Pumpkins have arrived in grocery stores!
If I was in charge of making Halloween-related public service announcements, this would be it: Pumpkins with most of the stem intact and skin unbroken last a very long time (we’re talking months) if you keep them indoors, out of the sun and heat. People tend to think of pumpkins the same way they do about Christmas trees – don’t buy too early or they will go bad before Halloween. I recommend buying your pumpkins as early as you want. Don’t wait until the only ones left are warty and malformed, unless that’s your thing.
Also, there are really only two options that make sense when it comes to purchasing pumpkins – grocery stores or real pumpkin patches at farms. The advantages of the grocery stores are low cost and convenience. You can easily find large, symmetrical pumpkins at Safeway for 6 dollars (they consistently have better ones than Fry’s or Wal-Mart – believe me on this). You will pay a lot more for a pumpkin at an actual pumpkin patch, and have to drive pretty far out of the city limits to get there, but nothing beats the ambiance of a legit pumpkin patch for Halloween, and you’ll get a pumpkin that’s fresh as hell.
The third option, which you should never do, is go to one of those fake “pumpkin patches” they set up in parking lots and church lawns. Essentially, you end up paying three times as much (or more) for grocery store pumpkins because they’ve been arranged on hay bales. They also tend to price them by size – whereas a grocery store usually just has two or three flat prices for different sized pumpkins, fake pumpkin patches usually have a wide range of size ratings with the prices climbing up and up. Again, like a Christmas tree lot. To boot, you can usually bet these pumpkins have been sitting outside in the maddening Phoenix heat for days, lessening their life span.
This has been a pumpkin buying public service announcement brought to you by I Remember Halloween.