4 Garden Uses For Your Old Jack-o-Lantern

Updated: Oct. 20, 2020

Don't toss out your old Halloween pumpkin after the holiday is over, because there are so many beneficial ways to use them in the garden.

Every year, my kids have so much fun selecting our family pumpkin at our local pumpkin patch. Our pumpkin sits in a place of honor in the center of our dining room table until a few days before Halloween, when we decide what type of design to carve into the pumpkin. Our jack-o-lantern is then proudly displayed over Halloween, all lit up from the inside.

After all the trouble of picking out the perfect pumpkin, carving it and displaying it, the last thing I want to do is throw it away. Wouldn’t it be nice if a slightly-used Halloween pumpkin meet a better fate then the trash heap?

You may be surprised to find that there are many uses for your old jack-o-lantern. Don’t toss out your old Halloween pumpkin because there are so many beneficial ways to use them.

Make a Pumpkin Planter

Add potting soil and flowers to create a festive fall container. Here’s how to make your own pumpkin planter, or you can use a pumpkin as a tabletop centerpiece to hold a bouquet.

Add Pumpkins to Compost

Pumpkins make great compost. Be sure to remove any candles and seeds beforehand or else you will have pumpkin vines growing all over your compost pile next summer. Learn how to make a DIY compost bin.

Enrich Garden Soil

If you don’t have a compost pile, cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces and bury it in your garden where it will enrich the soil. The pumpkins break down nicely and offer lots of great nutrients.

Save the Seeds to Plant

If you have a garden, set aside a handful of pumpkin seeds to plant in next year’s garden. Rinse and allow the seeds to dry in a cool dry place for several weeks. Then store them to plant next summer. Learn how to start seeds indoors and how to direct sow seeds for easy gardening.

Next, learn how to recycle pumpkins for birds and wildlife.