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Connecticut Garden Journal: Halloween pumpkins of every size, shape, and color to display or eat

A variety of different pumpkins on display at a pumpkin patch
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Pumpkins for carving haven't changed much over the years with orange, yellow and white skinned versions. But for Halloween displays, the options are much broader.

I recently visited a garden center in Massachusetts and was amazed at the variety of pumpkins. No longer are there just large, medium or small pumpkins. Now there are pumpkins with different skin colors, shapes and interesting abnormalities. Let's look at some options.

Pumpkins for carving haven't changed much over the years with orange, yellow and white skinned versions. But for Halloween displays, the options are much broader.

Mini-pumpkins are only 2 pounds and fit in the palm of your hand. They've become popular for small displays and accents. While there's orange, white and yellow skinned versions, I like the 'Lil Pump-Ke-Mon' pumpkins with orange, white and green stripes on the skin.

Flat pumpkins look like a flat tire version of regular pumpkin. 'Flat Stacker' is a white variety that weighs 15 pounds. 'Rouge Vif D'Etampes' is a French heirloom with red-orange skin. It makes an excellent eating pumpkin once you're done with the decorating. 'Long Island Cheese' is a 10 pound, tan skinned beauty with a tasty, deep orange flesh. And 'Jarrahdale' is a blue skinned flat pumpkin that's also great for eating.

For something really spooky try some of the warty pumpkins. 'Knucklehead' is a 12 pound, orange pumpkin loaded with warts. 'Warty Goblin' is a smaller orange pumpkin with lighter colored warts that give it a sinister appearance. 'Marina Di Chioggia' is an Italian heirloom that's flat, warty and blue skinned. The flesh also makes a great ravioli filling.

Once you have your spooky pumpkins, remember to protect them from a hard frost. Many can be stored and eaten like winter squashes for the holidays.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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