By Paul C. Scheib

The Cuties Pumpkin Ever

The Cutest Pumpkin Ever

I just love October for a variety of reasons, but Halloween is one of the best.

One tradition I have started with my kids is carving pumpkins.   They pick out the design and scrape out the seeds.   I sketch out the pattern and use a jig saw to cut it onto the face.  As you can see, the results are fun.

But a funny thing happened while waiting on Halloween night to arrive.   In just about a week, our pumpkin turned really scary.

Scariest Pumpkin Ever

Scariest Pumpkin Ever

This had not happened before.  Our Jacks had always made it through Halloween and into the first week of November easily.  Sure, they normally deteriorated some, but never like this.

It got me thinking about what happened.

Pumpkins are, of course, a fruit and their sugars are a great growing environment for mold.   They are also naturally wet which is needed for growth.  But those conditions had been there in previous years.

There are two different factors this year.  First, we live in a new house on a heavily wooded lot with decaying vegetation everywhere.   This is very different than the subdivision we lived in previously, where even cut grass got picked up weekly.

The decay is fueled, in part, by mold so the counts in the air are much higher and more likely to land on Jack.

The second factor is the warmer than normal days for this time of year.  Cold weather inhibits, but does not prevent, mold growth.  So the higher temperatures incubate fungus which accelerates the decay.

Viola, collapsing Jack O Lantern.

If you are a Fungal Allergy sufferer, you need to be particularly careful in dealing with a carved pumpkin.  Moving a decayed pumpkin is likely to disturb spores and cause a flare up in symptoms. So here are a few tips for handling a decayed Jack if you have a fungal allergy.

  1. When handling a Jack that has been outside for a few weeks, wear a N-95 filter mask to block inhalation.
  2. When disposing of it , place a plastic bag over the Jack, lift and cinch the bag to minimize the spores from escaping. Then take it to the trash right away.
  3. Never bring a rotting Jack O Lantern back inside your home.
  4. Clean your sinuses after clean up with antifungal wash or spray.
  5. Clean your outer clothing with Laundry Additive.

Following these steps can prevent a miserable November due to a Fungal Allergy flare up.