It's that time of year again, isn't it? You and your family get all excited about carving the most amazing pumpkin to show off during the fall and Halloween season. But what happens? Squirrels and other little critters decide your hard work looks like a tasty treat. It can be pretty frustrating, right?

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But don't worry, there are a few nifty tricks you can try to keep those critters away from your Halloween masterpieces.

One idea is to grab some animal repellent from a garden store, or you can even make your own at home.

And here's a fun twist – if you've got pets, you can use their fur to your advantage. Cats and dogs are natural squirrel enemies. The Pioneer Woman suggests putting their fur or something that's covered in it around the base of your pumpkin to scare off the little pests.

Another cool tip is to give your pumpkin a good, thick layer of petroleum jelly. Not only will it stop squirrels from snacking on your artwork, but it'll also help your pumpkin's carved edges last longer.

Now, the secret weapon in the battle against pumpkin-loving squirrels is capsaicin. It's the spicy stuff in chili peppers. You can sprinkle some cayenne pepper on your pumpkin, or mix crushed red pepper with water and a drop of dish soap and spray it on the pumpkins.

If you're looking for something more aromatic, Martha Stewart's website says to try essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus. These can keep those critters at a safe distance. Vinegar, with its strong scent, is also said to be a squirrel deterrent.

Oh, and don't forget to scoop out all those seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin. That makes it a little less tempting for scavengers.

But if all else fails, just bring your pumpkins indoors. They'll be safe and sound from any curious animals. If they're in your garden, consider making some wire mesh cages to protect them. And if they're on the porch, whether carved or not, taking them inside or in the garage when you're not around can do wonders to prevent damage.

Happy pumpkin decorating!

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