Here are five ideas you can use to make the most of your leftover pumpkins after Halloween so they don't go to waste
Spooky season is finally upon us, so you’ll likely be looking for fun and eco-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween.
Of course, a classic way to mark this time of year is by carving a pumpkin, which is a great creative activity your whole family can get involved with. However, if you aren’t mindful, it can also create a lot of waste, which we don’t really want.
We actually have a huge food waste problem here in the UK, with homes throwing away around 7.3 million tonnes of food and drink each year. And over a quarter of our Halloween pumpkins end up in the bin — this accounts for around 18,000 tonnes (Suffolk Recycling).
So, how can you make the most of the pumpkins you buy and carve this year to ensure you aren’t contributing to the issue?
Here, Scott Hawthorne from the waste management company SkipsAndBins.com shares his top tips for making the most of your pumpkins this Halloween, so nothing goes to waste.
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Make some pumpkin-based meals
The best way to avoid creating food waste is by finding ways to cook tasty meals with the ingredients you have. And, in this case, you’re going to have a lot of pumpkin on hand. You can use almost every part of your pumpkins to make some delicious snacks and meals for your family, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Of course, when you’re preparing to carve your pumpkin, you’ll scoop out all the insides, which includes lots of large seeds. These are full of vitamins and fibre, so it would be a shame to throw them away.
Instead, why not roast them? Just clean them off, boil them for 10 minutes to soften, toss them with some oil and some spices of your choice, then lay them on a baking sheet to roast on low for 45 minutes. You can then snack on them throughout the week.
The pumpkin itself can be used in a whole host of fantastic recipes. It can be grated into cake mixtures, diced and added to pasta, blended to make soup, and chopped up to be thrown into a curry.
Vegan Food & Living actually have 20 vegan pumpkin recipes you can take plenty of inspiration from, too.
Use it for more autumnal crafts
While carving your pumpkin for Halloween is the obvious choice of craft, these squashes can actually be used in lots of other ways to create seasonal centrepieces and decorations.
For example, you could paint an autumnal theme around the outside, or fill one with lots of crisp leaves to create a cute and colourful ornament for your mantelpiece or bookshelf.
If you would like to support the wildlife in your garden with the pumpkins you’ve bought for Halloween, another great idea is to create birdfeeders out of them. Simply add some string to your pumpkin so you can hang it from a tree or fence post, then put plenty of bird seed inside.
You might also want to check that there are big enough holes carved into the front so birds will be able to get in. You could even cut one big circle into the front to give them a clear entry point.
Feed it to the animals in your garden
Unfortunately, during the colder months, local wildlife like foxes, squirrels, and badgers might struggle to find food. So, if you want to support them, leaving food in your garden can be a great move.
Pumpkin can be perfect for this, as most animals will love to eat it, and it contains plenty of the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy throughout autumn and winter.
If you do decide to leave your pumpkins outside for animals to eat, make life as easy as possible for them by chopping it up into cubes. Just make sure you dispose of any candles responsibly and that your pumpkin cubes don’t have any paint on them, as this could be toxic to the animals you’re looking to feed.
Create some fun face masks
Pumpkin is often used as an ingredient in skincare, as it has so many benefits. It contains retinoic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E that will all help to give you the glowing skin you might have been looking for. So, when you’re deciding what to do with your pumpkins this year, consider putting some aside to make a DIY face mask.
There are lots of recipes you can try, depending on what kinds of results you’re looking for. If you’d like to try your hand at making your own, this DIY pumpkin oat face mask is perfect for an autumnal pampering session.
Add it to your compost heap
If you’ve left your carved pumpkin outside for a few days, it might be past its best, and the only course of action might be to throw it away. But you can still do this in a responsible way.
Composting is going to be the most effective and eco-friendly way of doing this, so why not start your own heap if you haven’t already? Even if you don’t have outdoor space, you can now buy kitchen composters that you keep inside, and then you could use the resulting compost to nurture your houseplants.
If you already have a compost heap, or know someone who does, simply chop up your pumpkin and throw it in. It’ll make a great addition.
So many pumpkins go to waste at this time of year, but yours don’t have to. If you’re passionate about the environment, it’s a good idea to look for ways that you can reduce your household’s food waste, and the tips in this article will help to ensure that you aren’t contributing to the problem this Halloween.
Don’t let your pumpkins go to waste, use them to make these tasty pumpkin recipes.