It's really interesting seeing the many different growers' MOs! The different kinds of equipment and the different varieties we're growing-- all fun to see!
For the most part, I don't put a lot of money into mine. Since I'm not growing giants, an extra-early start shouldn't be vital. When it comes to seeds, though, I'm not a gambler.
Don't get me wrong; this is not a criticism of anyone who plants open-pollinated or randomly-found seeds. I love the forager mentality, and I can see the fun in being surprised at what you get. (There's some of that even when you buy your seed. I had two genetic-throwback squash plants among my pumpkins.) But over all, with the work I put in, and the fact that one plant can easily take up 100 square feet of garden space-- I want to do all I can to ensure I'll get the pumpkin diversity I want. A $3 pkt of seeds generally lasts me at least 5 years.
I'm still deciding whether to start any pumpkins indoors. I generally start most indoors, but fill in a few later by planting seeds directly in the ground. Three weeks on, the later ones catch up to where you can't tell the difference. Transplanting doesn't look like it sets them back, but in my conditions the early start doesn't seem to give them any advantage, either. The only reasons to start mine early are that it lets me be certain what seeds are viable, and because it's fun to have some progress to watch while I wait for the soil to warm up.
Maybe if I keep watching here, it will give me enough of a growers' fix that I can get by without putting in the effort of starting mine early...taking up a chunk of counter space with the seed flats...runinng them in and out of doors at dawn and dusk...protecting them from too much wind, wandering hens, drying out, hard rain etc...trying to keep the tags all in place so I get the same species planted next to each other (I failed miserably at that one last year!) It does get to be a lot of work.