One of the best things about fall is searching for the perfect pumpkin. You can find them just about everywhere this time of year--farmer's markets, pumpkin patches, even your favorite grocery store--but not all pumpkins are the same.

Here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the right one:

1.  Check the pumpkins for soft spots and signs of mold. Don't forget to check underneath, and press on it with your thumbs. If it gives a little, the pumpkin isn't fresh.

2.  Pumpkins continue to ripen and will get more orange after they're picked. So choosing a lighter pumpkin NOW could give you a perfect deep orange one by Halloween.

3.  Look for one that has its handle or stem intact. Also, a dark green stem is a sign it was picked recently, compared to a brown stem.

4.  Pumpkins with flat walls and no deep ribs are better for carving. And skip the tall, oblong pumpkins--they typically have stringier flesh which makes precise cuts difficult.

5.  Once you think you've found the one, set it on a flat surface to be sure it sits upright.

Whether you're carving, decorating, or cooking with them, hopefully this list helps you pick the perfect pumpkins.