What to Do with Pumpkins After Halloween

Every Halloween we buy millions of pumpkins to decorate our homes as Jack O lanterns, but once Halloween is over, most of these are dumped in the trash. The numbers are mind-blowing. According to the Dept of Energy this adds up to a whopping 1.3 billion lbs of pumpkins sent to landfill each November. What a waste! These pumpkins had to be grown by legions of farmers, watered, and cared for and transported only to end up rotting in landfill.

What to do with pumpkins after Halloween is something that most of us rarely consider but there are loads of things you can do with pumpkins so let’s look.

Eat them!

The most obvious solution to what to do with pumpkins after Halloween is to eat them!  Pumpkins are versatile so why not try making that good old American favorite, Pumpkin Pie? Alternatively, a pumpkin soup is always delicious and easy to make and of course you can always extract the seeds and toast them.  Many of us regularly buy pumpkin seeds from the health food shop as snacks and the seeds that you extract from your jack o lantern pumpkin are the same.

Use as bird feeders

If you don’t want to eat your pumpkins yourself, the birds in your garden will love them. Try cutting the pumpkin into sections and hanging these up in your garden as natural bird feeders. You can fill the hollowed-out section with additional bird seed and the birds will peck away at the flesh of the pumpkin as well as the seeds.

Donate old pumpkins to your local animal charity

Pumpkins are equally useful for animal feed. Check out your local animal charities and see if they are accepting pumpkin donations. Some animal charities provide drop off points for pumpkins but if you have a lot of them to get rid of, it may be worth giving a local organisation a call.

Keep the seeds and grow next year’s pumpkins yourself

Pumpkins are very easy to grow, and they look great in the garden. Once they start growing, they require only minimal care and soil because they will take off and grow across the lawn decorating your garden with orange flowers.  Growing your own pumpkins is good for the planet and the kids will love seeing this too. You can plant the seeds directly in your garden if you live in a warm climate. For more seasonal areas, wash and dry the seeds and store in an envelope ready for planting next spring.

Put your pumpkin remains in your compost bin.

Pumpkins are great for composting because they contain a lot of water. Remember to cut the pieces into smaller sized chunks and they will soon rot down and improve your compost.

It is important to point out that if you have painted your pumpkins, you will need to dispose of them more carefully because the paint could be toxic to animals and to humans. In addition, if your pumpkins have been kept outside you will need to ensure they haven’t been contaminated by insect activity

If you are struggling to decide what to do with pumpkins after Halloween, one option is to buy a craft pumpkin that you can decorate and re use each year.

To find more tips on what to do with pumpkins this Halloween, check out Better Homes and Gardens for inspiration on how to decorate and dispose of your pumpkins, including some great recipes.