It's the time to take part in all the fun fall activities. Apple picking, haunted houses and hayrides (which I don't consider fun, because, scary, but some people do,) baking and so much more. It's also around the time we start doing one of my favorite fall/Halloween activities...

PUMPKIN CARVING! 

Turns out, people have always carved - just not pumpkins. I like to consider as a professional pumpkin picker. I've always had good luck when it comes to going somewhere to get the best pumpkins for carving. It's also because I've had some strategies too. Here's some tricks to help you have a successful carving session:

1. Pick it up. If a pumpkin feels heavy for its size and is firm, it’s perfect for carving. Dense pumpkins have thick walls. If you pick a pumpkin that’s too thin, it may fall apart during carving. If you find a pumpkin that has super dense walls, you can always shave it down!

2. Check for bruises or soft spots / pick the best surface area. When you're deciding on a pumpkin, feel all around the surface to make sure the flesh doesn’t give at all. Soft spots and bruises are early signs of rot and your pumpkin won't last as long. You also want to make sure the surface itself is smooth if that's what you're looking for.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

3. Check the bottom.  Be sure your pumpkin has a flat spot or is level on the bottom so it remains sturdy. If it's oddly shaped, don't pick that pumpkin unless you need a weird looking pumpkin. Think about how it will impact your design choice. Whatever you choose, make sure it can sit up on its own to be displayed. You don't want it rolling over.

4. Pick your design before you pick the pumpkin.  The design of your carving can make a big difference in which type of pumpkin you pick. For instance, if you’re going for a zombie or a ghost, you might want to pick a white Lumina pumpkin. If you’re going ghoul, a funky shape could work. If you choose to wing it, let the pumpkin patch speak to you and design your carving accordingly. The large Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin variety are often best for a generic pumpkin carving designs - but there's plenty of great options pumpkin wise for you to choose from!

AllenSphoto/ThinkStock

5. Don't cut off the stem! If you’re harvesting from a living pumpkin patch, cut the vine farther from the pumpkin to leave as much stem as possible. I actually learned this in high school in my agriculture classes. Keeping the stem will help your pumpkin last longer. Also, check for pumpkins that aren’t quite ripe or still have a green stem. These will have a long way to go before they get mush. Also, give it a listen–ripe pumpkins make a hollow sound and have hard, brown stems.

6. Don’t use the stem as a handle. If the stem breaks off, you’ll leave a hole in your pumpkin and that can lead to rot.

I hope these tips helped you determine the best pumpkin to pick for your artistic experience. Happy carving!