Fall festivities are sure to include pumpkins, and with hoards of genetically engineered pumpkins and their fruit-family kin, gourds, popping up at farmers' markets across the country, there's lots to choose from. Here's a look at some of the wild and weird varieties.
A hideously disfiguring disease hasn't stricken these pumpkins – they've been genetically engineered to look that way. The warty pumpkins are called "Knuckle Heads" and are part of Siegers Seed Company's bumpy "Super Freak" series. Because of their large jack-o'-lantern shape, it takes at least 10 generations of cross-breeding to produce a pumpkin that's adequately covered in warts.
This "Casper" pumpkin has a smooth, ghastly white shell that's perfect for carving jack-o'-lanterns or painting on a spooky face.
"Cosmic Stars" are squash that have a flattened shape and scalloped edges. They get their name from their UFO flying saucer-like appearance.
Some of these "Goose Bumps" pumpkins' warts have grown in green – a perfectly creepy accent for Halloween.
"Koshare Yellow" gourds are small and broadly striped with dark green and gold bands. Their unique spoon-like shape is reminiscent of a goose.
Referred to as a novelty pumpkin, what makes this one unique are the red "veins" that crawl across its skin's white background. Giving the illusion that it's been stuffed chock-full has earned it the name of the "One Too Many" pumpkin.
With their freaky textures, warty pumpkins make goofy jack-o'-lantern faces goofier and scary carved faces scarier.
The yellow, green, orange and white star-shaped "Daisy" gourds have warts and a unique pattern resembling a flower at the end of their stems. Gourds are in the same family of fruit as the pumpkin.
This pink pumpkin is named "Galeuse d' Eysines," which roughly translates to "embroidered with warts from Eysines," a city in the southwest of France. Covered in beige bumps that resemble peanuts, it also makes for a pretty frightening fall decoration.
Some varieties of the goose-like "Koshare Yellow" gourds have ribbed tips, fittingly called wings, sticking out around their bodies.
These "Red Warty Things" are specialty pumpkins whose bright amber shells are completely covered in tiny bumps.
Even with its ghostly skin, the "Flat White Boer" looks more cute than scary.
These strange-looking pumpkins, called "Kamo-Kamo," are relatively small in size. Their unique shells have puffed-out, vertical rinds against a darker background. They come in olive green, light orange and buttery yellow colors.
A smaller variety of "Super Freaks," the "Goose Bumps" pumpkins are slightly harder to cut. When it comes to carving them up, the pumpkins' manufactures recommend trying to "pierce the skin of your pumpkin on the top of a wart, versus on a smooth part of the surface. The warts seem to be much softer under the hard shell."
These extra large pumpkins — which vary from 60 to 80 pounds in size — come in colors including white, blue, peach and the classic orange hue.
The sinisterly named "Sand Man" pumpkin is covered with a skin that looks and feels like butternut squash. Its unusual, flesh-tone color makes for an even eerier jack-o'-lantern.
These pumpkins are called "Sweet Lightning" because of their caramel-colored ribbed pattern, which is intercepted with wide, buttery-yellow streaks.
These "Super Freaks" gourds are called "Gremlins" and come in a multitude of shapes, textures and colors. Their shapes include stars, acorns, mushrooms and even ones with long, swan-like necks.
"Goose Bumps" pumpkins vary in appearance, from slightly warty to warty all over, and from a uniform orange or swamp-green color to green warts on orange skin. Their freaky surface would be perfect for carving a witch face on.
This uniquely hued pumpkin has a russet brown shell and is orange on the inside. It's named "Fairy Tale" for its Cinderella's coach-like shape.
If you cut into the shell of the fittingly-named "New Moon" pumpkin, you'll see that it also has white flesh.
White pumpkins also come in small sizes — these little pumpkins, adorably named "Gooligans," are deeply ribbed so that they resemble similarly-shaped gourds.
The heavily warted "Gremlin" gourds' various patterns, vibrant colors and plethora of shapes make them perfect for fall decorations; however, they can't be carved or eaten.