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Discussion Starter #1
Dear all,

As someone whos never really celebrated halloween as any thing more than my birthday I'm in desparate need of guidance.

How long do the typical jack o lantern type pumpkins last for... if they're uncut if i buy them now will they still look ok on halloween? When is the best time to carve them... (if i'm going to do that at all). And what do you look for in a decorative pumpkin!

Thanks in advance xx
 

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Personal preference!

Make sure there's no rot, or signs of rotting, especially under the pumpkin where it sits on the ground.

The time they lasts depends on the environment. I know here in Florida, it's super-humid and they don't last long. When carved, I can get a few days to a week out of them with minimal care.
Uncarved, they can last a couple weeks before signs of rot.

I'm going to help my church's youth group unload pumpkins today and I'll probably pick one up. But, I'll get the bulk of my order (just 2 or 3 more) at the end of this weekend/beginning of next week.

I won't carved them until a couple days before Halloween... probably that Tuesday at the earliest.

There's a bunch of techniques to extend the life, but the other folks can share that. I just use vasaline around the carved sections, make sure it sits off of the grass (either up on some hay or on my stoop... you don't want it sitting in moisture, like from morning dew).

And again, as for as what you look for - that's the best part, is finding one that YOU like. If you are carving, maybe have an idea of what you want to carve and look for a shape that suits that. If you're not carving, look for whatever you want... fat, tall, oval, circle, lopsided, deformed... just remember to look for rotting, holes, deep dents, and avoid any pumpkins that have been punctured.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks heaps DearTed. It's pretty hot here atm, (in Australia), although we sould get some rain on the weekend. May hold off till next week to buy them then. It's amazing how much you know about this. These forums are amazing. Shared knowledge, the key to longevity.

Take care xx
 

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Going bump in the night..
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To add on to the sound advice DeadTed gave, I'd say to check for soft spots when you're deciding to buy a pumpkin - that's a sure sign of internal decay, and the pumpkin's only going to last a few more days.

I live in coastal Southern California, and I believe the weather here is similar to much of coastal Australia - relatively dry, with bouts of rain (well, when we get it).
As DeadTed mentioned...keep the pumpkins out of low spots where water will accumulate, and they should last at least a few weeks without being cut (I usually can keep my uncut pumpkins around until sometime in November or December...have actually had one that didn't rot until late February / early March...but that's an anomaly).
Heat doesn't seem to damage pumpkins too much, as long as they're not cut or punctured.

A personal preference of mine when choosing a pumpkin (purely for aesthetics): how does the stem look? I like them thick, upright, and as long as I can get them...not the tiny, shriveled, little things laying flat on the skin (or worse, a useless little stub). There's just something about it that appeals to me.
 

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The stem is important. Don't select a pumpkin that is missing it's stem. It will rot in no time. And don't try to carry a pumpkin by it's stem. That's how they break off.

Keep you pumpkin(s) dry and protected until you are ready to carve. A frost or a freeze is certain death to a pumpkin, but it sounds like cold weather isn't a concern for you.

One more word of advice: If you do choose to carve your pumpkins, don't pass up the chance to revel in the smell of pumpkin guts. It's one of my favorite things. Welcome to the wonderful world of Halloween!

Roger
 

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As long as they aren't carved, have rot spots, etc i've had pumpkins last 3 months :D But that's in Northern Ohio. Once they're carved they only last a few days, a week at best.

I look for all different types/ sizes of pumpkins :)
 

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A friend who is a pumpkin farmer begins his harvest in late September. Those pumpkins will be good, provided they are not left in a puddle to rot, until Thanksgiving. He harvests and stores his pumpkins in barns, one layer thick, so that they'll firm up by mid October when people are thinking about buying them. He sells about 12,000 pumpkins per year.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all the sound advice, I've decided after thinking about integrating into my theme, that I'll have one ? plastic rat / mice drawn Pumpkin carriage (as per cinderella) with a skeleton driver reigning them in. Maybe a few more around the place for effect depending on how brave I'm feeling, and how much help I'm going to get carting them all over the mates house. Getting very excited now! Coulded do it without you guys!
 
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