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How to Choose a Halloween Pumpkin

Updated on August 30, 2010

Choosing a Halloween pumpkin can be one of the most fun aspects of the holiday. Kids in particular love picking out their very own Halloween pumpkin. Here are some tips to help you pick out the perfect Halloween pumpkin.

1. Consider how you will use the pumpkin.

Before going hunting for the perfect pumpkin, decide how you will use it. Will you carve it to serve as a jack-o-lantern on your front porch? Will you paint it? Or will you simply set it in your house as-is? If you are going to carve the pumpkin, decide on what type of carving you will do, and look for a pumpkin to match. For example, a short, squat pumpkin can be carved to look like a jolly, round face, while a tall narrow pumpkin can be carved to look more ghoulish. Whether you are carving or painting a pumpkin, you will need to find one with a smooth, unblemished surface to decorate. If you are not going to alter the pumpkin at all, choose one that has a pleasant-looking side to it.

2. Decide what size you want.

The size of the pumpkin you need depends on what use you will put it to (discussed above), and also where you plan to put it. If you plan to carve a jack-o-lantern to sit on your front porch, you may want a big pumpkin. On the other hand, if you want one to sit on your mantle, you will want a smaller one. If you plan to get several pumpkins, determine what different sizes will look good together—you may want to get a large, medium, and small pumpkin to create a nice set.

3. Choose a pumpkin from the patch.

While pumpkins can be purchased at grocery stores around Halloween, nothing beats the experience of going to an actual pumpkin patch to select your pumpkin. If you have kids, take a camera and let them wander among the pumpkins. Some pumpkin patches have rides and activities as well. If you are looking for pumpkins to carve, you will want to pick a pumpkin close to Halloween (or at least wait to carve it until close to Halloween), since a carved pumpkin will rot in a few weeks. On the other hand, if you are not cutting into the pumpkin, it will last for a long time. Going to the pumpkin patch early is a good idea to guarantee a good selection.

Image Credit: Kevitivity, Flickr


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