The first weekend of October is going to be a popular time to hit up the pumpkin patches. If you're headed out to get yourself a gourd, here are some tips to choose the perfect one.

  1. Check the pumpkins for soft spots and signs of mold. Make sure to check underneath too. If it gives a little, the pumpkin isn't fresh.
  2. Pumpkins continue to ripen after they're picked. Choosing a lighter pumpkin now could give you a perfect deep orange one by Halloween.
  3. Look for one that has its stem intact. A dark green stem is a sign it was picked recently, compared to a brown stem.
  4. Look for pumpkins with flat walls and no deep ribs. These are better for carving.
  5. Skip the tall, oblong pumpkins. They typically have stringier flesh that makes precise cuts difficult.
  6. Set your perfect pumpkin on a flat surface to be sure it sits upright.

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