An important part of pumpkin pie is spices, whether it is a lightly or heavily spiced, all cinnamon, spices add character to your pie. Just like the kind of pumpkin you use, the quality of your spices are important too!
1. First the most import thing about spices is freshness. Those volatile oils in spices get lost quickly when ground.
2. Buy in small amounts. If you are lucky to have a store with a bulk section, make the most of it. Look for a store with a good customer base that means the turnover is fast. You do not want to buy ground spices that have been sitting around for a while. Also avoid those little bottled in the baking section. You have no idea how long it has been since they were ground. I have read it can be a good year. And heavens to Betsy do not buy those giant bottles at places like Costco, unless you can split it with a few friends or use it up in 6 months. I say ground spices last 6 months. After 6 months, I toss it. Another reason to buy a small amount. If you do not use it, you are not throwing away much money.
3. Ideally one should buy their spices whole and ground as needed. As I said freshly ground spices have a depth of flavor that is lost very quickly. For example nutmeg, I NEVER buy ground nutmeg. Fresh ground nutmeg has a peppery quality that is amazing in savory dishes but that quality is lost pretty fast. Nutmeg grinds easily with a microplane. Pepper is something else I only buy whole. A mini spice grinder (or coffee grinder) is a good investment and not that expensive.
Even though keeping your spices fresh may seem fussy, think of all the work you have put inot thta pie. One more small step will give you such a satifying result!