Pumpkins are a Halloween staple in our house. Each of our girls gets to pick out her own pumpkin and design how she wants it to be carved (or painted!). It’s one of their favorite traditions and they look forward to it every year. But when the holiday is over, we find ourselves with three pumpkins on our hands.
And it brings us to the same question every year – what do you do with the leftover pumpkin after Halloween is over?
Did you know that every year, 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin end up in landfills? That’s a lot of pumpkin! And it’s such a shame because there are so many ways that you can repurpose your pumpkin after Halloween is over.
Here are five fun ideas for using your leftover Halloween pumpkin instead of just tossing it in the trash.
Use a painted or uncarved pumpkin to cook with!
Pumpkin is such a versatile veggie, so a great way to use that leftover Halloween pumpkin is to cook or bake with it! You can roast the seeds or make pumpkin puree to use in baking or cooking. If your pumpkin is uncarved, simply scoop out the insides and give it a good wash. If it’s painted, you may want to give it a light sanding or peel the skin to remove any paint that might be flaking off. Once it’s clean, slice it up and roast it in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
You can also use fresh pumpkin puree in all sorts of recipes. Once roasted, puree it in a blender or food processor, and use it in place of canned pumpkin in any recipe. We love to make pumpkin pancakes, muffins, pies, and even pasta with our leftover pumpkins!
Most carving pumpkins are not your most flavorful option (red kuri squash and sugar pumpkins often offer better flavor and texture) but they are edible and it’s a great way to reduce pumpkin waste!
Check out some of our favorite pumpkin recipes!
Turn uncarved pumpkins into a floral centerpiece
Uncarved pumpkins make beautiful and unique floral centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table or just as a nice decoration for fall. Simply cut the top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Then arrange your favorite fall flowers inside. We love using mums, dahlias, and sunflowers in our pumpkin centerpieces.
If you want your arrangement to last longer, you can also use a carved pumpkin as a vase. Just add a few inches of water to the bottom of the pumpkin and arrange your flowers as usual.
And if you really want to get fancy, you can even carve a design into the side of your pumpkin vase to hold the stems of your flowers in place. We’ve seen people carve everything from geometric shapes to flower designs into their pumpkins. It’s a fun way to make your arrangement even more unique.
Add leftover Halloween pumpkins to your compost pile
Pumpkins are a great addition to your compost pile. They’re rich in nutrients that will help to break down other organic matter in your compost and add some much-needed nutrients to your garden soil. Simply add your pumpkin scraps (including the seeds if you don’t roast them) to your compost pile and let nature do its thing. Just be sure to chop them up into small pieces before adding them to your pile.
Turn your carved pumpkin into an eco-friendly birdfeeder
If you carved a design into your pumpkin, you can turn it into an eco-friendly birdfeeder! Just add a few holes to the base of your pumpkin and thread some twine through them. Then tie the twine to a tree branch or other structure and voila – instant birdfeeder. You can fill your pumpkin with birdseed, fruit, or other food scraps, like stale bread. Just be sure to empty it out and clean it out regularly to prevent mold and bacteria from building up.
This is a super fun activity to do with your kids as well. Not only does it help them learn how to get innovative and reuse materials, but it also helps them develop problem-solving skills.
And as an added bonus, they’ll love watching the birds come to eat from their very own pumpkin birdfeeder!
Take your leftover Halloween pumpkin to a local farm
If you have a local farm or petting zoo nearby, you can take your pumpkin to them to feed their animals. Most farms are happy to accept pumpkins (and other vegetables) as animal feed for their pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals. Just be sure to call ahead to see if the farm is accepting pumpkins before you make the trip. This is a great way to reduce food waste and give back to your local community at the same time!
Do you have other ideas for reusing your leftover Halloween pumpkins? We’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments!