Ask Liz: Halloween Edition!

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Ask Liz: 10-31-08

    How can you make Jack-O-Lanterns last longer? PumpkinCarving101.com and Cherry Hill Farm in Clinton, Md. say the reason pumpkins rot is because they become dehydrated. You can do several things to restore the moisture.

    • Try soaking pumpkins in water overnight.
    • Coat all the cut surfaces of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly after carving. The jelly will seal in moisture to slow down the dehydration process.
    • Other tricks, like keeping the pumpkin out of direct sunlight and putting it in a refrigerator overnight, can help your Jack-O-Lanterns last longer.

    How can you keep squirrels from eating your Jack-O-Lanterns? The author of the book "Outwitting Squirrels" by Bill Adler explains that squirrels LOVE pumpkins.

    • One option is the two-pumpkin strategy. Carve one for your front step and one for the squirrels. Put "their" pumpkin out in the yard. That way the lazy squirrels will eat the easy one, and leave yours alone.
    • Put something noisy, like aluminum foil, near your doorstep pumpkin to annoy the squirrels.
    • Pepper your pumpkin! Rub red pepper into the flesh inside the pumpkin and the squirrels will probably leave it alone.

    How can you keep your kids safe on Halloween night? The Food and Drug Administration provides the following tips:

    • Look for the words "flame resistant" on costume labels, and choose flame-resistant fabrics like polyester or nylon.
    • Have your kids wear bright, reflective costumes or use reflective tape so they’ll be more visible at night.
    • Paint your kids with festive makeup rather than having them wear masks that can obstruct their vision.

    Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.


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