1Picture Your Jack O’Lantern
Envision the shape of the pumpkin that would best suit your Jack O’Lantern design. Go so far as to draw some simple faces on pieces of paper that you would like to carve in your pumpkin.

2Visit the Pumpkin Patch
Go to your local pumpkin patch or pumpkin reseller. Don't go too early, since you want your pumpkin to be in good shape when Halloween arrives.

3Examine the Shape
Make sure the pumpkin you choose is not bumpy, too unevenly textured or too weirdly shaped. It can be a gourd shape, round or oval, but the important thing is that it is easy to carve.

4Size Matters
Choose a pumpkin that is big enough to be striking when lit inside, but not so big that it keels over when carved.

5Check the Stem
If the gourd's stem is loose or has evidence of rotting, don't buy it.

6Look for Blemishes
Pick up the pumpkin and examine it from all sides. Reject any pumpkins with flaws such as white mildew, brown stains or wormholes.

7Give it a Knock
Rap your knuckles on the side of the pumpkin. It should sound hollow when ripe.

8Haggle
Barter for a lower price if you are buying many pumpkins, and if you are buying them close to Halloween.

To make your Jack O’Lantern last longer, Rub the cut edges and inside of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly to keep the pumpkin from drying out too quickly.

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