The Halloween pumpkin is a permanent fixture for celebrating one of the most charming holidays of the year. Whether selected for use in the tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns or just as a decorative fall lantern, the Halloween pumpkin is a great way to embrace the season to the fullest. However, there is often missed opportunity when celebrators fail to recognize the joys of recycling or reusing their Halloween pumpkins. The following tips on how to reuse a Halloween pumpkin can help you make the most out of the season long after October 31st.
1. Host a Pumpkin Feast
Eating a Halloween pumpkin is one way to prevent this delightful gourd from going to waste. Although carving pumpkins are slightly less meaty than sugar gourds or pie pumpkins, they are just as tasty as their fleshier counterparts. In fact, some people prefer the nutty, rustic, and earthy flavor of carving pumpkins over other varieties. For those interested in eating a carving pumpkin after Halloween, consider one of the following options the next time you visit a pumpkin patch:
• Autumn Gold
• Baby Pam
• Ghost Rider
• Fairy Tale
• New England Pumpkin
• Winter Luxury
• Wolf Pumpkin
After you have carved and enjoyed your pumpkin for the holiday, the fun has only just begun. Reuse the pumpkin as a mouthwatering addition to seasonal recipes. Simply dispose of any candle wax, cut the gourd into smaller chunks, and heat in a glass baking dish at 400-degrees (F) under tender. After allowing to cool, scoop out the flesh as an edible mash or puree for fall recipes.
Excellent dishes featuring pumpkin puree or mash include the following:
• Classic pumpkin pie
• Pumpkin macadamia nut cookies
• Pumpkin spice bread or gingerbread
• Pumpkin bread pudding
• Pumpkin chocolate truffles
• Pumpkin curry or chutney
• Pumpkin butter spread
• Spicy pumpkin glaze (for meats)
• Ginger-pumpkin jelly or marmalade
• Comfort-food pumpkin soup
• Pumpkin hummus
• Pumpkin risotto
• Pumpkin scalloped potatoes
• Quinoa and pumpkin salad
• Pumpkin waffles or pancakes
• Pumpkin smoothies
• Spiced pumpkin latte
• Pumpkin juice
• Pumpkin liquor
• Pumpkin holiday dip
• Pumpkin cornbread muffins or pretzels
• Pumpkin pretzels
• Homemade pumpkin dog treats
2. Create DIY Pumpkin Decorations
What better way to reuse a Halloween decoration than to create inviting seasonal decor? Pumpkins naturally complement fall textures and shades, providing the perfect raw material for indoor and outdoor decorations. For example, you can remove the top from the pumpkin and carve two adjacent holes near the opening to create a natural bird feeder. Fill the pumpkin with bird seed, loop string through the holes, and hang it from a friendly branch or outdoor plant hanger. If you prefer squirrels, fill the pumpkin with nuts and leave it closer to the ground to attract your furry friends.
Other DIY pumpkin decoration ideas include the following:
• Pumpkin potpourri holder
• Pumpkin candy bowl or snack-o’-lantern
• Pumpkin decorative snowmen, scarecrows, or rag dolls
• Pumpkin coffee-table centerpiece
• Pumpkin garden planter
• Pumpkin walkway fixture
As you can imagine, pumpkins are ideal containers for fall greenery. Simply line the inside of a hollowed pumpkin with weed fabric. Fill it with dark plant soil to grow pansies, flowering kale, ornamental peppers, and beautiful mums.
3. Make Pumpkin Compost
In addition to reusing a pumpkin as a planter to display this year’s fall flower arrangements, you can also use the pumpkin to create compost for next year’s vegetable or flower garden. Slice the pumpkin into tiny pieces and add it to your existing compost pile or bury them within the rich soil beneath your garden bed. Alternate between moist soil and dried pumpkin pieces, making sure to add a nitrogen source for microbial decomposition. If you would rather donate your pumpkin, many communities offer curbside compost pickup or neighborhood compost bins. Contact your homeowners’ association (HOA) or local waste management control to ask about environmentally friendly ways to donate your pumpkin.
4. Take a Pumpkin “Spa Day”
Natural beauty solutions are all the rage in contemporary grooming and personal care. Rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, pumpkin makes an excellent addition to your fall beauty routine. These rich nutrients help to revive dry winter skin to reveal a glowing new you – just beneath the surface.
Use up your leftover pumpkin in any of the following homemade skin care ideas:
• Pumpkin body scrub to scrub away dead skin cells
• Pumpkin face mask or face pack to plump and brighten dull skin
• Moisturizing pumpkin manicure or pedicure to soften hands and feet
Simply add pumpkin flesh or ground pumpkin into existing homemade recipes for an autumn self-care ritual that will keep you beautiful well into winter.