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White pumpkins hit the Halloween market

Naturally white, eerie-looking pumpkins are finding their way into more and more homes as Halloween approaches.
Steve Scrimpsher, a produce manager, stands next to white and orange pumpkins for sale at a Chicago grocery store on Oct. 20. The albino pumpkins have existed for a while but only recently gained popularity.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

These pumpkins look like something scared THEM.

Eerie-looking white pumpkins — naturally white, not painted — are finding their way into more and more homes this Halloween season.

The albinos are called Ghost pumpkins, Snowballs, Luminas or Caspers — presumably a reference to the friendly ghost. And the ones about the size of a baseball? Baby Boos.

White pumpkins are a little bit more expensive than their orange cousins. But parents and party planners say they are more ghoulish and offer a better canvas for drawing or painting a jack-o’-lantern face.

Victoria Pericon, author of “Mommy Land: Entering the Insanity of Motherhood,” spotted white pumpkins this year for the first time in New York City and thinks her crayon-wielding 2-year-old daughter “will be crawling all over this thing.”

Those who carve the pumpkins will find they still have orange flesh beneath the white rind, adding to their ghostly appeal when a candle is put inside.

“When you get a dark night, I think they’re going to look pretty cool outside,” said Karla Neely, a Dallas public relations account executive who bought a white pumpkin for her home last week. “They seem like they will almost glow.”

White pumpkins — simply another variety of the autumn favorite — have been around for a while, but what was once a curiosity at farmers markets is now making the scene at larger groceries and pumpkin patches.

Gensler Gardens, a family farm near Rockford, decided to grow 6,000 white pumpkins this year because the 1,000 last year proved such a hit. But more than a week before Halloween, all 6,000 had been sold, and the Genslers will probably grow 20,000 next year, Scott Gensler said.

“White has become a strong decorating element in people’s homes,” said Nancy Soriano, editor in chief of Country Living magazine, which put pumpkins that had been painted white on its cover last October. “They might have white pottery, sofas, and white pumpkins add a very iconic look.”

Deborah Racicot, the executive pastry chef at Gotham Bar and Grill in New York has been carving white pumpkins up for years to display at her house.

“People that are throwing parties tend to buy them,” Racicot said. “These guys ... are looking for the coolest thing to make their party a little more chic than normal.”