The stem is the best hint of a good pumpkin, look for one that is not shriveled or brittle, this would be a fresh pumpkin. To preserve your decorator pumpkin and protect it from bacteria, mix a tablespoon of bleach with a quart of water and use a cloth to wipe it inside and out. Then rub a layer of petroleum jelly on all cut surfaces to keep moisture in and bacteria out.
Source: Woman's Day - October issue
By linda from Bellevue, NE
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After Halloween last year, I took down my scarecrow, but his pumpkin head was still fresh. I added his head to a bale of hay in the front yard for a fall decoration. My granddaughter asked, "How did the scarecrow get inside of the hay?"