I picked up a few (along with a handsome squash) in unnatural shades of pale dusty orange and mossy blue-green-- they were so beautiful, that I felt some strong reservations about carving them. Gravity settled the decision for me when the squash toppled over and gashed the perfect incision to start carving an eye. I drew a face, cut the squash open from the bottom, and scooped out the seeds-- and was flashed back to my childhood with the sickly sweet smell of a pumpkin's insides hitting newspaper. I enjoyed the experience enough that I ended up carving a second pumpkin.
The pumpkins that were spared carving are being roasted in batches. I grew up thinking that the only way to eat pumpkin was to start by scooping it out of a squat orange can, but starting from is actually incredibly easy and much tastier. Just cut the pumpkin in half, roast it cut-side down, and then scoop out the flesh once it's gotten soft. We've frozen 1.5 cup portions in plastic bags, so we'll have a November full of orange baked goods spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
A single pumpkin will produce a surprising amount of flesh, but even if the charms of pumpkin pie and bread wear thin, there are load of other ways to use pumpkin. We made pumpkin sandwich cookies (nutmeg and cinnamon cookies with a filling of cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin), spiced pumpkin muffins, and an incredibly rich pumpkin ice cream. You can also use it in soup, curry, pastas...
And with all of those seeds you scoop out, you can sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds, which make a fantastic snack (especially with some nuts and chocolate chips), a tasty addition to muesli, and a fun topping to sprinkle on pumpkin muffins.
Though I must admit, just carving the thing might be the best way to celebrate the season. Happy Halloween.