Six Ways to Recycle Your Halloween Pumpkins

Nov 01, 2022

Wondering what to do with your perfectly carved pumpkins after the Halloween festivities are over? Don’t let your jack-o-lanterns go to waste! There are plenty of ways to recycle your pumpkins this year — even those that are looking a little shriveled and sunken.
            Keep reading for six eco-friendly ideas for repurposing, reusing, and recycling your Halloween pumpkins.
  1. Eat them yourself
If you have any clean, uncarved pumpkins left over, bring them to the kitchen to eat yourself! Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack, and fresh pumpkin puree can be used in any recipe that calls for the canned version. We recommend only eating pumpkins that have been kept inside away from insects and other critters, though, so this is a great option for pumpkins that you’ve used to decorate your fireplace or countertops with.
  1. Feed the birds
Attract feathered friends to your backyard by turning your jack-o-lantern into a bird feeder. Simply cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and fill it with bird seed. You can also add the pumpkin’s seeds to your bird seed as well for an extra treat that birds will love. You can either set the pumpkin feeder in your backyard or hang it from a tree using several lengths of rope wrapped under the base.
  1. Create compost
Composting is a great choice for those jack-o-lanterns that have already been hollowed out and are starting to waste away. If they have not been carved, though, make sure to remove the seeds so you don’t become an accidental pumpkin farmer. Because pumpkins are made mostly of water, they decompose quickly, but the process will go even faster if you break them apart first. You will likely not have to look far to find willing participants for a pumpkin smashing party!
  1. Feed the wildlife
After you’re done displaying your pumpkins, place them on the edge of your woods or property line to feed the wildlife. Deer will make short work of them and will not have a problem breaking apart whole pumpkins, especially as their skins begin to soften. For squirrels and rabbits, consider cutting the pumpkins into fourths and placing pieces around your yard.
  1. Create a chicken snack
During the winter months, as chickens spend more time in the coop, bad behaviors can set in very easily. Hanging a pumpkin in their coop can be a distracting and entertaining challenge! Simply drill a hole in the stem of your pumpkin, thread some twine through the hole, and hang it on a beam or hook in the coop. Scraping off the pumpkin’s outer shell will make it easier for your chickens to get to the insides and seeds of the pumpkin.
  1. Plant the seeds
Pumpkins are low maintenance and easy to grow, so consider saving some pumpkin seeds now to grow your own pumpkins next year! After rinsing the pulp from the seeds, spread the seeds on a baking sheet and allow them to dry in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. Once completely dry, store the seeds in an envelope or brown paper bag until planting season.
Your local Co-op is a great source for seasonal supplies and advice! For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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