After every holiday, I do my best to save the decorations and use them the following year. Unfortunately, I can’t do this with my Halloween jack-o-lanterns, so the last few years I’ve used these reusable craft pumpkins instead.
But if you are a fan of the “the real thing” . . . here are a few clever ways that you can use old pumpkins, even after they’ve been carved!
Fertilize Your Garden
If your pumpkin is looking sad and starting to rot, this is a great use for it! Just smash your pumpkin (or chop it up, if it’s not quite soft) and mix the bits into your garden. They will break down and provide nutrients in the soil. Be sure to remove the old candle, any melted wax, and all the seeds – or you just might grow pumpkins next year. 🙂
Feed the Birds
Just cut the bottom half of the pumpkin off, and fill it with birdseed! You can learn how to make a custom bird seed blend here. Just minutes after we set the pumpkin out, we saw a new bird in the yard! I think he enjoyed his festive treat. 🙂
Make a Stamp
Using a sharp knife, cut simple shapes out of the pumpkin’s flesh. You’ll want to cut about an inch from the inside of the pumpkin, to reveal a less stringy texture that stamps much better! I just used some gold craft paint on a white tea towel, and I love the results!
You can plant flowers inside your old pumpkin, and then bury the whole pumpkin! It will break down in the soil eventually, leaving the flowers to grow in fertilized soil. 🙂
If you live near wildlife, you can leave the pumpkin out for critters. If you care for chickens or other farm animal, they’ll be excited about the new treat, too! Just be sure not to share any moldy pumpkins.
If you want to show off your jack-o-lantern for a few more days, rub the inside down with cinnamon and poke a few cloves in the flesh. Light a candle inside and enjoy the autumn scent!
Home brewing is taking off, and making your own pumpkin ale is a great way to get in on the trend. Pumpkin ale may sound strange, but it was reportedly a traditional beer ingredient in colonial times.
No part of your pumpkin has to go to waste — you can even use the peel to make a pickle. The pickles are a great way to add both sweetness and bite to salads and sandwiches.
If you don’t necessarily want to do anything practical with your pumpkin…why not just have some fun?! If you’ve got ambition, and some free time, you can use it to make a catapult or a pumpkin slingshot and send your Halloween leftovers on a farewell flight!
What do you do with your leftover pumpkins?