Halloween has passed, and while you may be feeling a little sad to say goodbye to your adorable pumpkins, there are countless ways to recycle and repurpose them instead of simply throwing them away. Pumpkins are not only a wonderful decoration for Halloween, but they can also be transformed into something useful and beneficial for the environment. In today’s blog post, we’ve come up with 7 ideas to recycle your pumpkin after Halloween and let the holiday spirit last forever.
1.Make a Pumpkin into a Bird Feeder
Imagine watching a variety of colorful birds feasting on the remains of your pumpkin while adding a touch of natural beauty to your backyard. This DIY project involves turning your pumpkin into a bird feeder, creating a sustainable source of food for our winged friends.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own pumpkin bird feeder:
Step 1: Cut a Hole and Scoop Out the Seeds:
First, you need to cut a large hole in the top of the pumpkin, making sure it is big enough to accommodate the birdseed. You can use a knife or a saw, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Then, use a spoon or a scoop to remove all the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. You can save the seeds for roasting or discard them.
Step 2: Drill Holes and Attach a Hanger:
With a drill, make several small holes around the bottom of the pumpkin. These holes will allow any water to drain out and prevent the seed from getting wet. Next, attach a hanger to the top of the pumpkin by drilling two holes and inserting a wire or a string. Make sure the hanger is sturdy and can support the weight of the pumpkin when it is filled with birdseed.
Step 3: Fill with Birdseed and Hang the Feeder:
Finally, you can fill the pumpkin with birdseed, making sure to pack it tightly. You can use a mix of seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn, to attract a variety of birds. Hang the pumpkin bird feeder in a location that is visible from a window or a patio. Make sure it is at a height that is easy to reach and refill.
By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and functional bird feeder that will attract a wide variety of birds to your backyard.
2.Roast Pumpkin Seeds for Garden Birds
Did you know that pumpkin seeds are a favorite treat for many garden birds? Following the simple steps below, you can provide your feathered friends with a tasty and nutritious snack that will keep them coming back for more.
Step 1: Collect and Clean the Seeds
To get started, you’ll need to collect the seeds from your pumpkin. If you’ve already made a pumpkin bird feeder using the tutorial above, you can use the seeds you scooped out of the pumpkin. Then, rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water, removing any leftover pulp or strings from the pumpkin. Once the seeds are clean, spread them out on a paper towel to dry overnight.
Step 2: Roast the Seeds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and spread the seasoned seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Next, roast the seeds in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy.
Step 4: Cool and Serve
Remove the seeds from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a bowl and serve them to your garden birds. Please note: while raw, dried or roasted pumpkin seeds are great for birds, don’t offer them with salt, spices or other seasonings. These are unhealthy for birds and will only attract unwanted rodents.
3.Cut It into Pieces for Squirrels
Squirrels are another group of animals that can benefit from your leftover pumpkin. Instead of tossing it in the trash, cut it into manageable pieces and offer them as a treat to these playful creatures. Start by cutting the pumpkin in half and then into quarters. From there, remove the seeds and pulp so that the squirrels don’t have to worry about getting through the tough outer layer. Cut the pumpkin quarters into smaller sections that are easy for squirrels to carry and eat. Make sure to place the pumpkin pieces in an area that is easily accessible to squirrels but away from any dangerous predators. Finally, make sure to clean up any uneaten pumpkin pieces to prevent infestation.
4.Feed Carved Pumpkins to Chickens
If you keep chickens or have a coop nearby, consider donating your carved pumpkins to them. Chickens particularly enjoy pecking at the squishy insides of pumpkins, and their egg-laying may even benefit from the extra nutrients. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the pumpkin has been thoroughly cleaned and any seeds or stringy bits have been removed because chickens can eat pumpkin flesh, but they cannot digest the seeds or strings. Second, remember to cut the pumpkin in pieces and you can even cook them, which are easier for your feathered friends to digest. Finally, it’s important to note that carved pumpkins can start to rot quickly, so if you’re going to feed them to your chickens, do it within a day or two of carving.
5.Use It as a Natural Insect Repellent
Another way to recycle your Halloween pumpkin is to turn it into a natural insect repellent. Cut it open and place it outside near areas where insects tend to gather. The pumpkin emits a strong odor that repels bugs such as mosquitoes, flies and other insects and keeps pests away from your plants in an eco-friendly way. So if you have a pumpkin leftover from Halloween, consider using it to keep pesky insects at bay!
6.Use a Carved Pumpkin as a Planter
After your carved pumpkin has served its decorative purpose, you can also consider repurposing it as a planter for small plants or herbs. By adding potting soil and seedling to your hollowed-out pumpkin, you can create an enchanting focal point for your garden or home while reducing waste. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Choose a pumpkin
To get started, select a pumpkin that is large enough to hold your plant and has a wide enough opening to easily plant the flowers or herbs. It is best to choose a pumpkin that has a flat bottom so it can sit securely on a surface.
Step 2: Prepare the pumpkin
Cut off the top of the pumpkin with a sharp knife and remove the seeds and pulp from the inside. Then, fill the pumpkin with potting soil, leaving enough room for your plant to fit inside. It’s highly recommended to use a plastic liner or container to hold the soil in place and prevent the pumpkin from rotting.
Step 3: Plant your flowers or herbs
Place your plant inside the pumpkin and add more soil around it to secure it in place. Make sure the plant is well-watered and receives enough sunlight to thrive. Once your pumpkin planter is complete, place it in a sunny spot like your front porch, garden or anywhere else you’d like to add a touch of autumnal charm.
7.Donate It to a Local Charity
Finally, if you have no personal use for your leftover pumpkin, consider donating it to a local charity or wildlife rehabilitation center. Many organizations gladly accept fresh produce donations. By doing so, you can ensure that your pumpkin gets a second chance, benefiting those in need instead of ending up in a landfill. Especially during the fall and winter months when food sources may become scarce for wildlife, and these used pumpkins can help them survive. Additionally, carved pumpkins can attract animals to safe feeding areas, away from roads and other dangerous areas. It’s a win-win solution for both the animals and the environment.