Outdoor PestsRodents

How To Keep Rats Away From Pumpkins

Mouse Sitting On The Pumpkin

Rats enjoy munching pumpkins. Anywhere and anytime, these rodents will happily feast on the flesh and seeds of any pumpkin, especially if it is carved.

The last thing you want is your favorite Halloween decoration to end up as rat food. What can one do to keep these rodents away? Find out in this article.


Rats are some of the many animals that love to munch pumpkins. However, no one wants to carve up some pumpkins for Halloween and find furry animals feasting on them.

To keep rats away from pumpkins, here are a few ways strategies you can apply:

  • Coat your pumpkin with hairspray
  • Apply hot sauce or pepper around your pumpkin
  • Coat your pumpkins with lacquer spray

For a better result, we recommend you combine two or more techniques. To frighten off rats from pumpkins, remember to always keep your environment clean.

Rats thrive in dirty environments and eat anything that smells from your garbage to your carved pumpkins.

In the following headings, we will consider eight simple strategies to keep rats away from pumpkins and how to deploy them. Also, we will answer some common questions about rat infestation on pumpkins.

8 Ways To Keep Rats Away From Pumpkins

Pumpkins make for excellent holiday decorations, especially during the fall season. They come in different colors, shapes, and textures, and you can design versatile shapes from them.

However, humans are not the only ones that fancy pumpkins. Animals like rats and squirrels love to eat the juicy fruit of pumpkins down to the seed.

The fruit is an easy food source for them, especially since it is mostly already carved open. However, you don’t want your favorite Halloween decoration to end up as rat food.

Below, we will walk you through eight things you can do to keep rats away from your pumpkins:

1. Never Leave Your Pumpkins Outside

Pumpkin And Autumn Leaves On Picnic Table In The Fall

To keep rats away, remove their food sources. Keeping your pumpkins outside is like displaying a banner calling rats to your home.

They love high-calorie foods like pumpkins and will do anything to get them. Plus, as the pumpkins rot, the smell calls out to these rodents, and they will come, looking for a meal.

So, inspect your pumpkins often to check for rot or homes. Ensure also that there are no holes in your building that create entryways for these rodents to attack.

Instead of displaying pumpkins outside, you can place them on window sills or high off the ground. That way, it is harder for rats to climb up to get them.

2. Clean Out Your Pumpkin

Emptying The Pumpkin Pulp For Halloween

When carving your pumpkins to make decorations, remove all the pulpy parts. This includes seeds and other fruity parts, as these are the things that attract rodents.

After cutting out holes in your pumpkin, use a spoon to scrape out all the juicy parts. This will prevent the pumpkin from decaying fast and deter rats from eating it.

3. Apply Petroleum Jelly All Over Your Pumpkins

Close Up Of Man Hand Using Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly creates a thick surface that rats find less appealing. It also doubles as a moisturizer that protects pumpkins from shrinking, especially in hot climates.

So, applying generous amounts of petroleum jelly to your pumpkins can protect them from rats and other pests.

It also preserves the lifespan of your pumpkins by preventing them from rotting quickly. Focus your attention on the areas of your pumpkin with exposed bits.

4. Clean Your Environment

Woman In Protective Gloves Holding A Flat Wet-Mop And Bucket With Detergents And Rags While Cleaning Her House

Cleaning is the cheapest and often the most effective way to keep rats and other rodents out. Rats thrive in dirty environments and eat anything that smells from your garbage to your carved pumpkins.

However, they are less likely to come around if your surroundings are sparkling clean.

So, keep all drainage systems around your house clean, clean your garden, and fix the holes in your fence (if any). These are the major areas where rats may come from into your house.

You can use bleach or a disinfectant to clean, as the smell will discourage rats more.

5. Coat Your Pumpkin With Hairspray

Hand Using A Spray On White Background

Hairspray is another effective technique to deter rats from your favorite pumpkins. Most animals avoid food with unpleasant exteriors, and hairspray has this effect on pumpkins.

