If you’re looking to get ahead of the game and pick up a few pumpkins, this is what you should be looking for at the patch or in the grocery stores…
1.  Check pumpkins for soft spots and signs of mold. Press the bottom of the pumpkin with your thumbs.  If it gives a little, the pumpkin isn’t fresh.
2.  Pumpkins continue to ripen and will get more orange AFTER they’re picked.  So if you’re getting a pumpkin a few weeks before Halloween, you might want to go for a lighter one.
3.  Look for one that has its handle or stem intact.  Plus, a dark green stem is a sign it was picked recently, compared to a brown stem.
4.  Look for pumpkins with flat walls and shallow ribs, those are better for carving.
5. Avoid tall, oblong pumpkins. These ones typically have stringier flesh, which makes precise cuts more difficult.
6.  Once you get the pumpkin home, set it on a flat surface so it sits upright. (Photo: WEHT)