HomeDIY CraftHow to Pick a Pumpkin for Fall Decorations That Last All Season

How to Pick a Pumpkin for Fall Decorations That Last All Season


Knowing the best way to pick pumpkins for fall is the first step to long-lasting seasonal fall decorating. Picking the perfect pumpkin isn’t just useful, it’s a way to get the whole family involved in a favorite fall tradition.

This tradition refers to the dramatic changes in our environment and the new rhythms and patterns that will shape our lives through the seasons.

Pumpkins for fall decorations

Pumpkins are the centerpiece of many fall activities, from jack o’lantern carvings to fall porch decorations. But no matter how you plan to use pumpkins this fall, it should start with the coolest pumpkin you can find.


Steps to pick a pumpkin for fall from a pumpkin farm

Picking the perfect fruit pumpkin on a farm

Selecting the perfect pumpkin for your fall festivities involves several key steps:

  1. Choose the right time

Going to the pumpkin patch at an optimal time is crucial to making sure you have the best selection of pumpkins. Most pumpkin patches open their doors from late September to early October. By going early in the season, you’ll have the most pumpkin options in terms of shape, quality, and size.

  1. Walk through the pumpkin patch

Many pumpkin farms have a variety of pumpkins. By taking the time to walk through the pumpkin patch, you can consider all the pumpkin options available. Look at all the different types of pumpkins available and think about which size, shape and color are best for your needs.

  1. Consider the color of the pumpkin

Pumpkins come in a variety of colors ranging from orange, white, bluish-green, bright green and yellow. Orange pumpkin is the most traditional and most popular pumpkin. Choose an orange pumpkin with a deep and even color. Look for a pumpkin without green or yellow spots as this indicates a pumpkin that is not fully ripe. Regardless of the color of the pumpkin, you should check a pumpkin for even color over the entire surface. Patches with holes on the surface of the pumpkin may indicate a disease.

  1. STEM studies

One of the most important indicators of pumpkin health is the stem. A green stem indicates that the pumpkin was recently harvested. Choosing a pumpkin with a green stem is best if you want the pumpkin to last through the entire fall season. But if you plan to carve pumpkins soon, a green stem is not a good option because they are not fully mature. A pumpkin with a brown, firm and fully attached stem indicates that the pumpkin is ripe and fully mature. Brown stems indicate a healthy pumpkin that is suitable for carving.

Any pumpkin you choose should have a firm and attached stem. Avoid pumpkins with brittle, damaged or bruised stems, regardless of their color. This type of stem indicates that a pumpkin is past its prime and won’t last long in your fall decorating plans.

  1. Test for stains

Check the pumpkin you are considering for any visible blemishes on the skin. Scars are any type of deep wound and can include cuts, soft spots, or bruises. Shallow scratches are not a major concern, although the scratches should not be deep enough to cause an opening in the skin.

Spots are not just an aesthetic concern, they can be an indication that the pumpkin is not in good internal condition. Pores such as cuts and gashes serve as entry points for bacteria, mold and fungus. These will cause decay such as pumpkin rot which will reduce the longevity and appearance of the pumpkin.

  1. Lift and feel

Lift and examine the entire surface of the pumpkin. Feel the quality of the leather and make sure it is firm to the touch. The skin should feel slightly leathery.

Press the skin with your finger. The surface of the pumpkin should not be indented without springing back. Check the bottom of the pumpkin for any evidence of soft spots.

Tap the pumpkin with your knuckles and check the resulting sound. If your pumpkin produces an echoing sound, it’s a good one. The louder and hollower the pumpkin sounds, the better.

  1. Check for balance and symmetry

You’ll probably want to test how the pumpkin rests on a flat surface, depending on how you’re going to use it in your decor. The flat bottom and symmetrical shape make the pumpkin jack o’lantern more stable that you’re going to light with candles. Symmetrical pumpkins are also good for decorations such as stacked topiaries.

  1. Personal preference

People love pumpkins for many reasons. Whether you are selecting a pumpkin for carving, culinary or decorative purposes, it will affect the type and style of pumpkin you choose. Small pumpkins work well for decoration and display but not for carving. Similarly, oddly shaped and textured pumpkins can add interest to fall decorating schemes, but it will be difficult if you want to match them with other pumpkins.


