Why You Shouldn’t Keep Pumpkins Indoors

20 October 2014 · 5 comments

This post is meant as a public service announcement for pumpkin carvers everywhere — but especially those who might consider keeping a carved pumpkin indoors for a day or two.

Don’t do it.

Eighteen months ago, I moved into a condo. Last year, Kim and I were too busy to carve pumpkins, so we didn’t bother. This year, however, she’s been feel especially festive, so we decided to decorate with style.

Two weeks ago, we took a trip to Kruger’s on Sauvie Island to pick pumpkins with Sahra and the Limbaughs. The day was lovely, and included a rare double rainbow.

Double rainbow at the pumpkin patch
Double rainbow at the pumpkin patch (only one rainbow shown)

We all picked pumpkins. Kim and I took home three. Here’s Reagan with hers:

Reagan with her pumpkin
Reagan with her pumpkin

At home, Kim and I put on the big band music and poured some champagne. We spent several hours carving our pumpkins.

Kim carves her first pumpkin
Kim carves her first pumpkin

They looked great!

Two jack o' lanterns
Two of our three jack o’ lanterns

We turned off the lights, lit the jack o’ lanterns and all of our candles, and then watched an old movie. Everything felt like fall.

So far, nothing unusual, right? Well, here’s the thing: Neither of us has ever lived in a condo before. We’ve only ever kept our jack o’ lanterns outside. In our current place, though, that doesn’t make much sense. Sure, we have three balconies, but if we put our pumpkins on them, nobody will see them.

Instead, we put one pumpkin in the hallway, one on the liquor cabinet, and one in the living room. So festive!

On Tuesday night — 72 hours after carving our pumpkins — we sat down for dinner as normal. “Hey,” Kim said, pointing at the pumpkin across the room. “Doesn’t that look like it’s slumping over a little?”

“It does look a little crooked,” I said. “I wonder why.”

“I think it’s okay,” she said.

A few minutes later, however, we both noticed that the pumpkin was not okay. “Holy cats,” I said. “I think it’s melting!” And indeed, that’s what it looked like. Kim got up to check things out.

“Get the garbage can!” she said. “And a towel!” I ran to the kitchen to grab the emergency tools. Thinking ahead, I also grabbed my phone. When I reached Kim’s side, this is what I saw:

A melted pumpkin
“Help me! I’m melting…”

Our pumpkin really had melted. When Kim pulled off the top, a mass of fruit flies flew spewed forth. A thick green mold coated the entire inside of the pumpkin. When I tried to pick it up, I was in for another surprise. The pumpkin no longer had any sort of structural integrity. It just sort of oozed in my arms so that there was no way to lift it into the trash can. We were forced to scoop it over in a wet and mushy heap.

“I wonder if the other pumpkins are okay,” I said.

We went to check the pumpkin on the liquor cabinet. “This one seems okay,” Kim said. But then I poked it and my finger sunk all the way through the skin. When Kim lifted the top, there was the same green mold and the same mass of fruit flies. That pumpkin too ended up in the trash. And so did the one in the hall (which wasn’t as bad as the other two, but soon would have been).

The moral of this story? Don’t keep carved pumpkins indoors. Let our foolishness serve as a warning to you all!

1 Tina in NJ October 20, 2014 at 14:29

We carve ours the weekend before Halloween and keep a large dinner plate under it. One year I carved the pumpkin the day before, then cooked it the day after Halloween to make pies. I’m not sure my son has forgiven me yet, and that was at least 10 years ago!

2 stellamarina October 20, 2014 at 17:03

Sad to see after all your hard work. I am afraid the same thing happens here in the tropical air of Hawaii even if the pumpkins are outside so we buy and carve the pumpkin like the day before Halloween.

3 Jayleen Zotti October 21, 2014 at 08:51

In only 72 hours?! That was fast! Thank you for the heads up … I wouldn’t have known.

4 Coach Jen October 21, 2014 at 10:24

The sad truth is, this year, even outside was too warm for pumpkins. Reagan’s 22 pound monster shriveled into mush beside her sister’s less than a week after our trip out to Krugers with you.
Only my uncarved, painted pumpkins have retained their integrity. Maybe there’s a lesson there…

5 Barb@livingrichlyinretirement October 25, 2014 at 14:58

I feel your pain. Here in Colorado it’s been in the high eighties (!!) so we haven’t even cut them for outside yet. We’ll do that the first of this week and hope they survive both the heat and the squirrels.

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