Squash are usually divided into two different main categories: Winter and Summer.
Winter SquashWinter squash develops a thick hard skin. When it reaches maturity it will have a long storage life. It will keep for months (and commonly up to a year) when stored in a cool, dark ventilated place like a cellar; or buried in straw in a shaded barn. I have had good luck storing winter squash on my front porch on an old wooden bench. It is shaded, protected and has good air circulation. It's almost June and I still have butternut squash and a few pumpkins still good enough to eat. It is a great way to have some color during the cold winter months. Their bright colors always make me smile when coming in from a long day in town or in the fields.
Summer SquashIn contrast summer squash is harvested and eaten when the skin is thin and tender, and they have a short storage life. (Note: winter squash can be eaten when it is very young and has a thin skin. It has a bland taste, is not sweet and has a short storage life. In most instances winter squash is not harvested until it is mature.).One Happy Family
In my experience the words pumpkin, squash and gourd are all used to describe the same fruit. Thoroughly confused? Just know that the words are all used interchangeably.
Each different variety has its own unique color, shape, culinary and decorative use.