What is a White Pumpkin?

And More Answers to Your Questions About These Cool Albino Pumpkins

White Pumpkin
Russell Illig / Getty Images

Once rare white pumpkins are showing up more frequently in New England pumpkin patches and at roadside farm stands. Mystified by white pumpkins? Here is the scoop on these attractive albinos.

A Halloween Novelty That's Here to Stay

Orange is so yesterday. Here in the Northeast United States, white pumpkins, once a novelty, are becoming increasingly common, and these intriguing white orbs are all the rage when it comes to chic autumn decorating. Maybe it's the ghostly way they stand out on a dark night. Or perhaps it's the clean, smoothness of their appearance, which sparks creativity.

Also Known As: albino pumpkin, ghost pumpkin, Snowball, Casper, Lumina, Baby Boo, Cotton Candy Pumpkin

But What is a White Pumpkin?

These albinos with natural white or ivory skin (also known as the pumpkin shell) have been bred by pumpkin growers and scientists. Brent Loy, a University of New Hampshire professor, successfully bred a white pumpkin named Moonshine, which was an advancement due to its sturdier stem.

Seeds for specific varieties of white pumpkins, such as Lumina, Cotton Candy, Hooligan, Full Moon, Polar Bear or miniature Baby Boo, can be purchased and planted. Direct Gardening, for example, has Lumina PVP and Casper white pumpkin seeds available for online ordering. White pumpkins must be planted after the risk of frost has passed, and they take about 90 days to grow (check seed packets for additional specifics). Once white pumpkins mature on the vine, they should be picked promptly, or there is a risk of discoloration.

Can You Grow Giant White Pumpkins? 

You had to figure the giant pumpkin and white pumpkin crazes would converge. The short answer is: Yes! There are several varieties of giant white pumpkin seeds on the market, but these pale pumpkins aren't setting the sort of records their ton-plus orange cousins have achieved thanks to Yankee ingenuity. The current giant pumpkin record is owned by New Hampshire's Steve Geddes, who grew a 2,528-pound monster in 2018. Reimer Seeds says their Full Moon variety white pumpkin seeds can produce pumpkins weighing up to 90 pounds.

So, What Can You Do with a White Pumpkin?

They're awesome for carving (see a Star Wars-inspired example) because their skin is not quite as thick as an orange pumpkin's. Can you guess what color they are on the inside? Hint: It's not white. They are even better for painting, whether you stencil a design or transform them to match your decor by painting them any solid color of your choice.

White pumpkins provide great contrast in fall gourd and pumpkin displays at your home or business. They're elegant unadorned as a table centerpiece, as you'll see in this Martha Stewart Living photo from back in 2003: She's always ahead of the curve! Monogrammed white pumpkins are even being used as fall wedding decorations.

Don't be afraid to think outside the Halloween box. A white pumpkin tied with a red velvet ribbon and positioned atop evergreen boughs would make a lovely holiday season decoration. Like many gourds, white pumpkins stored properly can last through the winter months.

Can You Cook and Eat a White Pumpkin?

Sure, you can! The flesh inside a white pumpkin is edible. White pumpkin can be substituted for orange pumpkin in many recipes, whether you're baking white pumpkin pie or concocting a pumpkin soup. The satiny texture and sweet pumpkin taste of the Lumina variety is excellent for baking. Try using a hollowed out white pumpkin as an attractive serving tureen.

What About Eating White Pumpkin Seeds?

Yes, it's an option, but first you'll want to toast them in the oven, toss them in a skillet or candy-coat them.

Can you freeze white pumpkin?

Just like typical orange pumpkin, you can indeed bake, scoop, puree and then freeze white pumpkin by following these instructions.

Where Can You Find White Pumpkins in New England?

The annual pumpkin sale at the South Congregational Church in Granby, Connecticut, is one reliable source if you want to carve a white pumpkin jack-o'-lantern. Paul Bunyan's Farm & Nursery in Chicopee, Massachusetts, has white pumpkins every autumn, too.