Halloween night has passed, and the last piece of candy has been eaten. Do you still have a few lonely jack-o’-lanterns sitting on your porch? Maybe you have a couple of uncarved pumpkins in your home. Well, before you throw them out with the trash, I have ten suggestions for how those sensational squash can help you continue to celebrate the fall season.
10 Ways to Reuse Leftover Pumpkins
- Make Pumpkin Puree. Make a batch of pumpkin puree to use in pumpkin soup, chili, or dip. You can even throw it into the blender with some milk and whip up a nutritious smoothie for a snack.
- Roast Pumpkin Seeds. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a favorite activity of many families. Take the seeds out of a whole pumpkin, or put them aside after carving your jack-o’-lantern. Mix the seeds in a bowl with a couple teaspoons of melted butter and a pinch of salt. Next, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Feed the Local Wildlife. Squirrels, rabbits, deer, porcupines, and tons of insects are just as fond of pumpkins as you are. Slice your old jack-o’-lantern into big pieces or simply throw it into a wooded area so local wildlife can enjoy an unexpected, tasty feast.
- Make an Air Freshener. Cut your old jack-o-lantern in half widthwise. Rub some of your favorite spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or allspice, on the fleshy inside of your pumpkin. Next, put a tea candle in the pumpkin and light it. This will send the spicy fragrance wafting into the air.
- Create a Flowerpot. Cut off the top third of your jack-o’-lantern and line the bottom with newspaper. Put soil on the newspaper and plant some beautiful chrysanthemums in your pumpkin pot. If you want, you can plant your pumpkin pot in the ground. The pumpkin will decompose over time, leaving behind your planted chrysanthemum.
- Donate Them to a Local Farmer. Sheep, goats, pigs, and other farm animals go crazy for pumpkin flesh. Load up your old jack-o’-lanterns and whole pumpkins to take to a local farmer who likes to give their livestock a special fall snack.
- Decorate Uncarved Pumpkins. If you have a bunch of smaller, uncarved pumpkins sitting on tables around your home, dust off your decorating skills and put some designs on them with acrylic paint. Templates are great for painting animals or words or making scrollwork. These decorated pumpkins can be added to the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table.
- Donate Them to a Chuck-the-Pumpkin Contest. Check the local newspaper for any pumpkin-chucking contests happening nearby. This type of contest usually involves a tall catapult, pumpkins, and a long roll of measuring tape.
- Add Them to Your Compost Pile. Pumpkins are full of vitamins that can be absorbed back into the earth. Be sure to cover your pumpkins with a layer of leaves after adding them to your compost pile.
- Make a Bird Feeder. To make a pumpkin bird feeder, all you need is half a pumpkin and a bag of wild birdseed. I suggest making a pair of matching bird feeders with a whole pumpkin. Your local feathered friends will be thrilled with their delicious find!
See? Your carved and uncarved pumpkins can still serve a purpose. Get creative, and let me know how you reused your pumpkins this fall. Thanks for reading. – Alan