How to Keep Squirrels Away From Pumpkins

‘Tis the season for pumpkin flavored EVERTHING and for days spent at the pumpkin patch. But let’s talk about a pumpkin’s arch nemesis—the squirrel! I mean, it’s like these furry little creatures have no idea that we are trying to have Instagrammable fall décor, am I right? In all seriousness, having squirrels attack your pumpkin is incredibly annoying (especially when your kiddo spends hours decorating his/her pumpkin). But I’m here to save our sanity (and our photos) with these tips for how to keep squirrels away from pumpkins:

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First off, remember that none of these methods will work if you aren’t consistent with applying deterrents to your pumpkins. So, when it rains or there is a frost, wipe your pumpkins dry and then re-apply the treatment. And don’t forget to use disposable gloves because your hands can get nasty when dealing with hot sauce and vapor rub!

Lastly, remember that carved pumpkins are much more susceptible to squirrels than whole pumpkins are. It’s basically like you are dangling fresh meat in front of a tiger when you put a carved pumpkin on your porch. Try to carve your pumpkins either at home or a pumping carving party no more than a week or mere days before Halloween.

How to Keep Squirrels Away From Pumpkins

Method One: Coat pumpkin with Crisco and then cover in dog hair.

Why is this so effective? Because Crisco shortening makes the pumpkin slippery and is thick enough to adhere the dog hair to the pumpkin. Dogs and squirrels inherently stay away from each other (there must have been an epic battle thousands of years ago or something) so covering your pumpkin with dog hair can keep the squirrels at bay. And I mean, what better use for all the dog hair that is currently covering your floors?!?!

Method Two: Cover pumpkin with hair spray and spicy sauce

While siracha might be all the rage, it is a great antidote for squirrels. Either coat your pumpkin with hair spray and then sprinkle cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes onto the pumpkin’s surface OR drizzle siracha/hot sauce onto the pumpkins. WASH YOUR HANDS WELL after applying the spicy treatment and use this strategy on orange or red pumpkins. You could use it on the white ones, too, but it might also look like a bloody mess (if that’s the kind of Halloween theme you are going for).

This strategy works because the oils in the spices will slowly become absorbed into the pumpkin’s flesh, making it inedible for even taco-loving squirrels (I mean, if Dragons Love Tacos, I’m sure squirrels do, too).

Method Three: Give your pumpkin a bleach bath

Perfect for all those white pumpkins out there (heeey, basic witches!), let pumpkins soak in a bleach bath for an hour and then dry completely before putting them on display. Use plates under if the surface you are placing the pumpkins on shouldn’t have bleach around it like a painted porch or rug.

Method Four: Lacquer it up.

Perfect for carved pumpkins because it will help maintain the carved patterns, clear lacquer is a great option for any and all types of pumpkins. Apply over each and every inch of the pumpkin and completely dry. Then repeat the process once more. Be sure to apply in a well-ventilated area.

Method Five: Give it the cold and flu treatment.

The one good thing about cold and flu season starting? You probably have eucalyptus oil or Vick’s Vapor Rub on hand. Not just useful for congestion, it is also great for putting on pumpkins to keep squirrels away. The strong scent is a deterrent and smells so much better than vinegar or bleach if you ask me.

Either use Vapor Rub straight out of the carton or mix 7-10 drops into ½ cup of petroleum jelly. Put on gloves and then apply the entire mixture all over the pumpkin. It might look a bit gooey, but who doesn’t love slime on Halloween?!?!

Totally give up on real pumpkins? Then check out the faux carvable pumpkins that are available at Target. And while you are at it, don’t forget to check out my pumpkin patch picks (I mean, who doesn’t love a pumpkin eating dino?) and tips on how to throw an awesome pumpkin carving party.

Good luck with the fight against the squirrels!


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  1. Shayla Marie says

    I didn’t even know squirrels ate them, this is the first year we have decorated with pumpkins outdoors. I’m really glad to know so that I’m aware! Thank you for this tip!

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