A pumpkin remains fresh and holds its color and shape well for only one or two days, and it stays in satisfactory condition for up to one week. Certain steps help prolong the life of a carved pumpkin.
Before carving pumpkins, the artists must wash their hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer. This reduces the possibility of transferring bacteria to the pumpkins. Microorganisms speed up the process of decay. After a pumpkin is carved, the inside should be wiped or sprayed with household bleach. Commercial sprays for this purpose are also found at craft stores. After the bleach treatment, the inside surface of the pumpkin is covered with petroleum jelly. The pumpkins must be kept out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry area. Both warm and freezing temperatures must be avoided.