Due to their hard rinds, these vegetables keep well and can be enjoyed for weeks as an entryway decoration or table centerpiece. Many of the ornamental varieties are also edible, and make a delicious soup, side dish or dessert ingredient when you are done with your display. The following list is a sampling of some favorite ornamental squashes:

Image Baby or Mini Pumpkins
Only about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, miniature pumpkin varieties are beloved of children and adults alike. Found in both solid colors and stripes, they bear such names as ‘Baby Bear’, 'Baby Boo' and ‘Jack Be Little’. Although they don't offer enough flesh to be edible, these varieties are a perfect size for crafts and harvest table decorations.
Image Carnival Squash
The carnival squash is appropriately named, since its banana-yellow skin speckled with bright orange and green markings is a celebration of color. Considered a type of acorn squash, this variety offers flavor as well as good looks. Its nutty, sweet flesh is tasty when baked or steamed.
Image Cinderella Pumpkin
The deep orange-red coloring of the Cinderella pumpkin, or C. maxima ‘Rouge Vif d’Estampes’, makes this squash a standout. Both broader and flatter than a traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkin, this French heirloom variety looks every bit the model for the pumpkin that magically transformed into Cinderella’s coach.

Delicata Squash
The oblong-shaped delicata squash, also called peanut squash or Bohemian squash, has a thinner skin than many other winter squashes. Its rind features longitudinal olive green stripes on a cream or golden-yellow background. The orange-yellow flesh is reminiscent of sweet potatoes.

Image Fairytale Pumpkin
Another French heirloom, the rustic-looking ‘Musque de Provence’ or fairytale pumpkin takes on a deep mahogany sheen when it reaches maturity. Like the Cinderella pumpkin, it is flat and squat. This variety, however, is distinguished by its deeply ribbed sides which make it easy to divide into slices, the way it is often sold in French markets.
Image Jarrahdale Pumpkin
The Jarrahdale pumpkin is an heirloom variety named for its hometown in New Zealand. This beautiful light blue-green squash is not only lovely to look at, but also renowned for its flavor. The contrast between the orange flesh and blue skin make the Jarrahdale an interesting choice for a jack-o-lantern.
Image Lumina Pumpkin
Lumina, measuring 8 to 10 inches in diameter, makes a striking Halloween pumpkin, whether painted or carved. Though its skin is pale, this squash has orange flesh. Lumina's white, go-with-everything coloring makes it extremely popular for fall decorating. This pumpkin will retain its ghostly color best if kept out of full sunlight.
Image Marina di Chioggia Squash
This handsome squash is called the “sea pumpkin” of Chioggia, a coastal town south of Venice, Italy. Weighing in at about 10 pounds, squash of this variety have a bumpy surface with a dusty blue-green sheen. The deep yellow flesh of the Marina di Chioggia is appreciated for its flavor.

One Too Many Pumpkin
Perhaps this variety gets its name from its “pickled” appearance. Orange stripes and speckles create an interesting texture on the cream-colored skin. Place this variegated pumpkin among your orange pumpkins for an out-of-the-ordinary Halloween display.

Image Ornamental Gourds
Ornamental gourds come in a seemingly endless variety of shapes and colors, and may have unusual features such as warty bumps or striking color combinations. Many ornamental gourd names -- like crown of thorns, egg, baby’s bottle and speckled swan -- give you a hint as to their curious shapes. Although ornamental gourds are not edible, they have a long history of use as musical instruments, birdhouses, dippers and numerous other utilitarian items. Many gourds are quite small but vivid in color, making them ideal for tabletop or wreath decoration.
Image Peanut Pumpkin
C. maxima ‘Brode D’Galeux Eysines’ is a French heirloom variety whose name translates as “embroidered with pebbles from Eysines,” from the name of a village in Bordeaux. The common name comes from the warty bumps that have the color and appearance of peanut shells. The bumps can partially or sometimes completely cover the salmon-colored skin. This attention-getting pumpkin will elicit comments from visitors, and also makes for flavorful eating.
Image Turban Squash
This highly decorative squash takes its name from its resemblance to the cloth head covering worn in many parts of the world. Its colors vary, and include mixtures of bright orange, green and white. With the top cut off, this squash can serve as a natural tureen from which to serve squash soup. Even if you don’t want to struggle with cutting through its thick skin, the turban squash looks beautiful simply as a centerpiece.

Thank you to DG photographers:

Large photo of Fairytale pumpkin by WUVIE
Jack Be Little by Kim_M
Carnival by Xenomorf
Cinderella by Lilypon
Delicata by Farmerdill
Fairytale by WUVIE
‘Gremlins’ gourd by mgarr
Jarrahdale by patrob
Lumina by DawninTx
Marina di Chioggia by OleDi
One Too Many by Thagirion
Peanut by patrob
Turk’s Turban by kennedyh