Pumpkin carving is one of the longest running Halloween traditions around.
Originating in early 19th century Ireland where ‘Jack-O’-Lanterns’ were created to frighten away wandering evil spirits and the legend of Stingy Jack.
Ever since then, families would go to their local patch – or, more recently, local supermarket – and pick out the biggest pumpkins to take home and carve out in the spookiest way possible.
But when November arrives, and our lanterns have had a few days out in the elements, we need to find a way to dispose of them without just throwing them in the bin.
So, we’ve come up with five creative ways to re-use your pumpkin this year.
Food for wildlife
While a week-old pumpkin may not be up to standard for us to take in and have for dinner, they can still be a delicious source of food for any local wildlife such as hedgehogs, squirrels or deer.
Simply cut it into bite-sized chunks and either put it towards the back of your garden or take it to a local park and dispose of it there.
Being a fruit, pumpkin is also biodegradable, so any pieces that aren’t picked up by larger animals will simply degrade into the ground for insects and worms to feast on.
Pumpkin bird feeder
Sticking with the wildlife theme, smaller pumpkins can make great bird feeders.
All you need is a place to hang it from or a platform high enough to place it on, then fill it with any seeds (including the pumpkin seeds you hollowed out last week) and bird food.
This can be a great way to introduce your kids to different species of birds or other small animals as they come to visit your garden.
With the inside of the pumpkin already hollowed out and the top removed, all you need to do for this one is drill a small hole at the bottom for drainage.
Then, fill with potting soil and plant your favourite plants inside.
Once your pumpkin begins to rot, place it in the ground and cover it up – the fruit will act as a natural fertiliser and help the plants grow.
Have the seeds for yourself
Pumpkin seeds are packed full of good stuff such as healthy fats, magnesium and zinc to support and improve heart health and protection against certain types of cancer.
Just pop them into a sieve, rinse them under cold water and pull away any pulp, then you can simply boil them in water before tossing with olive oil and roasting for a light snack.
Alternatively, with a few extra bits you can knock up a delicious pumpkin dip; perfect for impressing the family at dinner time – here’s a brilliant recipe by BuzzFeed Canada:
Smash it up and let nature take its course
One of the most entertaining ways to dispose of your pumpkin – and also eco-friendly if done right – is to just smash it to pieces.
Much like with the first option, all you need to do is ensure the remnants are in an area where they can be food for wildlife or can fertilise the soil.
You can get stuck in yourself or, more spectacularly, stuff it with fireworks and let them to the work – just stand back!