Once again, the Halloween season has come and gone. Time to pack up the decorations and snarf down any remaining candy that didn't get passed out to little zombies and ninjas.
Old costumes are pretty easy to handle. If you don't plan to hang on to one, many organizations welcome the donation. Thrift stores do a tremendous business for Halloween and are great places to drop off gently used costumes. Women's shelters, children's hospitals, organizations that work with foster or needy children, hospices and even schools are usually quite willing to take a costume off your hands. With access to the internet, you can also find groups that collect and distribute Halloween attire to children who otherwise wouldn't be able to participate.
Consignment shops are a good alternative to donating.
If you don't have a suitable place to donate your Halloween goods, hold onto them until next fall. Many parents are now organizing a costume swap, with social media an excellent avenue to post what you have and what you are looking to acquire. Freecycle
can also put you in touch with individuals who want your particular outfit.
While dealing with your old costumes isn't too difficult, a bigger question is what to do
with pumpkins — especially the ones that have been carved and sitting outside for days or weeks. If you don't have the time or inclination to do very much with these spooky pieces of art, probably the fastest way to dispose of your pumpkins is to compost them. Let the kids smash them to pieces and add some decaying leaves on top, and you've got some great fodder for the worms and other creepy crawlies living in your compost bin. Your local waste management will also very likely be either collecting them for their own compost, or might be able to put you in touch with another avenue for recycling your pumpkins if they are not.
Another great way to add nutrients to your yard is to utilize your fake cemetery and bury the gourd. Actually, it would be best to let it decompose in the soil you plan to plant come spring, but it might give your neighbors a great post-Halloween spook to see you outside, shoveling in the moonlight and dropping a head-shaped object into a hole in your yard.
This burial method is also great if you plan to do any more last-minute planting, or live in an area where the weather isn't quickly turning harsh. Use your carved pumpkin as a planter. It can sit on the porch a few more days, then can be used just like a compostable container, and planted directly in the ground.
Animals reap great benefits from Halloween. If you live in an area where many critters roam, especially deer, chopping up the pumpkin and leaving the pieces in a nice, quiet spot away from traffic will give them a great treat. If you haven't already removed the seeds, these are also enjoyed by birds and other animals. Live in the city? Call a local farm, zoo or other site that houses animals and see if they are interested in your post-Halloween pumpkins.
If you didn't carve your pumpkin, or did so not long ago, the internet abounds with recipes using the gourd's innards, from seeds to the stringy pulp. Not only is it good for our digestive system, but our skin, as well. Pureed pumpkin makes a great face mask
Whatever you do, be careful about cooking any pumpkin that has been carved for very long. Safety precautions exist even for feeding it to wildlife, as moldy pumpkins are hazardous and should be relegated to the compost heap.