It’s October, which means Jack o’ Lanterns. Pumpkins are everywhere now, in great big bins outside the supermarket begging us to thump them, grin, and plop a great big one into our shopping cart. We’ll take it home, we’ll do that bit from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” where we spread out newspaper, plunge in the knife and scoop out in innards as Linus cries, “Awwww! You didn’t tell me you were gonna kill it!”

We’ll carve something simple with triangle eyes and a one-tooth grin. Or the true artists will use sculpting knives and create pumpkin art. Then we’ll place a candle or led light inside ol’ Jack and leave him outside on the doorstep. And we’ll want him to last, because we went to all that effort to enjoy the holiday spirit, right? So some of us will wash the pumpkin in a bleach-water mixture to retard bacteria growth and make our pumpkins last as long as possible – and it will work.

But guess who else sees ol’ Jack? Squirrels, possums, deer, rats, mice, crows, ravens, and maybe even bears (I live in the mountains). And what they may not realize is that the pumpkin is coated in bleach because their senses of smell are much different than ours. What they see is a yummy treat that only shows up every Fall, and if they eat that bleach-coated Jack o’ Lantern, they will fall sick and may die.

So instead of using bleach to keep your pumpkins smiling through Samhain, USE VINEGAR! Anyone who tries to remove chemicals from the environment will tell you how awesome vinegar is. It cuts through grease and retards bacteria growth, and it’s digestible! Use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water (a little goes a long way) and give your Jack o’ Lanterns a thorough bath inside and out. If critters come for a snack, they will not get sick. Plus, you’ll be helping to keep bleach out of the ecosystem.

So enjoy your Halloween with a beautifully carved pumpkin washed with vinegar.



Many Blessings from Celtic Nations Magazine.