We come out of the pumpkin farm with a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins of different sizes. Not just one jack-o-lantern sized pumpkin for each of us, but as many sizes that we can comfortably fit in our casita. The children (as well as my husband and I) love having them in the house because the children can stack them, roll them, balance, pretend, sit on, stand on, and even get a few science experiments out of them. We talk about the sizes and sort them out from largest to smallest, count them as we empty and fill baskets with the smallest ones, draw faces on some of them, and finally a few days before Halloween we make our jack-o-lanterns out of the largest ones. Some of the ones we keep will last all of Fall in perfect condition! This year I made sure we had enough of the sugar pumpkins because I was on a mission to find good recipes to use them with and enjoy the whole experience as a family tradition.
I have used larger than sugar sized pumpkins before and the results were average and edible; however, I did notice a slight difference in taste (it was better) when I used the sugar kind. The larger ones tasted a bit more like a plain squash and required more seasoning. A good rule of thumb would be to not go larger than the size of a large honeydew melon.
When you are ready to bake your pumpkin you may want to give it a quick wash before you cut it open. Up to you. I did just cause I know where mine has been and who's been handling it. The change in weather has brought a few colds in our house so I didn't want to take a chance with cross-contamination once I opened it up.
Happy Pumpkin Hunting!