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How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

Before heading to the pumpkin patch or farmers’ market to pick out the perfect Jack-O-Lantern, read our helpful hints first.

Halloween is not far away, which means it’s almost time to start carving those pumpkins. What type of pumpkin makes the best Jack-O-Lantern? Before heading to the pumpkin patch or farmers’ market, take a minute to read these helpful hints to be sure you take home the perfect pumpkin.

How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

  • The first step to finding the right pumpkin is deciding on the design you want to carve. Depending on the size and shape of your design, you may need a tall narrow pumpkin or a short round one.
  • Smaller pumpkins are suitable for carving simple traditional Jack-O-Lantern faces.
  • Medium sized pumpkins are good selections for most stencil patterns.
  • For more intricate and elaborate designs, you may want to choose a larger pumpkin so it will be easier to carve.
  • A pumpkin with a smooth surface will give you the best working canvas.
  • The pumpkin should be flat on the bottom so it will not roll.
  • Avoid pumpkins with scratches, nicks, cuts, and dents unless they will enhance your design.
  • Pass up pumpkins with bruises because these will decay faster.
  • Lighter colored pumpkins are normally softer, making carving easier.
  • Look for a ripe pumpkin with a sturdy stem. Do not carry the pumpkin by its stem to avoid breaking it. If the stem does break off, it can be patched back using toothpicks. If your perfect pumpkin is missing its stem, instead of carving out a lid on top, simply carve out the bottom. Place a candle on the carved out section, and then set the pumpkin over it!

Check out these tips for making your Jack-O-Lantern last longer!

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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What to do with oversize zucchini besides as a cooking vessel, bread, animal feed or compost? ZUKE-O-LANTERN!


Thanks for the info. Did you know that rubbing petroleum jelly on the surface of the carved areas will preserve the pumpkins natural vitamins and minerals preserving it longer? It works.


Sounds good… I didn’t know about the color difference. That’s to look for when carving.. Thanks!

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