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Believe it or not, we carve them on Halloween and put them out in the graveyard that night. Then we bring them inside and refrigerate them. Next day we peel them, cut them into pieces, boil the pieces till they're soft and then mash them. We put the cooked, mashed pumpkin into bags which hold two cups each. These are then frozen. Why would you do this, you might ask? Because then you have the base for a year's worth of pumpkin pies. But these taste better than any others, and they make you smile too, because unlike something out of a can, you know that these pies are a gift from the Great Pumpkin himself on Halloween night!
 

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Resident Potterhead
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i do mine the night before halloween. i like them to look as fresh as possible for the big night. they usually start shriveling and looking like toothless old men within 2 days, then the fuzz starts to grow.
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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I do mine the night of the 29th. They go out that night, the 30th and the 31st. (When I carve them, I wash them in the sink to get all the gunk off, pat them dry {because I like really clean looking Jack-o-lanterns} then put them out. I have no idea if that helps them from drying out and shriveling or not...but they still look good on Halloween night, so maybe, lol.)
 

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Moonlighter
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We carve the night before, but they don't go out for display until Halloween night. In my part of the world, the night before is traditionally mischief night, where a lot of poor JOL's see an early demise at the hands of some punky teenager. Nope, my jacks go out on the big night and then sit on the porch for the rest of the night to guard and protect the house - as legend says any good Halloween fan should do! :D
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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This is where the lessons of the McDonald's experiments comes in handy. You've seen those right? The stories where nutritionists claim McDonald's fries and burgers are fake or toxic and thus unhealthy for you - based on the fact that they don't decompose. In reality, they don't decompose due to low water content - within a couple hours, they dry out sufficiently that mold can't grow on them any more than they can dry desert sand.

So the trick to making your pumpkin last is to remove all as much moisture as possible from the pumpkin, as quickly as possible.

Side note: fresh/frozen pumpkin mash only tastes better than canned pumpkin puree because the pumpkin in the can leeches metal from the can. This can be neutralized by cooking the canned pumpkin over low heat for about 5 minutes in a saucepan.
 

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I wonder if dipping them in a solution of "Fruit Fresh" found in the canning sections of stores might work ? My wife uses it on guacamole dip to keep it from going nuclear.
Myself I wash and dry the carved pumpkin and apply a light coating of petroleum jelly as we do not intend to eat these after carving. (we have plenty more for that)
They have lasted up to 10 days with no ill effects. (other then gnats stuck to them)
 
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