Halloween pumpkins are an integral part of your fall decor, but what are you supposed to do when the spooky festivities are over and you set your sights on the winter holidays? When the time comes to pack up your cackling witches, spooky skeletons and faux spider webs, you’ll also have to figure out what to do with leftover pumpkins.
Whether you carved your pumpkin into a classic smiling jack-o’-lantern or just painted it to look like Chase from “Paw Patrol,” you might be wondering what you should do with your squash post-Halloween. (Surprise botany lesson: The word “pumpkin” actually has no meaning in the botanical world. Technically, all pumpkins are actually squash.)
Here’s the good news: Even once the best holiday of the year is over, there are tons of awesome and even delicious things you can do with your pumpkin masterpieces. Consider these cool ideas:
1. Pickle The Rind
Did you know you could prepare pickled pumpkin rinds from the peels of your pumpkin? (Say that three times fast!) Well, you can, and it’s delicious. But this idea is only good if you carved your pumpkin recently. You don’t want to try this project with a pumpkin that was carved more than a couple of days ago, or a pumpkin that is showing any signs of rot or decay.
To try this cool idea, peel off the outer layer of your jack-o’-lantern with a veggie peeler. Now, slice the rind (the inch-thick section right under the skin) off the pumpkin. Then, you pickle these scrumptious scrapes in a brine with sugar, salt and white wine vinegar. Some recipes also call for cinnamon or other fall flavors. This clever recipe from Arctic Grub uses ginger, allspice berries and a whole chili pepper for an extra dash of heat!
2. Compost That Bad Boy
Whether you live in a city with compost pickup or you do your own backyard composting, make sure to toss that jack-o’-lantern in with all of your veggie scraps. It makes for perfect composting and it ensures that your pumpkin goes to good use, even after the ghouls and goblins say goodbye for another year.
3. Bury Your Pumpkin
If you don’t compost, don’t worry: You can still make good use of your carved pumpkin. Just bury your pumpkin in your garden, as it will decompose and enrich your soil. Bonus points if you do this burial late at night and give your neighbors one last Halloween scare. “What are they burying?! Is that a grave? What is going on out there?”
4. Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Pumpkin Guts
If you didn’t carve your pumpkin, then you have a ton of awesome options for post-Halloween fun — as long as your pumpkin is still fresh and hasn’t been picked open by wild critters. If it’s good to eat, you can make everything from homemade pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin butter to pumpkin soup!
Just make sure the kids don’t mind if you steal their carefully-chosen pumpkin to scrub yo’self. Eh, you deserve it!