Old Pumpkin Uses: Creative Ways For Getting Rid Of Pumpkins

Rotting Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin
old pumpkin
(Image credit: luvemakphoto)

Halloween has come and gone and you are left with several pumpkins. Getting rid of pumpkins can be as simple as tossing them in the compost bin, but there are other old pumpkin uses that might surprise you.

Recycling pumpkins into craft projects is fun if they aren't already decomposing, but wildlife and farm animals can also be happy recipients.

What to Do with Old Pumpkins?

So, you have leftover pumpkins after Halloween and want to dispose of them in a sensible way or use them for something else if they are still in good condition. In the latter case, you can roast them and make a savory soup or scoop the guts and bake a flavorful pie.

If you just aren't feeling the culinary bug though, what else do you do? Answering that question will depend on whether they are in good condition or not. Some clever ideas can give you options that will please you and the whole family.

  • If they are mushy and showing signs of rot, you don't want to cook with them, use them for décor, or in crafts. These specimens can be composted, or if you are up for a grisly task, clean out the meat and save the seeds for roasting or sowing next year.
  • If the meat is in reasonable condition, feed it to squirrels, put seeds in bird feeders, or give the fruit to pigs. Other animals, such as porcupines and deer, will even enjoy eating the flesh. Local zoos will also accept donations of pumpkins which denizens like hippos love. This is a great and free way of getting rid of pumpkins and you can come watch the animals enjoy the orange treats.
  • If the pumpkin is too far gone, compost it or bury it to add nutrients to your garden.

Decorating with Pumpkins After Halloween

If your pumpkins didn't experience a freeze and aren't too old, you can try recycling pumpkins into décor for Thanksgiving or to add a fall touch to the home.

  • Hollow the fruits out and put planting soil inside. Fill with mums and other autumn flowers. You could also forgo the soil and use the hollowed gourd as a centerpiece with cut flowers.
  • Old pumpkin uses can be a family fun task. Turn small uncut pumpkins into a kid's project with some paint and imagination. These will make great personalized place holders for the Thanksgiving table.
  • If all else fails, roast the squash, scoop out the flesh, and puree up some honey, lemon, or coconut as a rejuvenating facial.

Make Food with Old Pumpkins

Outside of roasted seeds or pumpkin pie, the flesh can be used in many dishes. It is great added to a spicy Thai stir fry or curry, pureed into soup, thinned with coconut milk as a topping for pecan ice cream, or even add puree to your homemade pumpkin spice latte.

The rind is also useful. You can peel the cooked skin off the meat and slice it into chips. Season them and put in a dehydrator or low oven until crispy. Pumpkin skin chips are nutritious and great either alone or dunked into a savory or sweet dip.

With the holidays coming, homemade goodies make great gifts for family and friends. Use the puree to make muffins, cookies, and breads, all of which will freeze well until you are ready to dispense the sweet treats.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.