Posted: October 31, 2013 at 2:41 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: As a family, one of the things we love to do each year at Halloween is carve pumpkins. Each family member picks a pumpkin, and then we all sit together and carve them a day or two before Halloween. Do you have any hints on how we can keep our carved pumpkins lasting longer?

  • Paige L. in California

DEAR READER: The first thing to do, once a pumpkin is carved, is to coat all the cut areas and the inside of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly to help prevent moisture loss. Don’t forget under the lid.

The other method you can use is mix water with a tablespoon or so of bleach in a 16-ounce spray bottle. Spray the pumpkin every day to help keep it from drying out and prevent the growth of mold.

P.S.: They don’t last long, so take photos.

DEAR HELOISE: I work at a resort in Maui, Hawaii. Sometimes parents get carried away and lose track of their child. When they come to me for help, I ask them if they have a picture on their phone from that day. That way, you can forward it to all the security people, and they will know exactly what the child is wearing and what he or she looks like. So, every time you go out in public, snap a picture, just in case.

  • Kawika in Maui, Hawaii

DEAR READER: Brilliant! This should be a hint for all parents and grandparents for any outing. Make it a habit to snap a photo when going anywhere your child might get lost.

DEAR HELOISE: I found a grocery ad in the paper for something that I don’t use, but because it was a terrific bargain, I purchased it for the next food drive. When I find coupons for nonperishable items or maybe a “buy one, get one free,” I use it with the food bank in mind. I keep a box for good buys that I donate monthly.

  • Nina S. in Texas

DEAR READER: That’s very considerate and an easy way to help without busting the budget.

DEAR HELOISE: If you have a small dog or a cat that sheds, rolling a lint roller over it is a nontraumatic way to reduce shedding. Your pet won’t mind it, and it is easy cleanup.

  • U.H., Lincoln, Calif.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend, Pages 36 on 10/31/2013