10 Ideas To Reuse And Recycle Halloween Pumpkins For A Zero Waste Lifestyle
I can still remember to this day the annual Halloween party that my aunt used to throw for all the cousins every year. We would all dress up and do crafts, bob for apples, and ultimately carve our own pumpkin. The feel of an odd sort of glee as I scooped out the pumpkin guts with my hands still lingers in my mind today.
Do you have happy carving memories from your childhood? Do you make this an annual occasion with your own children? Truth be told, due to our crazy life situation these last few years, we have been lucky to even have a pumpkin or two on our door step come Halloween, let alone a jack-o-lantern. This year, however; we are going to really try and celebrate this Halloween a bit more.
Recently I got to thinking about all the different recipes I could make with these pumpkins once we were done with the fun. I also came across an article reporting that the US Department of Energy declares that Halloween pumpkins are adding hundreds of millions of tons of waste in the landfills. The worst part in this is the fact that when these pumpkins decompose they actually release methane which is very harmful for our environment.
So what can we do to make sure that we can have fun and celebrate Halloween without making a negative impact on our environment? For starters, we can be sure to buy only what we need. We can next find multiple ways to reuse and recycle these pumpkins when the calendar flips to November. And lastly, we can find ways to more responsibly dispose of these pumpkins other than in the garbage. Here are a few tips and ideas I came up with in my research. I am excited to given them all a try and I hope you are too!
Keep It Simple
For the ability to reuse as much of your pumpkin as possible, keep your decorations relatively simple. What I mean by this is trying to avoid using pain, glue, glitter, etc. Anything that may make your pumpkin inedible should be avoided if possible
Wait To Carve
To help your pumpkin avoid early decomposition, try to wait to carve it until very close to Halloween. This way it does not have time to rot prior to reusing it.
Eat The Seeds
Just like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds can be a nice satisfying snack. The great thing is that you can season them a variety of ways to come up with many different flavors. You can roast up a basic and tasty recipe or mix things up with various combinations.
Treat Yourself To A Facial
Using the flesh (inside) of the pumpkin you can make a pumpkin puree which can be used as a base for many face masks. To easily puree your pumpkin, cut the pumpkin just as you would a butternut squash, boil it until soft, then blend the softened chunks. Pumpkin face masks are known to brighten and smooth skin while also promoting new cell turnover and integrity due to its antioxidant components. This mask uses oatmeal for extra soothing and exfoliation and this mask uses honey and lemon as well for extra brightening and moisture.
Cook With The “Meat”
Just like for the face masks, the inner flesh of the pumpkin can be cooked and added into fresh and delicious recipes. The pumpkin can be cubed just like butternut squash, or it can be boiled and pureed. Some great recipe ideas include Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Alfredo, Pumpkin Curry, and Pumpkin Soup.
Turn The Guts Into Stock
As gross as this sounds, the stringy “guts” of the pumpkin can be mixed with vegetables and seasonings for a delicious stock recipe.
Turn Pumpkin Skin Into Chips
You can carefully separate the skin of the pumpkin from the flesh by using a pairing knife. Due to the tough texture of the pumpkin, a vegetable peeler will likely not be successful in this task. Once you have the skin removed you can season it, then dehydrate it or roast it for a crunchy snack!
Add To The Compost Pile
If you or a friendly neighbor has a compost simply add your pumpkin to the pile! Be sure to cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces however to help speed up the decomposition.
Feed The Friendly Creatures
If you live in a rural, wooded, or animal prone area; leave your pumpkin out for furry and feathered friends to dine on. Be sure to cut the pumpkin in small pieces so that there is plenty to go around! After all the little creatures have had their fill, you can proceed with recycling the remainder by composting as mentioned above.
Preserve And Decorate
If you do not have excessive carving in your pumpkins you can preserve them and then use them for table or home decor. Using this method, clean and preserve your pumpkins to prevent decay and use them as a vase for flowers or as part of a table centerpiece for Thanksgiving. After the holidays you can then compost the pumpkins!
I hope you feel inspired to try and reuse those Halloween pumpkins as much as possible this year after making some memories with your littles! Happy Fall everyone!
Looking for more Zero Waste inspired posts? Check out my Eco Friendly Back To School List