After Halloween, recycle your pumpkins!

Posted on October 29, 2021

On November 1st, don't let your Halloween pumpkins end up in a landfill... recycle them instead! Here are some great ways to give yesterday’s decorations a new, second life that benefits your garden and your local wildlife.

  1. If you’ve carved your pumpkins, they might be getting a little soft by now. Pumpkins are 90% water, so they start to decompose quickly once you cut into them. If this is the case, the best thing to do is compost them. You can do this even without a compost bin. Find a spot in your yard that’s not heavily trafficked—a sunny spot is best. We like to do this in our vegetable garden. Important: if you don’t want pumpkins growing all over the place in that spot, you need to remove the seeds (but save them for tips number 2 and 3!) from your pumpkin. Now the fun part: place the seeded pumpkin in your chosen spot, and smash it! Next, cover it with leaves, and let nature go to work. Worms will turn it into compost that will nourish your soil.

  2. Now, what to do with all those seeds? Well, lots of birds and small mammals like squirrels will eat them… so put them out for your local critters to snack on. Put them in a platform feeder, or mix them in with birdseed you put in your regular bird feeder.

  3. Or, plant the seeds! Pumpkin flowers are great food sources for beneficial pollinators, and next year you’ll have your own pumpkins to carve.

  4. If your pumpkin is still pretty intact, get crafty and make a feeder out of it! Here’s a video showing an easy way to do this. Be sure not to overfill—there should only be enough seed for the birds to eat in a few days, otherwise it will begin to spoil.
  5. The flesh of your pumpkins is a healthy snack for lots of animals, including birds, squirrels, fox and deer. Cut your pumpkins up into bite-sized pieces and scatter them in your yard. Note: if your pumpkins have already begun degrading, it’s best to compost them instead.

As a bonus, we offer you this video of Teddy Bear the porcupine snacking on pumpkins. It is essential that you have the sound ON. You’re welcome.

Happy Halloween!