Posted on 26 Oct 2022
Last year — according to the National Retail Federation — almost half of American households bought a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. Colorado comes in at #16 in state rankings for pumpkin growing, with patches sprouting up all over the state come autumn. Pumpkins are the undisputed stars of fall decoration — but after Halloween ends, you might be wondering what to do with that sagging gourd on your front porch. Read on for five ways to repurpose your pumpkins when October turns to November.
Save the seeds!
Pumpkin seeds can be a delicious seasonal snack! For a crunchy autumn treat, scoop pumpkin seeds out of the gourd and rinse the sticky inner bits off in a colander before laying the seeds out on a paper towel to dry completely. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, drizzle the seeds with a neutral oil like vegetable or avocado oil, and season to taste. Pumpkin seeds shine in sweet applications with brown sugar and cinnamon, or savory ones with salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Bake seeds for half an hour until crisp, crunchy, and delicious.
Plant them for next year
This year’s pumpkin could become next year’s backyard pumpkin patch! To plant pumpkin seeds, harvest them from your pumpkin and rinse them off. After rinsing, lay seeds out on a paper towel for three to four weeks to completely dry out. Select the biggest seeds to save for planting: They’ll have the best chance of successful germination. Save bigger seeds in a labeled envelope until early summer. Plant the seeds between May and June in soil about an inch deep, with the pointed end of the seed facing down. Be sure to give each seed plenty of space, as pumpkins require about five feet of room to reach their full growing potential.
Recycling for the win
After Halloween, don’t just throw old pumpkins away — compost them! Pumpkins are almost 90% water, so they decompose quickly. Even if you don’t have a home compost bin, there are still ways to compost locally. Denver area residents can drop off pumpkins and fall leaves in recyclable bags at free LeafDrop locations through December 2. Find your closest drop-off location and break out the rake to clear your yard and prevent needless waste at the landfill —- it’s a win-win!
Feed furry friends
Squirrels and other backyard wildlife love to munch on pumpkins, much to the consternation of homeowners prior to Halloween. After October rolls into November, let your backyard critters snack on your leftovers to their heart’s content. Cut pumpkins into smaller pieces and place them around your porch or yard: Just be sure to clear pumpkins of candles, wax, and other inedible debris first. Neighborhood squirrels, birds, and even deer will thank you!
Pumpkins can have other uses besides scaring children on Halloween —- they can be turned into a fun kids’ game or a vase!
Create a game for your kiddos by hollowing your pumpkin, then toss bean bags into it from a distance like a simpler cornhole board. A pumpkin’s round and hollow shape also makes it a perfect DIY flower vase. Simply cut your pumpkin horizontally near the top and scoop out the insides with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Then, place floral foam in the bottom of the popcorn and arrange flowers inside it.
Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean your pumpkin needs to rot in a landfill! You can give your gourd new life with these five fun tips. For more seasonal lifestyle inspiration check out our blog, or take a look at the gorgeous Shea Homes front porches these pumpkins could grace for years to come.