Stefanie Buhrman

As Halloween night inches closer, jack-o’-lanterns will adorn the streets of Ames.

But before you get that special pumpkin, listen to the advice of the pumpkin patches of Story County on how to create the best.

Cutting the pumpkin

Knives and knife kits from the store are the ideal tools for carving.

“Serrated knives work best to cut a pumpkin,” said Pat Black, co-owner of Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge. “Kids really like to get their hands in there to take out the guts, but a scoop also works really well.”

Inner pumpkin

“[Pumpkin guts] can replace any can of filling for pumpkin pies,” said Norine Black, owner of Black’s Heritage Farm, 26156 530th Ave. “You can use it with most traditional pie recipes.”

Pumpkin seeds

“You can place leftover seeds on a cookie sheet covered in foil,” Norine said. “Cover them with olive oil and any various seasonings that suit your taste when you bake them.”

Norine said seasonings add some kick to the classic salted seed.

Pumpkin lighting

“Candles with a screw bottom work best for lighting a pumpkin,” Pat said. “They stay really well and they are also really safe.”

Aside from traditional candles, battery-powered faux candles and other pumpkin-lighting devices, in various colors, are also available.

Not just orange pumpkin

“Along with the traditional stemmed pumpkins, we offer ghost pumpkins,” Pat said. “We also have what we call Cinderella pumpkins. They are a deeper orange. They get really big – up to 100 pounds.”

Pat said the pumpkins at his farm were grown in sand, making for a good harvest.

Whether a pumpkin be big or small, white or orange, with these tips, no pumpkin can be deemed unworthy.

Places in Story County to get

a pumpkin:

Black’s Heritage Farm

26156 530th Ave.


Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Free pumpkin with $5 admission

The Berry Patch

62785 280 St. in Nevada


Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

35 cents per pound


Center Grove Orchard

32835 610th Ave. in Cambridge


Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sunday: Noon-6 p.m.

30 cents per pound


DeMoss Pumpkin Farm

51428 170th St.


9 a.m.-6 p.m., through Oct. 31

30 cents per pound (pie pumpkins are 60 cents per pound)


East: 640 Lincoln Way


West: 3800 Lincoln Way


Two pumpkins for $7