5 Ways to Recycle Your Halloween Pumpkin

Eco-friendly options for your jack-o-lanterns
Topview shot of pumpkins in various colors and sizes, sorted outside in the garden. Harvest time. Halloween season.
Photo credit © Martingraf | Dreamstime.com

What do you do with your pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns after all the trick-or-treaters have left?

Well, if you aren't really sure, you aren't alone. A lot of people struggle with what to do with their pumpkins after Halloween. But fear not, our friends at the National Wildlife Federation have shared their 5 ideas for pumpkin recycling. Check it out:

1. Compost Your Pumpkins

Since pumpkins are 90% water, they easily and quickly break down. This makes them great for your compost pile. Just be sure to remove the seeds so pumpkins don't start growing in there. If you don’t compost, check your local government, nearby farms, or community gardens to see if they collect old pumpkins.


2. Make a Snack-o-Lantern

Make a wildlife-friendly restaurant for the squirrels and birds in your backyard (or frontyard). Just fill your jack-o-lantern with bird seed and hang it up with string. The animals will love it!


3. Leave Seeds for Wildlife

Large birds and small animals eat pumpkin seeds if they're in your yard. Collect seeds from your pumpkins, before composting them, and let them dry. Just don’t add salt or seasoning. Place seeds on a flat surface, tray, shallow bowl, or mix in with existing bird seed in your garden.


4. Cut it into Pieces for Animals

Many backyard animals will also eat pieces of your old pumpkin. You can cut it into little bits and leave it out for the critters.


5. Plant Pumpkin Seeds

The squash bee is one of many insects to pollinate pumpkin flowers. If you have room in your yard, you can save seeds for a harvest of pumpkins next year.