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How to Choose a Pumpkin for Halloween

Choosing a pumpkin is easy!  First..

Do you want it for a party, decoration or eating?

For a wedding or party:

See this page: Finding pumpkins for weddings

Decoration to paint or carve:

OK, Then you need only look for any pumpkin that is
  • visually appealing, evenly a deep orange. The shape is just whatever appeals to you.  If it grew on its side and has a flat spot, you can either make that the make or use it as part of your design! 
  • free from cuts, soft spots, bruises. The flesh should feel hard, and not give easily.  Infections can invade easily and cause rot
  • Make sure the stem is attached.

Store it carefully, especially if you pick it from the vine yourself. Cure a fresh-picked pumpkin by keeping it in a dry place. Don't handle or disturb it. Curing toughens the rind, making it less prone to rot.  Pumpkins will keep for months in a cool (50 F to 65F dry, low humidity environment; such as a cool, dry basement.

Tip: If you like roasted or baked pumpkin seeds, you can save the seeds from any pumpkin!

To make a pumpkin pie!

Then you need a small, sweet type of pumpkin that has been developed for eating.  They are smaller, typically about 8" to 10" diameter.  The meat is much less stringy and smoother than a decorative pumpkin variety. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and potassium. One-half cup of cooked pumpkin provides more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains only 81 calories. It's low in fat and sodium! Usually you can get these at the grocery store, and some of the pumpkin patches and farm stands have them.  Be sure to tell them that you intend to use it for a pumpkin pie. Again, look for firm, no soft spots, or signs of any rot. See this page for easy, illustrated directions to make a pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin!

Varieties of Pumpkins

  • Sugar - Excellent for baking
  • Jack O'Lantern - most common for carving
  • White Lumina - unusual, medium-sized white pumpkin
  • Mini - Great for decoration
  • Gourds - Many varieties, used for decorations 

For a very complete, detailed list of many varieties of pumpkins and where to get the seeds, see this page!

Want to Grow Your Own Pumpkins?

Then see this page!



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