Knowing how long do pumpkins last will depend on a few key factors: whether they’re carved or uncarved, how they were picked, and if they were stored properly. You’ll learn all of this below as well as a few essential tips to prevent your precious pumpkins from rotting too quickly!

Above view of several pumpkins on a countertop.

How long do pumpkins last?

Whole pumpkins last from 2-3 months in cool temperatures. At room temperature, whole pumpkins last about one month. On the other hand, carved pumpkins last 1-2 weeks on a chilly front porch, but only 3-5 days at room temperature.

Whether it’s for Halloween decorations or Fall festivities, picking pumpkins should be done the right way so they last all season!

For the best results of a perfectly preserved pumpkin, read on for how to keep your pumpkins—carved or not—in good shape throughout the Fall months!

How to pick a good pumpkin?

Whether at the pumpkin patch or the grocery store, to get the greatest life span out of your pumpkin, choose healthy pumpkins that have:

  • Green stems
  • Hollow sound
  • Firm skin
  • Vibrant orange color

Don’t pick pumpkins with:

  • Soft spots
  • Broken stem
  • Hard, brown textures

How to preserve a carved pumpkin?

These 6 steps will give your Halloween pumpkin a fresher look that’ll last all Fall season long. Each step has a few different options, so go with your personal preference and have fun!

1. Cut open and scrape out the guts and seeds.

​The first step is the messiest and most meticulous step. Make sure to completely gut your pumpkin—seeds and all—because this is where the rotting starts first. Use something like a pumpkin carving knife and a big metal spoon to really get all the insides out.

Also, don’t let those pumpkin seeds go to waste! Check out these recipes to use your pumpkin seeds:

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2. Pat down and spray the inside.

​Pat down the outside and inside of your pumpkin with a paper towel. Then, thoroughly spray the inside AND outside with a water and bleach solution. To create the spray, use one teaspoon of bleach for every 4 cups of water.

If you don’t have bleach, you can use a peppermint soap or oil instead. Peppermint does have antifungal properties, so it will work just like the bleach. 

3. Allow pumpkin to dry.

​Do not pat down your pumpkin once you’ve sprayed it. Let it dry completely, which could take several hours. To speed up this process, feel free to use a fan on a low setting.

4. Carve your pumpkin!

This step is the best step—carving your pumpkin! Use permanent markers to draw out your pumpkin face vision, or even use pumpkin carving stencils to add that picture-perfect touch. 

5. Submerge in a bleach & water bath.

You may have finished carving your pumpkin, but you’re not done preserving it yet. The rotting process will start eventually, but you can still increase the life span of the cut parts.

One optional way to do this is to use a big bowl to fully submerge your pumpkin in a bleach and water solution. For every gallon of water, add ⅓-cup of bleach. Let it submerge for several hours, then dry completely.

6. Coat the carved parts.

While the prior step is optional, if you decide to skip it, you’ll still want to cover this step: coating the carved parts of your pumpkin. Use petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, olive oilor even WD-40 to coat each cut part. Then you’ll be ready to leave your pumpkin on your front porch!

You can also finish the pumpkin off with a coat of hairspray. This will give it a glossy, polished look.

Pumpkin with hands opening it.

How to preserve uncarved pumpkins?

The best way to preserve an uncarved pumpkin is to clean the outside of it, pat dry, and spray with either a water and vinegar or water and bleach solution.

How long do pumpkin cubes last?

When cubed, pumpkin can last in an airtight container for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. In the freezer, cut pumpkin can last for up to 2 months. If you’re using a freezer bag to store in the freezer, make sure to suck out all of the air so the cubed pumpkin does not get freezer burn.

Pumpkin Longevity FAQs

How to preserve the inside of a pumpkin?

Start from the inside out! After gutting your pumpkin, pat it dry and spray it with a bleach and water solution.

How to preserve the cut parts of a pumpkin?

Brush it with a bleach or vinegar solution, petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, olive oil, or lemon juice.

Should I put my pumpkin in the fridge?

Putting your pumpkin in the fridge during hours it does not need to be displayed is okay if you put it in a plastic bag.

Can I use real candles in my pumpkin?

Do not use real candles in carved pumpkins, or else it’ll be a fire hazard inside or outside of your house. Use flameless candles, glow sticks, or even an LED light.

Expert Tips & Tricks

Here are some good housekeeping tips for your pumpkins can include:

  • Keep pumpkins out of direct sunlight. Keeping your pumpkin in the shade will preserve it longer!
  • Place pumpkins above ground. Whether that’s a windowsill or on other decorations, it’ll keep little critters away from a potential midnight snack.
  • Spray with hairspray. This gives your pumpkin a glossy finish!
  • Frequently spray your pumpkin. Using a bleach or vinegar solution, keep spraying it throughout the Fall season for optimum preservation.
A spoon getting a bite of the best overnight oats from a glass mason jar.

Pumpkin Recipes

Enjoy pumpkin season in your kitchen, too! There are tons of delicious recipes—just make sure you’re using pie or sugar pumpkins for these, and not the ones for carving:

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