If you have the time, enjoy a family trip to a pumpkin farm to make your selection. Savor some fresh cider or steaming hot chocolate while browsing hundreds of sizes and shapes of pumpkins. Your visit can also be an opportunity for younger kids to connect with nature and learn how pumpkins are grown. But even if you find yourself making a last-minute run to the supermarket or roadside stand, your family can have a blast picking the perfect pumpkin.
Start the selection process by deciding on the shape and color:
Tall thin shapes are ideal for funny faces and whimsical expressions.
Round shapes are great for happy faces -- and scary ones, too.
Oddly shaped pumpkins are perfect for creating unique characters.
Want something different? Consider a white pumpkin. Even when unlit, white pumpkins seem to glow as the daylight fades.
Next consider size:
A large space, like a big front porch, will look best with a large pumpkin. Or, group three or more medium-size pumpkins to create a big display.
If your pumpkin is destined for a small space, like a table in your entry hall, choose a more diminutive pumpkin. For a long narrow space, like a mantle, consider lining up three or more small pumpkins.
If your kids will be helping with the carving, stick with medium-size pumpkins, which are the easiest to work with.
Before making your final selection, make sure your pumpkin:
Has a broad, gently curved face for carving that is vertical or tilted upward.
Is free of soft spots or breaks in the skin.
Sits well on the ground and is stable.
Includes a bit of stem, especially if you will be removing the seeds through the top.