Halloween will soon be upon us, and hundreds of little ghosts and goblins will be moving through our streets in search of candy and other delicious treats. If you are like a growing number of homeowners, you are probably busy decorating your property in anticipation of the big day, setting out pumpkins, carving Jack-o-Lanterns in a variety of funny and scary faces and putting out bowls of candy for your friends and neighbors.
Decorating your home for Halloween is a time-honored tradition, but what do you do with those carefully chosen and beautifully carved pumpkins when October 31 ends and November 1 begins? You could chop those old pumpkins up and set them out with the trash, but why throw away something that still has some use left in it?
5 ways to re-use pumpkin
There are plenty of ways to give your old Halloween pumpkin a new lease on life. Here are 5 great reasons to keep your old pumpkin out of the landfill come November 1.
Food for you
The pumpkins used for Halloween decorating and Jack-o-Lantern carving are less flavorful and not as sweet as their neck pumpkin brethren, but their flesh can still make a great puree for pies, cookies, muffins and other tasty treats.
Food for the woodland creatures
Deer, raccoons and other rural and suburban animals love pumpkin, so sit those old Jack-o-Lanterns out and let them feast. Autumn is a lean season for wildlife, and they can really use the extra fat and calories before winter arrives.
A decorative planter
An uncarved pumpkin makes a great planter, and it is easy to transform that autumn gourd into a thing of beauty. Just cut off the top, remove the flesh and seeds and set them aside and pack the interior with potting soil. Top off your planter by adding your favorite flower or vegetable seeds.
Spice up your holiday parties
Imagine serving your favorite fall soups and delicious dips in a serving dish crafted from an old pumpkin. Just line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, brush the interior and top of an emptied out pumpkin with a little vegetable oil and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. The heat will harden the pumpkin, and you will have a wonderful new way to serve your favorite holiday foods.
Feed the birds
Winter can be a tough time of year for your fine feathered friends, but you can make things a bit easier with your old pumpkin. Old pumpkins are perfect for carving bird houses and bird feeders, so make a few and hang them strategically around the property. The birds will get a free meal and a place to sleep, and you will get the fun and satisfaction of watching them fly around.
Decorating your home for Halloween is a lot of fun, and the pumpkin is the star of the show. From Jack-o-Lanterns that will delight and terrify the children to uncarved pumpkins that give your home a touch of fall elegance, these humble gourds are an integral part of the season. Even when their time has come and gone, your pumpkins can still serve a useful purpose, from feeding the local wildlife to spicing up your wintertime meals.