Halloween has come and gone, but the pumpkin you bought to celebrate the holiday likely has not.
There’s plenty that can be done to recycle Halloween pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns if the idea of throwing them away doesn’t seem appealing.
The fruits can be used as compost, as an ingredient in a food or drink recipe, or even served as sustenance for wildlife.
Here are seven people who have figured out what they like to do with leftover Halloween pumpkins and the four ways they give them new life.
Double Halloween pumpkin head. Cold back light, scary smiling, warm light inside head. (©Michal Napartowicz)
Make a garden compost
Gardeners can make use of leftover pumpkins by making their own compost.
Ari Parker of Phoenix, Medicare expert at Chapter, a non-government Medicare advisory company, is one gardening hobbyist who looks forward to composting pumpkins every year.
“These large gourds have a lot of flesh that offer wonderful nutrients for my backyard vegetable garden,” Parker told Fox News Digital.
Gardeners can throw pumpkins into a compost pit to fertilize soil. (iStock)
He said it’s important to remove leftover seeds or decorative materials, such as candle wax or paint, before composting a pumpkin.
“I like to slice up the pumpkin into smaller pieces which helps it break down much quicker before tossing it into my compost bin to create rich nutrients for my garden,” Parker said.
Get cooking or baking some pumpkin recipes
Some pumpkins can be used to make a delicious meal, beverage or dessert.
Michael Sanguinetti of Denver, personal and private chef with the luxury on-demand dining platform INTUEAT, warns home cooks that carved and gutted pumpkins are unsafe to eat after two hours.
“If a pumpkin was not carved or gutted, it can absolutely be used for soup, roasting, curries, pies, desserts and juicing,” he told Fox News Digital.
Kai Chase of Los Angeles, celebrity chef and owner of Creations by Kai, is a fan of roasting pumpkin seeds and making pumpkin purees to assemble festive fall recipes.
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which is easy to add to a salad or healthy meal. (iStock)
Chase turns roasted pumpkin seeds into a snack, salad topping or an addition to homemade granola.
She tends to make a savory pumpkin seed seasoning with garlic olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika or her Creations by Kai 5 Spice Habanero & Ginger Spice Blend or a sweet pumpkin seed seasoning with extra virgin olive oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon and a dash of Himalayan sea salt, Chase told Fox News Digital.
“Both recipes should be baked on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes,” Chase said.
The fall recipes that Chase makes purées for include pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, breakfast muffins and comforting soups.
Christa Brown of Woodbridge, New Jersey, a registered dietitian and owner of Christa Brown Nutrition & Wellness LLC, enjoys making pumpkin soup from scratch on holidays and she does her prep work well in advance.
“I use my leftover pumpkins to create purée for my delicious Thanksgiving Pumpkin Soup,” Brown told Fox News Digital. “I halve the pumpkin, then quarter it, so I can easily scoop out the flesh to blend in a food processor. I freeze the purée until I’m ready to use it in time for Thanksgiving.”
Uncarved pumpkins can be used in food and drink recipes. (iStock)
Janice Bartley of Toronto, founder of Foodpreneur Lab, a nonprofit focused on advancing racial and gender equity for Canadian food entrepreneurs, likes to use leftover pumpkins to make pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup and pumpkin smoothies.
“Pumpkins are so versatile this time of year and we should use what we have,” Bartley told Fox News Digital. “I think we can do so much more than discard them after Halloween. Why not reduce waste?”
Take pumpkins to a zoo or farm
Leftover pumpkins can be donated to zoos throughout the country.
Hector Ruiz of Winter Park, Florida, president and founder of BBQ Grill Academy, likes to donate pumpkins to zoos, petting zoos and family farms because he enjoys lending a hand to local organizations and small businesses.
“There are other recycling options, but I prefer donating my pumpkins to a zoo, animal farm or local petting zoo in my area because I know I am helping organizations that rely on community members and donations to operate,” Ruiz told Fox News Digital.
Some zoos feed Halloween pumpkins to animals or provide them for enrichment. (iStock)
“The pumpkins can be fed to some of the animals, and local petting zoos will occasionally use them in their compost piles,” he continued. “I like the idea that after a few weeks of enjoying the pumpkins, I can donate and help organizations with such a modest donation.”
Give pumpkins to a compost expert
Don’t know how to compost? Then give leftover pumpkins to an organization or company that specializes in handling organic material.
Old pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns can be composted on a larger scale by a professional organics service provider. (iStock)
Jeremy Walters of Henderson, Nevada, sustainability ambassador at Republic Services, a Phoenix-based environmental service, said whole pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns can be composted, so it can be used as plant fertilizer.
“If you’re unsure if you have organics services available to you, contact your local environmental services provider to learn about composting options in your area,” Walters told Fox News Digital.
Cortney Moore is an associate lifestyle writer on the Lifestyle team at Fox News Digital.