Halloween is like the Thursday Night Football game of the holiday season. There’s a big lead up to it because it’s the first official holiday of the ‘holiday season’. If you have kids, you will probably go to a pumpkin farm of some kind and spend hours trying to find “the perfect pumpkin” to carve. Once you’re there, you probably buy a few extra sugar pie pumpkins so you have an excuse to make some yummy treats. Any food that has pumpkin in it must be healthy, right!?!
What happens on November 1st? Halloween candy lingers for months but the decorations, they’re gone faster than a cheesy poof in the hands of Cartman. Dating myself!?!
If you’re a big decorator, you probably have some carved pumpkins that will need to be discarded pretty quickly. What about the pumpkins that don’t get carved? They may last through Thanksgiving.
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What To Do With The Carved Pumpkins After Halloween?
Once carved, separate the stringy goop from the seeds. You can use those later (see below).
Here in the south, the carved pumpkins at our house seem to mold and decompose fairly quickly so they don’t last much past Halloween. Carved pumpkins aren’t like Christmas decorations that get left up for a week or so after the holiday, once Halloween is over, the carved pumpkins MUST go. What can you do besides throwing them in the trash?
- Compost – if you have a backyard composting system or are fortunate enough to have a compost service, scrape the candle wax out of the pumpkin, break the pumpkin up and put it in your compost bin. You can read more about my backyard compost set up right here.
- Take it to a Farm or CSA – if you know a local farmer or CSA owner, they might be interested in taking that pumpkin off your hands and feeding it to their farm animals.
- Make a bird feeder – scrape out the candle wax, add in some bird seed and sunflower seeds. You can either hang it up or put it on a plant stand in your garden or yard.
- Science experiment – scrape out the candle wax and use the pumpkin for a science experiment. Put in some baking soda and add vinegar and watch the foamy explosion. You could also add a bit of food coloring to make it funnier. Kids will love this.
- Make a face mask – pumpkin is loaded with all kinds of good vitamins and minerals for your skin. Vitamins A, C, and E as well as minerals like zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, and potassium. These will help to promote collagen production, protect from free radical damage, improve cell turnover, help reverse UV sun damage, fight acne, improve circulation, improve skin texture and much more.
One of my favorite pumpkin mask recipes comes from The Pistachio Project. It’s pumpkin spice so you can wear it while you’re drinking your (homemade) pumpkin spice latte. No need for all the chemicals from Starbucks.
What About All Those Uncarved Pumpkins After Halloween?
Tired of looking at pumpkins? Ready to turn them into something yummy? I’ve pinned an variety of recipes that use pumpkin puree and pumpkin seeds over on my Pumpkin Treats section of my Halloween Pinterest Board. Come pick one or 5 to try out and follow me while you’re there.
- Stock – don’t throw away the stringy goop! After you remove the seeds, throw the goop into a pot filled with water, add those vegetable scraps that you’ve got stored in your freezer, boil for 30 minutes until the water color changes and strain. Now you’ve got some yummy vegetable stock to use at Thanksgiving, or whenever you need it. You can toss the strained veggies in your compost bin.
- Roasted Seeds – Wash the seeds and let them completely dry. Save them to plant later and grow your own pumpkins or roast them and eat them. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in addition to being a good source of fiber and antioxidants. I found a bunch of yummy recipes using different seasonings. They make a great snack! Little Sprouts Learning shares some different ways to roast the seeds as well as how to get the kiddos involved.
- Bread – everyone has a tried and true pumpkin bread recipe. Add some walnuts or pecans and chocolate chips, yummy!
- Pie – puree the flesh and save it for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie…if it lasts that long.
- Latte – skip the artificially flavored pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks in favor of a real pumpkin latte.
- Fries – I’ve had sweet potato fries but had never heard of pumpkin fries. Leave it to Pinterest to find this one.
- Cake – somehow a pumpkin cake seems more like a healthy treat so it can be enjoyed more frequently. Unless of course you put a thick glaze or frosting on it.
- Adult Beverage – the best thing I found was a cinnamon infused rum….oh the possibilities.
- Marshmallows – this may be the best one yet! My kids go nuts for marshmallows but pumpkin spice marshmallows from HomesteadLady? Oh yeah! Think of how divine these would be in a (homemade) pumpkin spice latte…
What are your Halloween traditions? Do you carve fancy designs in to your pumpkins or are you like me and choose the simple jack-o-lantern? My daughter likes fancy so I leave the carving to my husband, he’s much better (and more patient) at this than I am.
Make it a green day!