Pumpkins are delicious and have a variety of uses, but Halloween is when this vegetable starts to become incredibly interesting. Whether you’re carving jack-o-lanterns or decorating the yard, you’ll be asking how long do pumpkins last?
A whole pumpkin that is disease-free, stored in a cool place between 50 and 55°F, can last 2 to 3 months. Once carved into a jack-o-lantern, the cut pumpkin may last only between 3 to 10 days before it becomes rotten.
How Long Are Pumpkins Good For?
Fresh, whole pumpkins have a surprisingly long shelf life when stored correctly. But as with most fruits and vegetables, this time is drastically reduced once it’s cut, cooked, or frozen.
|Type Of Pumpkin||Shelf Life Of Pumpkins|
|Uncarved Pumpkins||2 to 3 months|
|Carved Pumpkin||3 to 10 days|
|Uncut Mini Pumpkin||6 to 12 months|
Use the chart as a guide, but expect your pumpkin’s shelf life to be on the lower end. Generally, it is difficult to maintain the ideal temperatures and humidity when storing pumpkins at home.
Things That Affect A Pumpkins Shelf Life
Pumpkins are affected by their environment, including:
- Direct Sunlight: Sunlight breaks down organic material and weakens the tough skin of the pumpkin. Over time this will cause it to dry and crack, exposing the inside to mold and bacteria. Try to keep it in a cool dark place.
- Storage Temperature: Too much heat can cause your pumpkin to sweat and accelerate decomposition inside the pumpkin. On the other hand, freezing temperatures will cause it to turn to mush when thawed.
- Humidity: Humid conditions can build up condensation on the outside. The additional moisture can promote rotting and bacteria growth, further breaking down your pumpkin.
- Storage Location: Placing a pumpkin on the ground or on concrete will encourage the rotting process.
- Bugs And Pests: It’s not just dogs and cats that you have to worry about. Many outdoor critters won’t think twice about snacking on your jack-o-lantern in the middle of the night.
- Physical Damage: Bruising, cuts, or a broken stem will be where the rotting process starts and cause the rest of the pumpkin to decompose faster.
How Long Do Carved Pumpkins Last?
Carved pumpkins generally last up to one week before rotting and become rather unpleasant. But it depends on how well you’ve prepared your pumpkin and what the conditions are like with regards to temperature.
Ideally, you should aim to carve your pumpkin around two days before Halloween because carving too early will result in a mushy rotting jack-o-lantern.
Thoroughly scrape out your pumpkin. Yes, it is a gloppy and messy process. However, all those wet strings create a yummy home for bacteria and mold, so get as much out as you can.
Plus, you can enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds!
Wash out the pumpkin with a little peppermint soap or seal the inside with a nonflammable sealant to help slow the rot.
If you carve big enough holes to allow for good air circulation, the pumpkin may hang in there for around two weeks.
To extend the life a little more, you can wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge when it’s not on display.
Halloween Pumpkin FAQs
How Long Do Mini Pumpkins Last?
Whole mini pumpkins can last between 6 to 12 months if storage conditions are optimal. They are naturally dry inside, which helps prevent a shorter shelf life.
How Long Will Pumpkins Last On Porch?
If you live in a warmer climate, a pumpkin may only last a few days on the porch. The cooler the weather, the better it is for both whole and carved pumpkins.
How Long Does It Take For A Pumpkin To Rot?
Once a pumpkin is picked from a pumpkin patch, the natural process of decomposition starts. So depending on how it is handled from that point will determine how fast it rots.
Why Did My Pumpkin Mold So Fast?
Your pumpkin grew mold fast because it was too wet inside, which enabled the mold to grow quickly. You could always scrape and remove the insides as much as possible to prevent mold growth.
Make sure to plan ahead when buying Halloween pumpkins so that you have enough time to carve, display, and clean up after Halloween has finished.
Healthy pumpkins will look like they are in good shape, but be aware of any visible decay, no matter how small it may be.
For an extra bit of safety, if you’ve sealed the inside of your carved pumpkin, use flameless candles so that it doesn’t catch on fire, and enjoy your Halloween.