Here’s What to Do with Your Pumpkins After Halloween

Your kids will love to help chuck the leftover pumpkins!

It’s fall and that means we’re breaking out the apple cider, maple-flavored everything and of course—pumpkins. We’re ordering up PSLs, baking up pumpkin pies and, of course, carving jack-o’-lanterns for the front porch. You can learn how to preserve pumpkins to make sure the gourds don’t immediately slump into a sad, rotten mess. But once Halloween is over and trick-and-treating is done, what to do with the leftover pumpkins?

This is how long pumpkins will last.

The Best Way to Recycle Pumpkins

Your pumpkins are now soft, dull and falling apart. While this doesn’t make great decor for your front porch, you don’t have to toss them into the trash. It turns out your old pumpkins are perfectly suited to being food for hungry woodland creatures!

If you’re feeling friendly, leave them out in the backyard for birds and other wildlife. If you have an open field or a patch of woods nearby, ask the owner for permission to drop off your old pumpkins. Your local deer and other wildlife will thank you. (Just make sure you break ’em open first so hungry deer won’t get their heads stuck inside.)

You can find other ways to recycle your pumpkins, too! Scoop out the seeds to roast for a snack or replant next year. You can also turn them into planters or bird feeders. And if you really can’t find any use for them, compost the old pumpkins yourself or ask around the neighborhood to see if a local garden might have use for them.

Why Should I Recycle Pumpkins?

Pumpkins take up a lot of space in our landfills, adding about 900,000 tons to the 1.3 billion tons of global food waste created each year, according to the World Economic Forum. They also emit methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

So recycling your pumpkins is more environmentally friendly and will make your local wildlife happy. There are simply no downsides—except maybe a little extra effort for a whole lotta good.

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.