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Be sure to check your local Walmart right after Halloween for leftover pumpkins. Many people will not buy them after Halloween and you can get them for nearly free. Last year I talked to the guy over the produce section who told me he had marked them down to a penny and they still would not sell! I picked up as many as I could carry (3) and headed for the checkout counter.
I found a great idea for beef stew in a pumpkin, where you just stick the whole thing in the oven. The uneaten leftover parts of the pumpkin were pureed to make pie filling. You can also throw the seeds out in your yard to grow your own next year!
By Imladris from Anderson, SC
The only problem with the Halloween pumpkins is they are bred to be huge not flavorful. You may find them watery and not very tasty. I would recommend the smaller PIE pumpkins for cooking. I buy the huge ones for the deer on my farm. I put them out and deer eat them.
Although it is fun to have the pumpkins around for all of October I have often purchased our 7 (because we have 5 children) the Sunday before halloween. They are discounted close to the holiday. We never carve until the weekend before, because as you know they don't last long after carving. We do let the kids draw faces on early. Washable markers are fun for making lots of different faces.
When they were a bit smaller, it seemed perfectly acceptable to them that the pumpkins be sized according to the size of the child. In fact, the littlest loved that her pumpkin was recognizably the littlest also. It really helps cut costs when you aren't just buying the bigger ones. You may also capitalize on the discounted oddly shaped pumpkins by having kids draw their pumpkin head on paper and then finding the closest match the the shape each child draws.
One way we save at Halloween is simple. We either wait until the day of to carve our pumpkins OR, we paint on the face with non toxic paint. Then the day after, we cut up the pumpkin, boil in salt water, then peel and mash when cool.