By Izaiah Hill
What to do with your pumpkin after Halloween
It’s November 1st, Halloween has passed and now you have 1, or maybe more, pumpkins that are starting to decompose on your doorstep. You don’t want to just throw it out, because it would head to a landfill where it will be wasted. So what should you do with it?
Why you shouldn’t throw it away…
Throwing a pumpkin in the garbage is a waste, but it is also much worse for the climate crisis. This is because when food breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen), it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than CO2, thus contributing to the heat-trapping effect of greenhouse gases. Pumpkins can be used for fertilizer, food, decoration, and more, so why waste something so useful?
What can you do with your pumpkin instead?
If you do not want to use any part of your pumpkin, the easiest thing to do would be to compost it. Pumpkins are made up of 90% water, so they decompose quite quickly. You can do this if you have a backyard compost bin, or if your city has a composting program. Another option is finding a local farm or zoo that will collect your pumpkins to feed to their animals. This is more common than you think! It is important to note that trying to feed it to animals yourself may cause issues. If you throw it in your backyard, it will likely attract many different kinds of animals, creating a sort of hub that can spread disease and cause injury. It could also cause some animals to develop a reliance on introduced food, so it is best to give it to somebody with animals that already depend on being fed by humans.
A fun thing you can do with your leftover pumpkins is to turn them into a natural decorative planter. This is done by simply filling the pumpkin with soil and adding a plant. After a few days, or right away, you can plant the entire pumpkin in the ground and it will act as a fertilizer for the plant as it grows. This option works best if you live somewhere warm, but the pumpkin can still be cut up and used as fertilizer in other ways if you do not. One final option is to eat it. This option works best if your pumpkin is still somewhat fresh. The seeds can be separated from the guts and roasted to make a tasty crunchy treat, or the flesh can be used to make baked goods like pumpkin pie or muffins.
Overall, there are many uses for a pumpkin after its life on your front porch. By not throwing it in a landfill you are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and you are reducing waste, which is always a great action you can take. Consider one of the options above before you decide to send your pumpkin to the landfill this halloween.