They are  sure signs of fall. The Halloween candy is on display at the drug store. You'll find your favorite trick or treat goodies right next to the Christmas wrapping paper. You'll also notice a huge box of pumpkins in the produce section of your favorite grocery store.

I remember as a kid, back when life was in black and white, the day my Mom brought home the Halloween pumpkin was a big deal. My parents were kind of cheap so we usually got ours on November 1st. Hopefully you aren't as frugal as my folks were.

I have often wondered why in the heck someone would purchase a pumpkin this far away from Halloween. It's been my experience the pumpkins tend to rot and invite millions of little flying creatures to come buzz about your front porch.

It appears as though I was mistaken I did not know that a pumpkin that has not been carved can stay good anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. That means if you're one who enjoys decorating your home, yard, bathroom, or car interior with the great gourds of fall you can actually start now.

Your pumpkin will stay fresher longer if the temperature is relatively cool. The  optimum temperature would be from 50 to 55 degree Fahrenheit. Since this is Louisiana, that aint gonna happen. Even in our warm Louisiana October fall days your pumpkin, uncarved, should be alright.

You do need to think about this. Once you stab and start carving your pumpkin to turn it into a Jack-O-Lantern your window of freshness drops to about five days. With Halloween on Monday October 31st you'd probably want to save the carving until the weekend of the 28th to make sure your ghoulish gourd looks more  like a scary Halloween specter than a pug dog who has been chasing parked cars.