If your Halloween pumpkins are being ruined by backyard critters, there are a few remedies that may want to try.

Last week I took my son to the pumpkin patch to pick out our yearly Halloween pumpkins. As we do every year, the pumpkins have been placed on our front porch until the week of Halloween when we spend the day carving them into jack-o-lanterns.

This year, however, the pumpkins are being carved a few weeks early, but not by us.

Chipmunks have begun to chew away at one of the pumpkins. And while it's so cool watching those little guys sit there and stuff their face with food, Most of us would probably rather not have to keep buying new pumpkins in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

After combing the internet for suggestions on how to save my pumpkins I've found several ideas that may be worth a try. Local garden supply shops sell critter repellant that will keep deer, squirrels and pretty much any other animal away from your vegetables. While they work well at first, you'll need to reapply them every time it rains. Forget just once, and your pumpkin is doomed. Also, the repellants don't just keep animals away. Since the smell so terrible, they'll also stink up your front stoop. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to bring a pumpkin into my house to carve that smells like rotten eggs.

Other suggestions include leaving a bowl of vinegar next to the pumpkin. Apparently, squirrels and chipmunks hate the smell so much, they won't get close enough to eat the pumpkin. Human hair is also supposed to repel animals. And since everyone is cutting their own hair now, it's likely you may find yourself with some this month. While it's kind of gross to have clumps of hair surrounding your pumpkin, perhaps gluing it to the pumpkin to make a Tom Sellek jack-o-lantern might be a fun project.

Others suggest coating your pumpkin with Vasoline or even hot sauce to deter chipmunks from eating through the skin. There are even recipes online for creating your own spray using garlic, peppermint and other natural repellants.

My favorite idea that I've stumbled across was to scare the critters away from your pumpkin. Since this is Halloween, decorating with motion-controlled ghosts that jump and scream may be a fun addition to your display that can also double as an effective pumpkin protector.

For me, it seems a little too late to try any of these ideas so my plan is to keep the half-chewed pumpkin on my porch. Hopefully, the chipmunks will spend the rest of the month finishing it up instead of moving on to our other pumpkins.

If that doesn't work, I guess we'll just go with it. Maybe I'll just spray some fake blood over the pile of deformed pumpkins and pretend they were eaten by some killer creatures that lurk in the shadows. Actually, that wouldn't be too far from the truth.