Like many families across Easter Maine, my kids and I went to a pumpkin patch this past weekend to pick out our pumpkins for the year. They went looking for the biggest, roundest most "kid perfect" pumpkins to pick and were incredibly proud of the ones they found.

Cori Skall

And of course, they wanted to put them right out on the front steps to share with all the neighborhood. I happily obliged, and arranged them on the steps. Then we went in and got ready for bed. It wasn't until I was in the last little haze of consciousness, as I slipped into sleep for the night, that I thought: "Crap. I bet the squirrels will get those pumpkins!"

Cori Skall

Squirrels. They are both very entertaining to watch, and the absolute worst when it comes to destroying things outside. And we have a TON of them where I live. It's like a mini squirrel Olympic Village in my backyard, in fact. So I woke up bright and early this morning, and started to research "ways to keep squirrels from eating pumpkins!"

There are some really interesting ideas, that seem pretty simple. So I thought I'd share.

One website I came across said that to squirrels "pumpkins are an irresistible treat that they'll do almost anything to eat." They suggested a few things, including a mixture of water, dish soap and hot sauce. The article also said scattering bloodmeal and dog hair around your pumpkins might help deter critters from gorging on your gourds. suggested coating your pumpkins in a thick layer of petroleum jelly! I can only imagine what fun that would be at the end of the season, to pick the pumpkin up. They also said to use a motion detector or sprinkler to scare the squirrels away.

Some sites I saw suggested spraying the pumpkins down with hairspray, but when I looked at the comments, many people said that way only works if you reapply often. gave some good insight: "It turns out, squirrels have an aversion to capsaicin, the oil that makes hot peppers taste hot. Squirrels won’t eat foods that have capsaicin in them, and will avoid eating foods that have been treated with capsaicin. While you can buy squirrel repellent sprays at retail, there are a few ways to get capsaicin onto your pumpkins that are right in your kitchen."

Since I'm not a fan of hot sauce either, I may have finally found a way to kill two birds with one stone. I have a ton of left-over hot sauce in my cupboard...this would be a great way to get rid of that.

Hopefully a mix of one or more of these methods turns out to be helpful. I'll have to try them and report back with my findings.

Do you have any tried or true ways to keep the squirrels at bay?

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