Selecting a pumpkin from a store

Pick the perfect store pumpkin

Some people don’t have the access, time or desire to visit a pumpkin patch. That doesn’t mean you can’t choose an excellent pumpkin for your needs. But the process will be slightly different from picking a pumpkin from a farm.

  1. Consider the store

Even if we’re not going to a pumpkin patch, it’s worth thinking about where you’re going to buy pumpkins. Talk to grocers or garden produce experts at different stores to see where the pumpkins are coming from and how far they’ve been shipped. Locally grown pumpkins will be fresher than those shipped long distances. Be sure to check out local farmers markets which may have a fresher and more interesting selection of pumpkins than the big box stores.

  1. Appearance test

Just as you would at the pumpkin patch, check the appearance of the pumpkins. It should have an evenly distributed color and the skin should not have any deep spots like soft spots or blemishes. Check the bottom of the pumpkin to make sure it’s firm, not soft.

Study the stem stub at the top of the pumpkin. It will probably have a dark green-brown to dark brown stem. This indicates that it was cut a few days ago. Choose a pumpkin with a firm and well-connected stem. Avoid any pumpkins that are soft and mushy or with brittle stems.

  1. Check the weight and feel

Take a pumpkin you are considering to determine the weight and feel of the skin. Choose a pumpkin that feels firm and heavy for its size. Listen for claps and sounds next to the pumpkin. A healthy pumpkin will sound hollow inside.

Test the ripeness of the pumpkin by pressing a fingernail into the skin. Mature pumpkins have a tough and thick skin that will resist penetration. Pumpkins picked too early will be easier to access. Avoid these because they will rot faster than pumpkins that were fully ripe when picked.


How to Store a Pumpkin All Seasons

Slowing down the natural decay process is essential to preserving your pumpkins throughout the fall season.

  1. Choose a blemish-free pumpkin

Starting with damage-free pumpkins is the first step to making sure your pumpkins last as long as possible. Choose a pumpkin with no deep surface damage, with a firm skin and with good color on the surface. Be sure to check that the stem is green or brown, fully attached, and not mushy or brittle.

  1. Smart transportation

When you carry your pumpkin, carry it from the bottom rather than by the stem. Carrying your pumpkin by the stem increases the chance of the stem breaking. Once the stem breaks, the pumpkin will begin to rot.

  1. Avoid external punctures or incisions unless necessary

Whole pumpkins last longer than carved pumpkins. Scratches and other punctures expose them to bacteria. This bacteria causes mold that destroys the flesh of the pumpkin. Therefore, it’s best to avoid carving or puncturing your pumpkin until the last minute. Carved pumpkins last from a few days to a week depending on external conditions. Whole pumpkins, in the right conditions, can last for months.

  1. Wash the pumpkin

The surface of the pumpkin carries dirt and bacteria that will accelerate the decay process. Washing and sterilizing a whole pumpkin is important to preserve it as much as possible. Wash it with a mild dish soap and water solution to clean the surface. Disinfect the surface by washing it in a solution of bleach and water. Measure one or two teaspoons of bleach into a gallon of water. Soak the pumpkin in this solution for at least an hour. Remove the pumpkin, and dry thoroughly.

  1. Apply a protective layer

Some people go the extra mile to preserve their pumpkins by applying a protective layer to the outer surface of the pumpkin. You can choose different products with similar results, including petroleum jelly, vegetable oil, WD-40, acrylic finish spray, floor wax, or acrylic liquid floor cleaner. Choose one of these products to help protect your pumpkin’s interior moisture.

  1. Avoid extreme conditions

Excessive outdoor heat and humidity will spoil your pumpkin more quickly. Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight and bring it inside on warmer than normal days. Likewise, keep your pumpkin away from splashes or rain. Elevate your pumpkin from the surface of the soil to help it stay dry. Bring your pumpkins if there is a predicted freeze because that cycle will spoil the pumpkins.



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