How to Pick Your Perfect Halloween Pumpkin!

This Halloween, as you and your family stroll through the local pumpkin patch, you may find yourself inundated with decisions on how to pick the right pumpkin. But don’t fret, WeatherBug is here to help you pick the best pumpkin!

Credit: Jason Lander via Flickr

Credit: Jason Lander via Flickr

First, what type of pumpkin should you choose? The following are the most common pumpkin types available:

  • Sugar - Excellent for baking
Sugar pumpkins! - Credit: sleepyneko via Flickr

Sugar pumpkins! – Credit: sleepyneko via Flickr

  • Jack O’Lantern - Most common for carving
Jack O'Lantern pumpkin - Credit: Free Flower via Flickr

Jack O’Lantern pumpkins – Credit: Free Flower via Flickr

  • White Lumina - Unusual, medium-sized white pumpkin
White Lumina pumpkin - Credit: Starr Environmental via Flickr

White Lumina pumpkin – Credit: Starr Environmental via Flickr

  • Mini Great for decoration
Mini pumpkins! - Credit: khanb1 via Flickr

Mini pumpkins! – Credit: khanb1 via Flickr

  • Gourds - Many varieties, used for decorations
Gourd pumpkins - Credit: RichardBowen via Flickr

Gourd pumpkins – Credit: RichardBowen via Flickr

Next, how do you select the best one? Follow these 6 simple steps and you’re sure to find the right fit!

  1. Choose a design to carve before you go shopping for pumpkins. Think about which shape would best suit your design — tall and narrow? Fat and round? If you’re going to use stencils, look for a pumpkin with a shape similar to the pattern you’re going to carve.
  2. Check for a smooth, uniformly colored skin. The flesh should be firm, not elastic in any way. Inspect the entire pumpkin. Stay away from pumpkins with bruises, cuts, scratches or any signs of mold. If you’ll be using stencils, steer clear of dents as well.
  3. Keep an eye out for smaller, “sugar” pumpkins for eating. Not all pumpkins will taste good in a pie. Sugar pumpkins are 200-250 millimeters (8-10″) in diameter and will have smoother, less stringy flesh than a decorative pumpkin.
  4. Knock on the shell. Ripe pumpkins will make a “hollow” sound. If the pumpkin is on the vine, the vine should be dry and the stem should be hard and brown. The ripeness of the pumpkin might not matter as much if you’re only interested in carving (in which case an unripened pumpkin might last longer).
  5. Set the pumpkin up to make sure it sits level. You don’t want to choose a pumpkin for carving only to find that it won’t sit up straight for you. If the pumpkin grew on its side and has a flat spot there, you might be able to incorporate it into your design or turn that side against a wall so it isn’t seen.
  6. Leave as much of the stem on as possible. You can cut the vine on both sides of the stem and then later cut the stem carefully at home. This will help it keep longer. Obviously, this only applies if you’re actually harvesting pumpkins.
Credit: valentinapowers via Flickr

Credit: valentinapowers via Flickr

Watch this video for additional tips:

Happy Hunting!

-The WeatherBug-Earth Networks team

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