpkin sculptor Simonetta Zombori shares how to keep a pumpkin looking its best for Halloween.

This includes taking a bath of bleach to kill any bacteria that could speed up decomposition, and rubbing Vaseline into its surface.

Professional pumpkin sculptor Simonetta Zombori shares how to keep your pumpkin looking its best for Halloween.

Professional pumpkin sculptor Simonetta Zombori shares how to keep your pumpkin looking its best for Halloween.

Ms. Zombori trained as a stone carver but then discovered her love for carving various foods, including watermelons, cheese, and pumpkins.


  • Choose a pumpkin without a moldy or rotten stem.
  • Bathe with bleach.
  • Store outside.
  • Lubricate it with Vaseline.
  • Drizzle with lemon water and wrap in cling film.

Ms. Zombori trained as a stone carver but then discovered her love for carving various foods, including watermelons, cheese, and pumpkins.

The Hungarian artist now creates intricate carvings for major brands such as Google, Sainsburys and the theatrical production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Sometimes fruits need to stay fresh for days before being put on display, but luckily she has a few tricks to keep them from rotting.

1. Choose Your Pumpkin Carefully

The first step to creating the best pumpkin decoration for your street is to choose a healthy pumpkin to start with.

Signs of illness may begin to form on the gourd after it has been harvested, as a bruise or crack from shipping can allow bacteria to enter.

Ms Zombori told MailOnline: “When we choose a pumpkin, we need to make sure it is not rotten around the stem or moldy.

It must be dry or your pumpkin will quickly become moldy, especially at room temperature at home.

“Also, please never pick up a pumpkin by the stem, it will break off and the pumpkin will rot faster.”

2. Clean it up

After you’ve finished carving, bathing the pumpkin in bleach will kill any micro-organisms that may be eating away at the sweet fruit.

Because they spend most of their lives in the field, they are vulnerable to all sorts of fungi, bacteria and insects that are unlikely to be washed away.

When you start cutting and tearing off the pumpkin skin, it creates new holes for these organisms to enter.

Ms Zombori said: “You can add one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon (4.5 liters) of water and wash the carved gourd well.

“Then rinse well and dry the pumpkin. It will help him last longer.”

3. Store outside

The artist recommends keeping your pumpkin creations outdoors at as low temperatures as possible.

“Better to keep it outside, and then it can be a wonderful decoration for your porch or front door,” she said.

“If you store a carved pumpkin at room temperature, a warm room will rot faster.”

Ms. Zombori trained as a stone carver but then discovered her love for carving various foods, including watermelons, cheese, and pumpkins.


1. Draw a carving plan.

Ms Zombori told MailOnline: “I never start carving pumpkins without a plan.

“You have to think about what you will cut and what you will not touch with a knife.

“First I draw a drawing with a pen on a pumpkin, and then I start carving.”

2. Keep a water bottle handy

Ms Zombori said: “Pumpkins lose a lot of moisture while you are carving them, so while carving, I constantly sprinkle them with water in an attempt to keep them moist.

“It helps him stay productive.

“When I finish a carving, I wrap it in cling film and take it off just before putting the carving on display.”

3. Use more than just a traditional pumpkin carving kit.

If you want to carve like a pro, Ms. Zombori recommends ditching the traditional carving kit.

She uses Exacto knives, saws and clay sculpting tools.

She said: “One of my favorite tools is the linoleum cutter, it’s great for creating intricate designs.”

“If you want to use the traditional gourd lamp style, you will need a stainless steel saw, a poker tool, and a gourd scraper.

“You’ll notice a difference in how easy these tools are to work with.”

With an increase in temperature, decomposing microorganisms are activated and the rate of decay increases.

It is also recommended to protect the pumpkin from rain, which can cause mold growth.

When it comes to pumpkin lighting, Ms. Zombori also recommends using an electric LED bulb rather than a candle to avoid unnecessary heat.

She said: “Pumpkins get very bright but don’t give off heat.

“You want the pumpkin to be as cold as possible, and if you have a heat source inside, the pumpkin will start to cook inside.

“So if you use electric light, you will also extend the life of your carving.”

4. Lubricate with Vaseline

Ms. Zombori swears not just for chapped lips, but to make her carved creations look almost eatable.

It will act as a barrier that prevents bacteria-infested moisture from getting inside, but also keeps it fresh.

She said: “If you are stenciling where you are not cutting through the wall of the gourd but only carving the surface, then you can apply petroleum jelly to the surface.

“The Vaseline will keep the pumpkin moist. It doesn’t dry as quickly and also adds a nice sheen to your masterpiece.”

5. Spray water with lemon

Her final tip is to drizzle the surface of your spooky pumpkin creations with lemon water after you’ve finished carving.

They can then be wrapped tightly in cling film and placed in a cool place such as the refrigerator or outside before being unwrapped on Halloween night.

Ms Zombori said: “When I had to carve 40 pumpkins for an event, I had to make sure that the ones I carved in the first few days would be as fresh as the ones I carved on the fourth or fifth day.

“I was able to do it with this trick. In the evening, I sprayed each pumpkin and wrapped it, and they were all fresh for the event.”

NASA Shares Creepy Halloween Photo of Sun Glow with Pumpkin Face

Creepy photo showing how the sun shines halloween pumpkin face shared by user NASA on the eve of All Saints Day on October 31st.

Active areas on the surface of the sun created a grimacing smile and slanted eyes on the largest “pumpkin” of all.

An obtrusive illuminated “face” smoldered on the Sun’s surface in 2014, when activity reached “solar maximum”, meaning more sunspots appeared on the Sun.

It combines two sets of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths of 171 and 193 Angstroms (colored gold and yellow) to create a particularly Halloween-like look.

Read more here

A ghostly luminous

A ghostly luminous “face” glowed on the surface of the Sun in 2014, when activity reached “solar maximum”, which meant the appearance of new sunspots.