- Skin: The outside, colored part of the pumpkin.
- Flesh: the stuff inside, used for cooking.
- Carvability: If the pumpkin is fairly easy to carve with a knife or pumpkin-carving kit. If not, it's probably more suited for painting or leaving it alone.
- Shape: Pumpkins aren't just round. They can be squat, tall, long, uneven, etc.
- Texture: Glide your fingers across the pumpkin's skin. Is it bumpy, slightly rough, or smooth as a baby's bottom? That's the pumpkin's texture.
- Ribbing: If you were drawing a pumpkin, the ribbing would be those vertical stripes you create to indicate it's a pumpkin and not some other round object. Deep ribbing is noted.
- Size: Pretty straightforward -- big, small, miniature, medium. Sometimes indicated in weight.
- Keeps well: Describes a pumpkin's "shelf life" or if it has a tendency to last a few months (uncarved) or quickly wither off the vine.
The Big Boys
Musquee de Provence
Ribbing: Large and deep
Blues and Greens
An heirloom variety from the Midwest. A mix of blue and green.
Shape: Oblate; top at step comes to a point or cone-shape
Blue Max: See Jarrahdale, below. Color is pale blue.
Also known as Japanese Pumpkin, Ebisu, Delica, Hoka, Hokkiado Pumpkin. Popular in Japan; grown in other nations for export to Japan.
Skin: Tough and green
Flesh: Yellow; stays firm and retains shape after cooking
Shape: Rounded, irregular
Produced in Japan.
Skin: Grey with orange stripes or ribbing
Size: 5 to 8 pounds
Edible: Not a first choice for cooking, but Kakai is popular for its blue seeds, which can be roasted.
An Australian heirloom pumpkin that was developed as a cross between the Cinderella and Blue Hubbard.
Shape: Flattened but rounded like Cinderella
Skin: Light blue / gray
Flesh: Golden yellow
Edible: Some pumpkin experts believe Jarrahdales are the finest pumpkins for making pumpkin pies.
Display: Teamed with their red-orange sisters, the Cinderellas, they could potentially be the best-looking porch pumpkin display in town.
Marina Di Chioggia
A green heirloom Italian variety.
Skin: Thick and warty
Size: 6 to 12 pounds
Flesh: Yellow / orange
Edible: Nice and sweet flavor makes it a favorite for cooking
Long Island Cheese A classic pumpkin of the 19th century.
Skin: Pale cheese colored
Flesh: Deep orange
Shape: Medium; averages 10 pounds. Keeps well.
Edible: Sweet Varieties include 'Long Island Cheese' 'Shakertown Field'
Ghostly White Pumpkins
No, not that curly-haired little girl on TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, although it might be a good nickname for her niece (just watch the show). Skin: Bright white; tends to turn yellow if exposed to direct sunlight.
Carvability: Too small
Skin: Brilliant white
Flesh: Bright yellow
Edible: Valued for its flavor; good for baking
Carvability: It can be carved or painted; however, it doesn't last long.
Casper: Bright white
Shape: More round than squat with only slight ribbing.
Edible: Good for pies and baking
Carvability: Better to leave alone or paint than carve
White Ghost (Also known as Valencia)
Skin: Pure white
Flesh: Bright yellow and thick
Grayish Green Pumpkins
An old French heirloom variety.
Skin:Dark green with orange/peach blush when young. As it ages, the dark green turns to buff orange
Flesh: Bright orange
Shape: With its flatness and deep ribbing, Fairytale bears a striking resemblance to the Cinderella pumpkin
Size: About 15 inches diameter; 6 inches high and 20 to 30 pounds
Carvability: Not good
Edible: A good choice for cooking or baking pumpkin pies
See above, Ghostly Whites
Pump Ke Mon
Also known as Lil Pump Ke Mon
Skin: Variable coloration; usually white or yellow with green or yellow stripes and splotches. Keeps well.
Skin: Yellow with orange mottling
Ribs: Deep at the top, then fading at the bottom
Shape: Flat with recessed stem
Size: About 5 inches diameter; 3 inches high
Cinderella pumpkins have become increasingly popular in recent years for their shape, bright color and fairytale-enchanting name. To add further intrigue, legend has it that this variety inspired the pumpkin carriage in the story of Cinderella.
Shape: flattened, yet rounded -- like that carriage.
Edible: Semi-sweet and good for pies.
Display: Attention-getters because of their bright red-orange skin and whimsical shape. They look especially smart displayed on top of an outdoor urn or stacked on top of one another, intermittently with faux or real fall leaves.
An heirloom variety that hails from the Midwest.
Skin: Red with green and black markings that follow light ribbing (lines).
Size: Weighs 5 to 7 pounds
Edible: Delicious butternut squash-like flavor.
Red Warty (aka Red Warty Thing)
Skin: Warty, bumpy, pimply red skin
Size: Can grow up to 20 pounds
Edible: Better for cooking and eating than carving a face
Display: Since it resembles a warty Halloween witch or creature, one or more Red Warties are effective displayed unadorned, maybe next to something slightly spooky.