Did you carve a Jack-o’-lantern in the spirit of Halloween? Not everyone is comfortable throwing out their pumpkin immediately after-it seems like a waste of all that hard work and fun. For the industrious bunch, you’ll be happy to know there are a variety of ways to reuse your Halloween pumpkin and take advantage of all that orange goodness. Here are some ways to reuse your Halloween pumpkin from gardening to food to the most creative little projects.
Snack on the Seeds
So you’ve managed to hang on to your pumpkin seeds while carving. Roast the pumpkin seeds; they are great for snacking and make a great addition to salads, brownies, and candied apples. Pumpkin seeds are packed with health benefits and can help fight disease.
Make sure the seeds are clean and spread them on a cookie sheet for roasting. Bake the seeds at 300 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes and you will have a healthy crunchy snack. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, add some cinnamon or brown sugar to make the seeds sweeter. Season the seeds when they are hot, soon as they come out of the oven.
Become a Bird’s Best Friend
Create a do-it-yourself bird feeder out of a carved pumpkin. First, cut the bottom half of the pumpkin off. Next, fill the pumpkin with birdseed and place it in your garden. All the birds will be tweeting and chirping about this DIY backyard project.
Fertilize Your Garden
Your nutrient-rich pumpkin can help your spring garden if you toss it into your compost bin. This is a great idea, especially if your pumpkin is starting to rot. Make sure to remove any decorative materials and seeds.
Transform it into a Planter
A pumpkin, when reused as a planter, doubles as a fertilizer, since you can put the whole thing straight into the ground. This will fertilize your plant as the pumpkin breaks down. Creating a pumpkin planter will make a unique addition to your fall or winter garden. Simply make room for the soil and don’t forget to cut a hole on the bottom of the pumpkin to ensure drainage.
Give Your Face the Treatment it Deserves
While most people carve every single pumpkin they buy, some prefer to keep it just the way it is. The good news is that the flesh won’t have to go to waste; there are homemade beauty treatments that you can make using leftover pumpkin. Pumpkins are rich in vitamins A and C and zinc, this helps the skin heal and protects it from free radicals. It also gently dissolves dead skin cells making it the perfect ingredient for a face mask. Some people even make their own body butter using pumpkin puree.
Make a Pumpkin Puree
A popular opinion is that canned pumpkin puree is just as good as, if not better than fresh pumpkin. However, we all know that fresh is best. Make your own pumpkin puree at home using your leftover Halloween pumpkin.
First, make sure that all the stringy fibers and seeds are scraped out. Next, cut your pumpkin up into slices. Bake your pumpkin slices (with the foil side up) in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for an hour or until fork tender. Peel off the skin carefully. Pour the pumpkin into the blender and puree to make smooth. If you are planning to use your puree for a later use, store it in a freezer bag and place in the freezer.
If you love the smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven, then you will love with this pumpkin potpourri using a hollowed-out pumpkin. Using an apple corer, carve round vents on the pumpkin. Rub pumpkin pie spices and cinnamon onto the lid, or push cloves into it. Place a lit candle inside; this will liven up the house with a sweet fragrance for approximately 5 to 6 hours.
Save it for Thanksgiving
As long as your pumpkin wasn’t nibbled on by animals or damaged, it could last for a few months. This means you could reuse your pumpkin on the next holiday, Thanksgiving.
To preserve your pumpkin and maintain its shine, rub some Vaseline onto a piece of cloth and buff all over the surface. Keep your pumpkin in an area that is dry so you can use it as a centerpiece on Thanksgiving Day. You could even use your pumpkin as a flower basket or make your own hanging plants to add aesthetics to your home.
Feed Little Critters
Your neighborhood animals will love to feed on pumpkin flesh. Save some of the seeds for small animals and large birds by placing the seeds on a feeder. If you live near a farm, collect leftover pumpkin pieces and donate them to your local farmer. When sharing your pumpkins with wildlife, do not share areas that are painted, they can be toxic to animals.