5 Things to Do with Your Pumpkins After Halloween
If you’re finally coming off that Halloween sugar high and wondering what to do with your pumpkins as we hurtle toward Thanksgiving, you’re not alone. Whether you’re staring into the face of your beautifully carved Jack-o-lantern or just need to streamline your uncarved pumpkin decor, you don’t want to just throw them in the trash. But what are the alternatives? Here at Calcagni Real Estate, we’ve compiled 5 things to do with your pumpkins after Halloween. The best part? These tips take the fright out of generating more waste. Read on for more!
Baking is better with pumpkin
What’s better than a pumpkin spice latte? Baked goods made with real pumpkin! On its own, pumpkin is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to WebMD, pumpkin “offers a long list of nutrients that protect and support the heart, such as vitamins A, B1, B6, and C, copper, fiber, folate, and manganese. Pumpkin provides calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which can help keep your heartbeat regular and your blood pressure low. The fiber in pumpkin can also play a part in lowering blood pressure as well as cholesterol.”
While we can’t claim that sugary baked goods with pumpkin are the pillar of a healthy diet, plain pumpkin puree can be healthy and delicious when layered with plain yogurt, fruit, nuts, and a drizzle of honey. Because of its mild taste, it’s also excellent in smoothies–just add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice for a latte-like flavor without the added sugar! Or, try this smoothie recipe with pumpkin, ginger, and cardamom for an out-of-this-world vegan treat.
And of course, when it comes to baking, pumpkin adds wonderful texture and moisture to the sweet and spicy baked goods that are a hallmark of this time of year. Once you’ve made your 2 ingredient pumpkin puree, you can bake up a pumpkin loaf using this recipe if you don’t already have a family favorite.
One quick but very important note: If you’re going to eat your pumpkins, you want to eat ONLY the pumpkins that you haven’t carved. It’s not safe to eat pumpkins that have been opened up and exposed to the elements, bugs, and any food-borne germs that may occur after two hours of being left out. Ditto for pumpkins that have been drawn or painted on with non-food grade markers or paints–these should not be consumed as food. Otherwise, enjoy the pumpkin bounty that awaits!
Use as bird feeders (or chipmunk feeders, squirrel feeders…)
So you can’t eat your Jack-o-lantern…but guess what? All those little critters in your yard can, and they’ll be happy to do so! For larger pumpkins, you can create a festive garden planter. Fill the shell with soil and flowers (it is mum season, after all!) and put it in your garden. Your furry outdoor friends can nibble at it as they please, and whatever is leftover will naturally degrade and act as fertilizer.
For smaller pumpkins, hollow them out and stick small twigs in the sides to create perches for birds. Fill the inside with birdseed and hang it with a rope sling, and voila! A recycled pumpkin bird feeder.
Donate your pumpkins to a local shelter, farm, or zoo
Many animals enjoy eating pumpkins as much as we do, and some animal sanctuaries will actually take leftover pumpkins for the animals in their care. If you live near a farm, animal shelter, or a zoo, you can call and ask if they are taking pumpkin donations. We don’t recommend just showing up with your pumpkins, but if you get the greenlight from the farmer or caretaker, this can be a great option for what to do with your pumpkins after Halloween.
Give yourself a spa treatment
Turns out, pumpkin isn’t just good for us to eat, it’s also great for our skin! The same vitamins and minerals in pumpkin that benefit us internally work wonders topically, too. Chock full of Vitamins A and C, pumpkin delivers powerful antioxidants to skin. It may help reduce the appearance of spots and scars, and it’s incredibly soothing and hydrating–ideal for fall and winter in Connecticut! Pumpkin is also a go-to natural skincare ingredient for brightening the complexion and giving skin a beautiful glow.
To give yourself an at-home spa treatment, try some of these recipes for pumpkin face masks that target different skin concerns. You’ll need pumpkin puree as the base for all of them, and then you can adjust additional ingredients to meet your skin’s changing needs.
Compost your pumpkins
Last but not least, you can compost your pumpkins! If you’ve never composted your pumpkins before, this is a good place to start. Composting helps to eliminate food waste that exacerbates climate change–and it’s great for your garden.