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What is the color of a pumpkin for kids?

What is the color of a pumpkin for kids?

Pumpkins come in a variety of colors, ranging from the traditional orange to white, yellow, red, green, blue and more. While orange pumpkins are the most common, exploring the diverse palette of pumpkin colors can be an enriching experience for children. Here is an overview of pumpkin colors to teach kids about the fascinating colors of this popular fall fruit.


When most people think of pumpkins, they imagine the familiar bright orange color. Orange pumpkins are by far the most common variety grown commercially and used for jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie, and other purposes.

The distinctive orange color comes from pigments called carotenoids that are found in pumpkin flesh. Carotenoids like alpha- and beta-carotene give orange pumpkins their vivid hue. These pigments absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect orange wavelengths back to our eyes.

Typical orange pumpkins include varieties like Jack-o-Lantern, Howden, Baby Boo, and Sugar Pie. Orange pumpkins make up about 90% of the 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the United States each year. Their ubiquity makes orange a color deeply associated with pumpkin season and autumn traditions.


White pumpkins offer a ghostly, luminous alternative to the familiar orange squash. Ranging in shade from creamy off-white to a bright, stark white, these pumpkins derive their color from having little to no carotenoids in their flesh.

Lack of carotenoids means white pumpkin varieties tend to have thinner walls and milder flavor compared to orange varieties. But they make up for it in striking appearance. Popular white pumpkin types include Baby Boo White, Cotton Candy, Silver Moon, and Lumina.

White pumpkins glowing on a doorstep or windowsill are perfect for Halloween décor. Their pale color also makes them ideal for painting or crafting. Kids can let their creativity run wild decorating a white pumpkin blank canvas.

Yellow and Gold

For bright autumnal color, yellow and gold pumpkins hit the mark. Ranging from pale yellow to deep gold, these pumpkins get their cheery color from lutein, another carotenoid pigment.

Big Max and Sunlight are two yellow-orange varieties guaranteed to brighten up any pumpkin display. Jarrahdale is an Australian heirloom known for its distinct bluish-gray and bright orange mottled skin.

Go for gold with varieties like Gold Rush, Gold Strike, and Gold Medallion – their rich golden color looks simultaneously natural and supernatural. Yellow and gold pumpkins make fun paint palettes for kids to decorate.


Red pumpkins deliver a dramatic pop of color. They come in shades from bright cherry red to a deep burgundy. The bright red color comes from the pigment lycopene, also found in tomatoes and watermelon.

Red pumpkins tend to have thinner walls and higher sugar content compared to orange varieties. Popular types include Crow Rouge, Rougarou, Galeux d’Eysines, and Cinderella Rouge.

Paint faces on red pumpkins using white and black paint for a spooky, devilish, or rosy-cheeked look. Use them as bold accents in autumn displays.


While orange may rule pumpkin season, green varieties add fresh, zesty color. Ranging from lime green to forest green to sage, these pumpkins offer tropical flair.

The green skin comes from chlorophyll production, as green pumpkins mature early before full orange coloring develops. Popular green varieties include Kakai, Green Ghost, and Casperita.

Green pumpkins with painted rainbows, monsters, or stripes will let kids showcase their artistic talents. Use green pumpkins in recipes to lend bright flavor to soups, pastries, and more.


Blue is one of the rarest pumpkin colors, adding mystical character. While lacking natural blue pigment, some heirloom varieties like Jarrahdale have blue-gray skin with orange mottling.

But Australian breeders have crossed gray squash with a strong powdery bloom gene to make genuinely blue pumpkins like Blue Moon F1 and Australian Blue. The powdery bloom covering their skin refracts light to produce an eye-catching blue effect.

Paint faces on blue pumpkins for Smurf-tastic fun. A magical Cinderella coach created from a blue pumpkin is a DIY delight for kids. Add whimsically carved blue pumpkins to your Halloween decor or table centerpieces.


Somepumpkins exhibit spectacular multicolored palettes. Knucklehead pumpkins have bold white stripes on orange skin. Goosebumps are aptly named, with bumpy green splotches on orange.

Warty Goblin features warts surrounded by yellow on orange. Speckled Roman and Speckled Hound showcase orange splattered with white spots.

Painting on multicolored pumpkins allows kids to enhance the striking patterns. Tables decorated with a mix of multicolored pumpkins make for fun family occasions.

Why So Many Colors?

Originally, pumpkins grew wild in Central America, likely only in orange shades. But native people selectively bred them over generations for desirable traits like color, taste, size, and shape.

Explorers and merchants spread pumpkin seeds from the Americas around the globe. Growers across continents further developed diverse pumpkin varieties through breeding selected for their local climates and uses.

Today over 800 cultivars of pumpkin exist worldwide. Heirloom pumpkins offer unique color palettes passed down for generations. Hybrids continue pushing the pumpkin color spectrum, feeding our autumn fascination.

Benefits of Colorful Pumpkins for Kids

Beyond seasonal fun, exposing kids to the broad range of pumpkin colors provides diverse benefits:

Sparks Curiosity

The unusual colors spark curiosity in kids about nature, harvests, and plant life cycles. Learning why pumpkins come in so many hues builds early science observation and inquiry skills.

