Once Halloween is over, you’ll want to get that pumpkin off your
porch, before it turns into a pile of moldy orange slime. But your decorative efforts don't necessarily have to meet their end in a trash can. There are
better, more eco-friendly (and fun) ways to dispose of that jack-o-lantern.
Launch it: Round up your neighbors and have a
pumpkin catapult contest! When you join forces with the other families on the
block, you’ll probably find all the needed tools and materials to build the launcher in just a few hours. Organize a block party of the big event. Offer prizes for the person whose pumpkin flies
Grow it: If you have a compost pile and an
uncarved pumpkin, turn it into next year's self-seeding pumpkin patch. First get rid of any candles, wax or
paint on the pumpkin. Then — and this is the fun part — smash it into the
compost pile. Gently work the compost into the pumpkin flesh, then leave it uncovered over the winter. Start to water it occasionally in the spring, and new pumpkin seedlings will begin to sprout! Some of the biggest and most beautiful
pumpkins I’ve ever grown have come from growing them this way. (If you’d rather
not have volunteer pumpkins on your compost pile, you can still compost the jack-o-lantern after its seeds have all been
Eat it: When carving your jack-o-lantern,
save all the extra pumpkin flesh and the seeds. Roast the seeds in the oven, and make pumpkin puree with any useable pumpkin flesh. The
flesh of the jack-o-lantern itself can also be used to make pumpkin puree, if you cook it within 24 hours of carving. Be sure to remove any softened or moldy
flesh, plus any smoke burns, wax or paint.
Feed it: Create a wildlife pumpkin feeding
station. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and many types of birds love to eat raw pumpkin. Even caterpillars and butterflies love to eat pumpkin
flesh. To create your backyard
pumpkin snack station, first remove any moldy or soft parts of the pumpkin, then
spread pumpkin pieces on a low flat platform on the ground. Or you can secure
individual pieces of pumpkin to a tree with twine. Offer water with the pumpkin to make it
even more irresistible.