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

Here are two hints to help preserve carved pumpkins. 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 to 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 any mold, which is very important. Enjoy your pumpkins, and happy Halloween!

– Heloise

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

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 other good buys that I donate monthly.

– Nina S. in Texas

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

– Heloise

Dear Heloise: After breaking my ankle on a hike and being fitted for crutches, I started developing painful calluses on my palms. My brilliant husband suggested that I start wearing fingerless bicycling gloves, which are heavily padded on the palms.

The result was immediate relief from the pain and much more comfort with the crutches.

– Kris I., Sacramento

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

– U.H., Lincoln