Making a good pumpkin pie is apparently more difficult than it seems because many people simply don't know the secret to great pumpkin pie. My advice is when in doubt, you can't go wrong with store-bought pumpkin pie.

I have eaten a lot of pumpkin pie in my lifetime. The fact is, when I was growing up I rarely celebrated my birthday with cake, but rather with pumpkin pie, homemade by my aunt or my grandmother. These were good and delicious! (And,  yes, birthday candles on the pie!)

I still love pumpkin pie today - but not just any pumpkin pie. Good pumpkin pie has to have flavor. It needs to have some spices added to it, and there needs to be a little sweetness. There's more to pumpkin pie than just opening up a can of Libby's and pouring it into a pie plate.

I'm not saying I can make a great pumpkin pie - but I know one when I taste one. And I know that the key ingredients are ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar. It has been my experience most often that  homemade pumpkin pies are lacking in these four key ingredients. Never mind what the recipe calls for. It's not enough. Go above and beyond the minimum ingredient requirements, and don't be worried by the fact that the color of the pie will be a bit darker.

Honestly, it's going to be trial and error to get just the right amount of the key ingredients. If the idea of tasting the pie before it's baked doesn't appeal to you, all you have to do is put your nose down there and smell it. If you can't smell those ingredients, you can't taste those ingredients.

The other key ingredient to a good pumpkin pie is the crust. I don't know how to make a good crust, but, again, I know one when I eat one. As with any sort of pie, the crust can make it or break it, so don't discount it's importance. If you are making it from scratch, give just a tad more sugar than the recipe calls for.

(Zane Mathews)

Last but not least is one more very important ingredient. Don't forget the Cool Whip. And I'm not talking about Reddi Wip in a can, or whipping cream  that you stir up  yourself from a carton. There's nothing better on pumpkin pie than good old-fashioned  KRAFT Cool Whip from a tub. And don't be skimpy with it.

If you don't feel confident in  your pumpkin pie making skills, don't sweat it. Just go pick up a store made pumpkin pie. Generally, and maybe surprisingly, they are pretty good. And, if you want a can't-miss-they're-gonna-love-this pumpkin pie, head to the frozen section and pick up a Marie Callendar's pumpkin pie. I'm still waiting to eat a pumpkin pie that is better.