Halloween preparations in America have been rocked by a mass shortage of pumpkins, with severe weather and disease blighting the pumpkin harvest in swathes over the country.

Farmers in the Northeast of the US claim wholesale prices of pumpkins have more than doubled in some areas, with ‘pumpkin profiteering’ by unscrupulous traders being reported.

The dearth has occurred as a result of the heavy rain and flooding during the spring and summer, which caused a subsequent outbreak of fungus.

Hurricane Irene also played a part in the shortage, with one New York farmer telling news reporters that he saw “15,000 to 20,000 pumpkins, washed into Lake Champlain”.

However, not all farmers have been affected. Those in other regions such as Western Montana say although they were left concerned by the wet spring, the summer weather has resulted in perfect pumpkin growing conditions.

Halloween is one of America’s favourite holidays, with millions expected to take to the streets in fancy dress and go tick or treating on October 31.