Before buying your pumpkins decide if you will be painting your pumpkins or carving into them. Its helps if you have an idea of the face you might be carving when selecting your pumpkin.
photo credit: JazarellaMozarella
Select pumpkins that are uniformly orange. Bruises, cuts or nicks will cause a pumpkin to spoil quicker so look them over carefully. Smooth pumpkins are easier to paint or carve.
Never carry a pumpkin by its stem. It may break and a stem adds character to a pumpkin. If the handle does break off clean the area with bleach and seal with varnish. You can also glue the stem back in place.
One of the first things I do when I get a pumpkin home is wash it well then use a bleach wash to clean the pumpkin. This will kill any bacteria on the pumpkin and help prevent rot.
One additional thing most people don’t think about is that frost can shorten a pumpkins life so on a cold night cover it up with a towel.
For several years my brother raised pumpkins and had them for sale on my property in front of the house. There would be 5 or 6 hay wagons filled with pumpkins, apple cider, and other Halloween decorations and fun. It was a lot of work but it was also fun to watch children pick out the perfect pumpkin.
One other thing you may want to try, roasting the pumpkin seeds. They make great snacks and it easy! MY father always did this and we would have a great snack on those crispy fall evenings.
photo credit: Hamed Parham