'Tis the season for pumpkins. Cute or spooky, carved or painted, candlelit or au naturale, Halloween pumpkins can be spotted on doorsteps, front porches and sidewalks all around the country. But what happens to those pumpkins once the trick-or-treaters put away their costumes for the year?
Of the 1.3 billion pumpkins produced in the U.S., a lot are simply thrown away after the holiday, and that can contribute to our greenhouse gas emissions, reports NPR. But just because Halloween is over doesn't mean your pumpkin needs to go into the trash bin. In fact, there are so many ways to repurpose that holiday staple that you may have a hard time choosing.
From food to fun, here are 21 great ways to put your Halloween pumpkin to good use.
By far the easiest and yummiest way to reuse that pumpkin is to eat it. Carving pumpkins are just as edible — although slightly less flavorful — than other varieties, such as sugar or pie pumpkins. But they still make for delicious additions to pies, soups, breads and even liquor. Here are several of our favorite pumpkin-filled recipes:
- Pumpkin pie
- Healthy pumpkin and spice quick bread
- Spicy pumpkin hummus
- Pumpkin bread pudding
- Pumpkin pie smoothie
- Pumpkin butter
- Parmesan pumpkin wedges
- Pumpkin liquor
Important tip: If you used a candle in your jack-o'-lantern, be sure to cut away any pumpkin pieces that may have wax on them. Oh, and don't throw out those stringy bits when you're carving. Add them to your other leftover veggies to make a flavorful vegetable soup stock. You can also puree the pumpkin guts and add them to your favorite risotto, pumpkin bread or pumpkin butter recipes.
Decorate with it
Even after your get your decorating dollars out of a carved Halloween pumpkin, you can put it to use as part of your fall harvest decor. Use a little veggie oil on your pumpkins to prevent them from drying out and rotting. This will keep them beautiful all season long and give you plenty of time to reuse them in your seasonal decorating. Here are six great pumpkin decorations to try.
Get beautiful with it
Pumpkins are more than just beautiful and delicious, they are also healthy for your body. They are packed with vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants — all blended together in a moisturizing base that is good for your skin and hair. Use up your Halloween pumpkin by adding one of these these sweet-smelling recipes to your beauty routine.
Play with it
Halloween might be over, but the holiday fun is just getting started. Try your hand at pumpkin bowling by filling recycling plastic bottles with water or sand (and topping with a tight lid) to use as pins. Set them up in a 10-pin triangle and use your pumpkins to knock 'em down. You can also try these two fun ways to play with your pumpkins.
Finally, keep on putting your pumpkin to good use after you have finished decorating and playing with it by turning it into garden-fueling compost. If you've never composted before, don't be intimidated — it's much easier than you think. Some cities offer curbside composting pickup; if that's the case, just add your leftover pumpkin to the pile.
- You can also start your own compost pile with this handy how-to file and reap the benefits all year long.