20110919 pumpkin
Children choose among Halloween pumpkins at the Buschmann and Winkelmann Asparagus Farm on October 18, 2009 in Klaistow, Germany. - 

Steve Chiotakis: To all our Jack-o-lantern fans in the Northeast --
this story will likely make you scream. Seems Hurricane Irene damaged a lot of pumpkin patches
along the East coast.

And as Marketplace's Sarah Gardner reports, that could mean pricier pumpkins in that area of the country.

Sarah Gardner: This year's Northeastern pumpkin crop appears to be cursed. Jim Murray grows the Halloween staple in upstate New York.

Jim Murray: The season started out bad right from the get-go.

Heavy spring rains delayed planting, which means less growing time before retailers demand them in stores for Halloween. Then flooding from Hurricane Irene destroyed hundreds of pumpkin patches.

Murray: We're going to have about 50 percent of the crop.

The shortage could jack up Jack-o'-lantern prices in the Northeast this season. But Justin Talley at Frey Farms in Illinois wants to squash that fear.

Justin Talley: Even on short years, sometimes pumpkins may be harder to find but the price usually falls within the same realm that they've seen in the past.

But this season's trick on Northeastern pumpkin farmers may be a treat for growers in the Midwest. Pumpkin farms in states like Ohio and Indiana are prepared to ship some of their crop east to ease the shortage.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner