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Discussion Starter #1
When do you guys typically start your carving? I try not to do it too early for fear they will rot..but, I cannot wait! I guess I can carve a couple through out the month. I know some people are not that into it and find it to be too time consuming.

What about you guys? I know we have TONS of creative people on this forum and I would love to see some of your awesome pumpkins.
 

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We usually do 2 or 3 in the week leading up to Halloween. But with props and everything we never get a chance to do many more than that. I am hoping to have more carved this year. I just wish that they would last longer, so I could start 2 weeks before and have them all done and still holding up by Halloween.
 

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Resident Potterhead
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i do mine the night before halloween. i got too eager once a few years back and my poor pumpkin went moldy days before halloween.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I do mine the night before.

I have seen solution mixes online that you can dip your pumpkin in to in order to make it last longer.
I saw this too. I was wondering if they actually work. If anyone has tried them, please let me know!
 

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^ I wanted to try that solution as well, but haven't found it anywhere yet. I usually carve my pumpkins the day before Halloween, or two days before. No sooner than that though. I like them to be fresh on Halloween night. I, too, have learned the hard way that you can't carve too soon.

I just bought three pumpkins the other day and did some research on how to keep them fresh. Last year I bought them early too and they began to rot :( I read that you can wipe them down with a solution of bleach and water to kill off any bacteria on the outside. Then, once completely dry, spray them with a clear coat sealant. I bought a can of satin finish polyurethane. After you do carve them, they say to completely submerge your pumpkin in a solution of bleach and water and it supposedly can keep them from rotting for up to two weeks. My main concern about that is the smell. I like to pour some cinnamon on the inside lid of my jack o'lantern. It smells so good with the candle burning. Not sure if dunking them in bleach will affect this in any way.

Let's see how mine hold up. I'll post my results in this thread. Fingers crossed that it works.
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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Honestly, there are two approaches to this, in my experience.

The outdoor pumpkin is far more exposed to mold and bacteria. It also is the one most likely to have an electric light. It gets the whole treatment.
Indoor pumpkins can still mold in a few days, but they don't need the hardcore sterilization, which is good because they will most likely have a real candle.

Whether indoor or outdoor, the bleach water treatment makes a huge difference. It doesn't take a lot of bleach, a capful to a gallon.

*Carve and clean your jacks, then submerge them in a plastic tub with the bleach water for about ten minutes. Make sure you add the pumpkin lids as well.

*Take them out and rest them on a towel. Let them air-dry for about a day.

At this point, you can sprinkle cinnamon and clove on the lids and the interior of the indoor ones. They should hold up just fine for the next 3-5 days. If you are worried, you can always mist the interior every morning with a weak bleach water solution. This keeps the pumpkin from shriveling too quickly and kills any visiting bugs.

And no, the bleach smell is not bad at all. Once lit, the cinnamon/clove smell conquers everything. As an added boost, use pumpkin scented candles.

Outdoor pumpkins get a little extra. After the bleach water bath, they dry for a day and then get misted every day with this solution;

1/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 lemon juice.

Make sure you take the lights out before misting.
Electronics and acids don't mix.
 

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Last couple of years, I've ended up carving pumpkins on Halloween day in the afternoon post set-up. In a panicked rush. This year, I think I'm gonna try and do them the night before, and have them ready and in place. I'm not doing the contest from the last couple of years, which took up a lot of time, and I need more smaller pumpkins this year so I've gotta get started earlier.
 

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Reaper Guardian
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When do you guys typically start your carving?
Halloween morning. Depending on how many we carve, it could be straight on from there until sunset. Lately, though, we've scaled back and are usually done by lunch time. All of our pumpkins are outside pumpkins - most for decoration, some for more traditional purposes. In years past, on November 1 the remains would all go to the compost pile. However, The Deduction's influence means that many stick around longer now, and are actually lit several nights into November (which doesn't bother me at all). I've had some left outside, no treatment, that lasted a week. Yeah, they were pretty gross after a day or so, but didn't sink into themselves and collapse for a week. These are all lantern style Jacks

For the past couple years, I've been carving at a festival in Richmond, VA a few days before Halloween, which satisfies my carving itch before the day. It's also allowed me to experiment a bit more with sculptural, "Villafane-style" carving, and that's been a blast.
 

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It's so hot here through October, we can't even buy our pumpkins until maybe a week before Halloween. Don't even consider carving them until the night prior if we are lucky. My poor son accidentally looked up the weather for Long Beach CA today and thought we would have cool weather this week. But alas, he was wrong and our weather is still going to be mid 90's for the next 7 days.
 

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Love carving pumpkins! I always have little pumpkin carving parties with friends through out all of October. I find it relaxing. Add a few bottles of wine and we get some pretty creative jack-o-lanterns :)
 

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Reaper Guardian
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Wine and Pumpkins! Love it! Seems like a twist on the whole Wine and Paint thing!
 

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I always wait until October 30th. I usually don't have time October 31st. I've had pumpkins just rot without carving them so I even wait on buying them. I have a very nice Big Max I grew myself. It's around 50 lbs with a great face. I used to do stencils but now I just prefer the traditional look. Flickering candle and I'm happy. Has to be a real candle no matter how many times it goes out. If you do carve them don't leave them in the sun. Some people offer tips to make them last. I'm not sure if any work though(vaseline, lemon juice). Do not freeze them. I'd place them in the shade like the back of the house and move them to the east size and then out from(or vice versa if you face north. It's still September so you can expect a carved pumpkin now wont last long. Perhaps buy a funkin?
 
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