When the Halloween fun is over, it’s time to say goodbye to that old wrinkling Jack O’ Lantern on your front stoop. Unfortunately, over a billion pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills each year. But there’s no need to throw your pumpkins in the garbage! Instead, you can easily “recycle” your pumpkin and help the environment too. And we’ll help you decide how to dispose of your pumpkins! Below are several ideas for what to do with pumpkins after Halloween.
What to Do With Pumpkins After Halloween
What you do with your pumpkins depends on whether they’re carved or not. And we have ideas for both!
What to Do With Carved Pumpkins After Halloween
Feed them to the wildlife (if they haven’t been painted)
Pumpkins are 100% edible, and the wildlife appreciates the tasty treat. Cut them up into a few large pieces and put them out for the critters to enjoy. (We like to put them a ways away from the house.)
Also, zoos will sometimes take leftover pumpkins to feed the animals. Check with your local zoo to see if this is an option.
Feed them to chickens and other birds.
Chickens eat carved pumpkins! Just cut them and lay them out for the chickens to peck.
For wild birds, you can hang small pumpkins from trees with a bit of birdseed inside. Just make sure there’s an opening large enough for them. Or, cut sizeable pumpkins into smaller pieces. Then fill them with birdseed, and lay them between tree branches or on the ground. The birds will find them!
Smash ‘em! And then compost them.
Pumpkins are excellent for your compost heap! And since they’re mostly water, they break down fast and add a ton of nutrients to your soil. Also, they’ll compost much more quickly when cut into smaller pieces.
No compost pile? No problem.
Bury them in the yard or garden! It’ll break down faster if you cut it into smaller pieces, but either way is okay. Worms and bugs and soil microorganisms will break it down.
Give your leftover carved pumpkins to someone with animals, woods, or a compost pile. Also, there’s an app for that! Check out Sharewaste to connect with local people who collect compost material.
Check with your city.
Find out if your city collects pumpkins for compost. Some cities will allow you to put uncooked pumpkins in the yard waste collection bags and bins. Others allow you to drop pumpkins at their compost facility. Check with your local waste management service for options.
Use them as planters.
Grow plants in your hollow pumpkin! The great thing about planting in pumpkins is, you can put them into the ground with the plant still in them.
What to Do With Uncarved Pumpkins
Roast the seeds!
Roast your pumpkin seeds when you cut your pumpkin. Not only does this save on waste, but pumpkin seeds are a tasty, healthy snack!
To roast pumpkin seeds: Wash the seeds and remove the pulp, and dry them. Next, season them with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings of choice. Then spread them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees. Stir them every few minutes, and bake until they’re toasted (around 15 minutes). For more on roasting pumpkin seeds, here is a great step-by-step recipe.
Eat your uncarved pumpkins!
Make pumpkin puree! Cut pumpkins in halves or quarters, remove the seeds, and put them on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees until it’s soft enough to remove from the skin. Cool a bit and puree in a food processor. For more, here’s a step-by-step recipe.
You can freeze pumpkin puree. Or make a pie, bread, pasta, latte, or pumpkin butter! The options are limitless.
Gift your pumpkins.
To someone who will eat them or compost them for you!
Keep them for Thanksgiving.
And then, after Thanksgiving, recycle them using one of the methods mentioned here!
Find an eco-friendly way to dispose of Halloween pumpkins!
As you can see, there are (so) many excellent uses for leftover Halloween pumpkins! These are great alternatives to throwing them in the trash. And they’re easy ways to help the soil and the animals (and you too!)!