Inspires Creativity

From painting to crafting to baking, colorful pumpkins spur creative play. Kids can create pumpkin portraits, race cars, animal shapes, and more. Homemade pumpkin play dough in any color is an endless autumn art material.

Teaches Diversity

Seeing diversity in pumpkin colors helps teach kids to appreciate differences. Though uncommon, white, blue, and green pumpkins are equally fun. Discuss how variety makes the world more vibrant.

Builds New Traditions

Starting new traditions like picking your own multi-colored pumpkins teaches openness to new experiences. Kids carry these family rituals into a lifetime appreciation for seasonal change.

Connects with History

Learning the origins of heirloom and hybrid pumpkins exposes kids to history and multicultural heritage. Talk about how people across time and place contributed pumpkin colors.

Which Color is Best for Carving vs Cooking?

Pumpkins come in a spectrum not only of external color but also internal features that make some varieties better for carving jack-o-lanterns, others better for baking pumpkin pie and bread:


For carving, you want a pumpkin with thick, sturdy flesh that will hold up well once part of the exterior is cut away. Dense, upright walls make sculpting fine details easier. Thinner walls collapse more easily under the knife and candle flame heat.

Best Pumpkin Varieties for Carving
Ghost Rider
Magic Lantern

These tried and true carving varieties all have in common deep orange color and superior structure for carving.


For cooking uses like baking pies and breads, you want a pumpkin with smooth, stringless flesh that purées easily. The ideal baking pumpkin has a high sugar content and thin walls. Heirlooms developed for eating often fit the bill.

Best Pumpkin Varieties for Cooking
Sugar Pie
Baby Pam
Long Island Cheese
New England Pie

Popular edible varieties noted for sweetness, texture, and ease of processing into puree are best for kitchen use.

Growing Conditions Impact Color

Pumpkin color can also vary based on growing conditions. A drought-stressed or diseased orange pumpkin may turn more yellow. Too much rain or humidity can dull colors. Pumpkins in full sun develop darker, richer hues. Ideal conditions produce the most vibrant colors – a valuable lesson for kids on caring for plants.

Fun with Colorful Pumpkins

Beyond seasonal decorating, colorful pumpkins offer endless fun through imaginative play and creative projects for kids:

  • Paint faces, patterns, designs, and pictures on pumpkins with acrylic paints
  • Create pumpkin stamp prints using carved shapes dipped in paint
  • Make pumpkin prints by rolling a carved and inked pumpkin on paper
  • Have a pumpkin carving contest and vote on the most creative carved pumpkins
  • Make pumpkin leaf or pumpkin seed art by gluing pumpkin parts into pictures
  • Roast pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack kids will love
  • Use pumpkin guts to teach kids about composting
  • Make pumpkin play dough or salt dough from cooked pumpkin puree
  • Bake pumpkin bread, muffins, and cookies using pumpkin puree for fun kitchen science
  • Play pumpkin bowling using mini pumpkins and recycled bottles or pins
  • Launch mini pumpkins through the air with catapults, slingshots, or other handmade devices
  • Race toy cars over pumpkins set up as obstacles
  • Play pumpkin ring toss in the yard or park with pumpkins and rope
  • Make DIY pumpkin decorations from painted paper or cardboard cutout pumpkins

The colorful world of pumpkins sparks no limit of engaging activities for active young minds.

Picking the Perfect Pumpkins

When shopping for colorful pumpkins, either at a pumpkin patch, farmers’ market, or store, here are some tips for picking the best specimens:

  • Look for firm pumpkins with intact stems, free of bruises, cuts, or soft spots
  • Choose pumpkins with consistent coloring over their entire surface
  • Check that pumpkins feel heavy for their size and don’t have any holes or cracks
  • For cooking, select smaller, heavy sugar pumpkins for best texture and flavor
  • For carving, look for large, upright pumpkins with wide bases to make sculpting easier
  • Check out the pumpkin variety name signage to learn what you’re getting
  • Talk to farm stands or patch staff for tips on the best types for carving or cooking
  • Pick up a few whites, blues, greens or other colors to add flair to your display

Finding pumpkins with great shape, uniform color, and intact skin ensures you take home great gourds for all your festivities.

Safety Tips

While pumpkin decorating and play offers lots of learning, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Supervise young kids carving pumpkins with sharp tools
  • Light carved pumpkins with battery operated candles, not real flames
  • Use acrylic paints approved for kids’ crafts
  • Wash hands before and after touching pumpkins and seeds
  • Cook pumpkin seeds thoroughly before eating
  • Compost or discard pumpkins properly once decorations are over

Take care to carve, paint, play, and dispose of pumpkins safely so your family can fully enjoy discovering their colors.


Beyond standard orange, the diverse palette of pumpkin colors provides great visual excitement and sparks creative learning. Allowing kids to paint, carve, grow, and play with white, green, gold, and other colored pumpkins builds artistic expression, diversity appreciation, and new autumn traditions. With some planting tips and safety precautions, your family can fully explore the rainbow of pumpkins coloring your October.