So, coat your pumpkins inside out with a generous layer of hairspray to leave them feeling sticky. Make sure to reach all exposed parts of the pumpkin.

If rats feel any vulnerable spot, they will bite through it. For all I know, that is not what you want.

That said, please note that hairspray wears off easily and will require frequent reapplication. So, make a schedule for spraying an extra coat of hairspray at two days intervals.

6. Apply Lacquer Spray

Hand And Painting Spray Gun At Work On White Background

If you are a DIY person, you may already be familiar with lacquer spray. For those who don’t know, lacquer spray is a fast-drying paint used as the finishing coat on several materials.

Manufacturers use it to give wood, ceramics, metal, and other items a glossy finish. You can apply this paint on pumpkins to keep rats away.

So, if you already have one in your craft cupboard, get into the DIY spirit and bring it out.

Lacquer is also available in several online marketplaces.

With the lacquer spray ready, roll up your sleeves and execute the following instructions:

  1. Generously coat your pumpkin with the spray.
  2. Next, leave it to dry until it forms a hard exterior.
  3. Pay special attention to the bits of exposed flesh, if any.
  4. When the spray dries completely, it will give your pumpkins a crunchy exterior that rats will find difficult to bite through.

7. Create a Hot Sauce or Pepper Repellent

Man Aiming And Spraying Pepper Spray With Visible Fog On Black Background

Animals hate eating spicy things or foods with overwhelming odors. Hot sauce and peppers, whether chili or cayenne, have an overpowering effect on rats.

Pepper contains capsaicin, a natural chemical that gives it heat. There are many ways to use this characteristic against unwelcome pests -in this case, rats.

One way is to sprinkle ground pepper around your pumpkin patch or on the pumpkin itself. This creates a scent barrier that deters rats once they catch a whiff of the strong scent.

Another method is to blend spicy peppers with water to form a paste and add dish soap and vegetable oil.

Then, pour this solution into a spray bottle and generously douse your pumpkin. Repeat this every few days to maintain the spicy effect.

Alternatively, you can rub generous amounts of hot sauce all over your pumpkin. The oils in the hot sauce dissolve into the pumpkin to reach the flesh.

That way, it is an unpleasant, spicy taste when rats attempt to nibble it.


Before applying this method, ensure you wear protective gear like gloves. Also, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the pepper repellant.

Peppers are not nice flavors to come in contact with your eyes or other sensitive body parts.

8. Use Vinegar Solution

White Vinegar On The Wooden Table Top

Vinegar has a strong odor that deters most pests. However, do not pour generous amounts of vinegar on your pumpkin when using this method.

Vinegar contains acetic acid that can damage the skin of your pumpkin fruit and change its appearance.

Instead of regular vinegar, opt for distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. These options are less harsh and will produce the same results.

To apply, soak a piece of cloth in small amounts of vinegar and wipe your pumpkins. Because of the harsh components of vinegar, you don’t need much vinegar solution to do this.

Alternatively, you can dilute the vinegar with water and mix it as a spray. Spray this solution all around your pumpkin, including the insides.

The vinegar will prevent rodents and bugs from perching on your pumpkin, while the water will keep the fruit moist and preserve it for longer.


Rats are some of the many animals that love to munch pumpkins. However, no one wants to carve up some pumpkins for Halloween and find furry animals feasting on them.

That is why we drew up some effective strategies to prevent this from happening. As a brief recap, you can use a vinegar solution, apply a hot sauce or pepper repellent, and coat your pumpkin with lacquer spray.

Other methods include coating with hairspray, applying petroleum jelly, and keeping the environment clean.

Try out the solutions suggested in this article, and combine multiple methods for a better result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rats Drawn to Old Pumpkins?

Rats, like other small animals, are not picky regarding food. They will feast on the flesh and seeds of any pumpkin, especially if it is carved.

Can Fencing Keep Rats Out?

A small net or mesh fence keeps most animals, including rats, out of pumpkin patches.

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