Carving a pumpkin for Halloween is a tradition your family looks forward to each year. Purchasing pumpkins only to cut them up and throw them away does not seem like such a green idea, though, and you are wondering how you can enjoy an environmentally friendly Jack-o-lantern. No worries, as there are many ways to reuse a Halloween pumpkin.
A great way to reuse a Halloween pumpkin is to start before you put the Jack-o-lantern on your porch. Pumpkin seeds are a tasty and healthful snack. Scoop the seeds out of your pumpkin, rinse them thoroughly and toss them with a little oil. Spread on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt or seasonings and bake in a 350-degree oven for about half an hour. In addition, you may want to reserve a few of the seeds to save for your garden. Next year, you can grow your own little pumpkin patch and know that you are using fresh, organic pumpkins.
You can reuse a Halloween pumpkin before you carve it by scooping out the pulp, as well. Using a scoop or another sharp-edged utensil, hollow out the pumpkin. Scoop out the orange flesh down to the whitish layer between the pulp and the skin. Steam the pumpkin using a vegetable steamer for about 30 minutes. You can also place it in a microwave-safe bowl with a couple inches of water, cover and cook for 15 minutes on high. Add a little time if necessary until the pumpkin is tender. Puree the squash in your food processor or blender, or use a potato masher to mash it by hand. Use the puree in baked goods, soups or other recipes. Many vets recommend feeding pumpkin puree to dogs, as well.
Reuse a Halloween pumpkin as animal feed. If you know someone who has chickens, goats or other farm animals, offer your leftover pumpkin as a treat for their animals. Chickens and goats love pumpkins and will likely devour your leftover Jack-o-lantern with pleasure. If you do not know anyone with chickens or goats, contact your local zoo. Many zoos accept leftover pumpkins to use as treats for the wildlife there.
Finally, you can reuse a Halloween pumpkin in your garden. Cut up your Jack-o-lantern into several pieces and add it to your compost pile. No compost bin of your own? Check with your local community garden to find out whether they would like your leftover pumpkin for composting. Go to CommunityGarden.org to find one near you.