Pumpkin Disposal Suggestions for after Halloween
Once Halloween is over and your pumpkins have served their purpose as fun decorations for the holiday, they deserve a better ending than being tossed into the trash. Environmentally friendly disposal of pumpkins is easier than you think.
Recycle a pumpkin shell
Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean your jack-o’-lantern is ready to retire. Pumpkin disposal in the trash will seem like a waste when you choose one of these easy ideas.
Fill your pumpkins with potting soil and plant fall weather-friendly chrysanthemums, marigolds or decorative cabbages inside.
If you have a wooded area near your home, throw pieces of your pumpkin among the trees and shout “trick or treat” to watch wildlife appear for the Halloween buffet. If you don’t have an area like this nearby, check with a local zoo or other nature area to see if they accept pumpkins for their animals.
If you have a composter or basic compost pile, break your pumpkins down into small pieces and remove the seeds before composting. Forgetting to remove the seeds during pumpkin disposal might have you growing a pumpkin patch where you don’t want one next year.
Save the seeds
Don’t forget the seeds when you recycle a pumpkin. Also called pepitas, these seeds are edible and nutritious.
Scoop out all the seeds and remove any strings of pulp. Wash them in water and dry them on paper towels. When dry, spread the seeds out (not overlapping) on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit and toss occasionally until they turn a golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with salt or other seasoning. Cool before storing in an airtight container.
Feed your birds
If you don’t want to eat the seeds yourself, your neighborhood birds will make pumpkin seeds disappear in a hurry. Just scatter them in the grass or put them in a bird feeder and watch larger birds dig in. Not only is this an environmentally friendly disposal of pumpkins, it’s also recycling perfection.
Grow your own pumpkins
Since pumpkins can’t reproduce until both male and female seeds are together, gather seeds from several different pumpkins before planting them in your garden. Next year you’ll know if you didn’t get the right mix when you end up growing only vines. If you recycle a pumpkin this way, make it a family project. Your kids might mimic Linus from the Peanuts cartoon, who asks every Halloween, “Will the Great Pumpkin come this year?”