Los Altos Real Estate Blog


When is the right time to get a pumpkin for Halloween?

If you're a Halloween fan like I am, the thought of putting out ghoulish decorations and pumpkins starts sometime in late September.  Right around that time the pumpkin lots (if you have them in your area) start setting up to start offering pumpkins in early October.  If you're like me, you want to buy the pumpkins early - just to have something out on the front patio.  But...is that the right time?

When to buy a pumpkin depends on how you'll use it.  There are, in my view, three kinds of pumpkin buyers; ones who like to carve, ones who don't like to carve, and ones who decorate with add-ons.  If you just like to keep a pumpkin whole, sitting on the porch for seasonal color, by all means go ahead and get it as soon as you want.  It'll last 3-4 weeks as long as it's in the shade.  Make sure the skin isn't broken!  If you like to carve, you'll want to get it no more than 2 weeks before Halloween and carving depends on preservation.

Carving 2-3 Days Before Halloween:  Carving or breaking the skin means the clock starts ticking on when the pumpkin will grow mold.  So, here are some tips.  For me, I wait until 2-3 days before Halloween to carve.  It's a family fun thing we do with the kids sometime around October 28th.  They stay on the porch, in the shade, and by Halloween they've started to get a little fuzzy, shriveled, and kind of gross (perfect for the holiday!). No reservatives required for this.

Carving 10-14 days Before Halloween:  The are numerous ways to preserve pumpkins including chemicals you can buy at the store.  If you're looking for something a little less expensive, here are a couple of tips on keeping your pumpkins fresh:

  • Mix 1 tbs bleach per quart of water in a spray bottle.  Spray every cut surface, including the inside, with a healthy dose of the mixture.  This will keep the pumpkin from shrinking or growing mold for a week or so.
  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on every cut surface (not the skin) inside and out.  This will also keep the mold away for 7-10 days.

Have fun this Halloween season and I hope these tips were helpful.


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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 12 commentsBryan Robertson • October 15 2011 05:39PM


We were just visiting this very dilemna this morning with my daughter, daughter in law and family.  We make a family trip out of choosing our pumpkins and go for hayrides and such.  Weather is quite the deciding factor; rain has become quite the deterrent in our area!

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) over 7 years ago

Great post.  We found sweet pumpkins last year about bought them about 3 weeks early.  Planned on leaving them on the stoop for 3 weeks and carving them 2 days before the 31st.  Pumpkins were stolen in the first 24 hours.  Oh well, maybe we'll have better luck this year.  I don't know about the bleach, thanks for the tip.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 7 years ago

Great post!! Had to suggest this one!! Me and my best friend Megan are going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow and we are going to have a pumpkin carving contest.. Pics coming soon! :)

Posted by Stacey Smith, Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

Bryan - I saw a house a neighborhood over from ours with CHRISTMAS LIGHTS up yesterday....!  It's 100f today - seriously!  So I don't think it's too early for pumpkins.  ;)  Great tips for making them last!

Posted by Sharon Lord, New Home Advisor (Maracay Homes) over 7 years ago

Bryan why I do believe I found the perfect solution several years ago.  Fake pumpkins that light up and can be used year after year!  No little ones around anymore to carve so these work fine for us!  

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 7 years ago

Bryan, in the east we do not need to worry about the shade. Cooler weather seems to enhance the preservation of a pumpkin. Have a great fall/Halloween time with your family.


Posted by Cal Yoder, Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744 (Keller Williams Elite) over 7 years ago

Fun post.  Great tips for the upcoming holiday.  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) over 7 years ago

The kids painted baby pumpkins this morning. Tis the season!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 7 years ago

GREAT tips Bryan....I remember the first time I opened a carved pumpkin that had sat outside for a week or 2...OMG that MOLD is ugly! 

One of my favorite ways to "decorate" a pumpkin is to spray paint them in gold & bronze....they look ceramic and stay for weeks (not carved!!).

Posted by Kathy Burke, S.F. East Bay Home Staging (Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA) over 7 years ago

Hi Bryan - I like to buy pumpkins close to Halloween.  The price drops a lot when it is close to October 31.

Posted by FN LN over 7 years ago

Marc -Me too.  We get ours about 2 days before.

Kathy - Thanks!  Gold or bronze - never seen that before.  You should post pics!

Doug - Sounds like fun.  We did that last year.

Laura - You're welcome!

Cal - I lived in NY when I was a kid.  The cooler temps do give you an advantage.

Anna - I love the fake pumpkins but I can't convince my family to get 'em.

Sharon - WAY too early for xmas lights!   Have fun with your pumpkins.

Stacey - Thanks for suggesting!  Can't wait to see your carving pics.

Faith - Rain is a bummer but try the bleach to keep the mold from growing.

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 7 years ago

I do not buy them anymore. Somehow after we moved into a gated community and kids are older, not as much fun....

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 1 year ago

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