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I joined up with a co-worker last week to do a little pumpkin carving. We traveled to the nearest pumpkin patch, picked the ones we felt had the most personality, and sat outside her apartment, knives in hand, to create our masterpieces.

And the afternoon was great - she sat down with a detailed pattern, carving out a picture of a window, with a cat and jack-o-lantern sitting on the ledge and a spider dropping down. I was a little more free-form, opting just to carve a face in mine. And truth be told: my co-worker's jack-o-lantern came out better than mine.

But it's alright, I'm not bitter. Well, not TOO bitter.

Things went great over the next couple of days - my front stoop was completely "Halloweened out, " and I expected it to stay that way for about a week. After all, the jack-o-lantern would last, right?

Wrong.

As I was preparing for work last Tuesday or so, about three days after carving the pumpkin, I looked down at what was my former work of art.. The pumpkin, however, had morphed. A dark gray fuzz filled the inside and pumpkin juice (not the kind from Harry Potter, either) was oozing from the bottom.

It's true. My pumpkin had died.

I attempted to move it from the stoop, only to find that it had rotted so completely that it split in half. Not pretty. And I found my co-worker was in the same situation.

I'm not sure what to attribute it to - we had a cold front sweep the area in the days that followed the carving, which might have hurt the pumpkins, but I've never had one go bad so quickly.

I purchased another from the same pumpkin patch yesterday (they're getting great business from me this year!) and I'm hoping to get it carved up before Halloween on Wednesday. But not before I read up a little on how to make it last.

Here's a Web site I found with a few good tips - hope it helps!