5 Creative Uses For Your Old Jack-o-Lantern

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

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.

1. Throw it into your compost bin

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. If you don’t have a compost heap, cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces and bury in your garden where it will enrich the soil. Here’s how to make a DIY compost bin.

2. Create a bird feeder

Cut off the top half and fill the bottom half with birdseed and place out for the birds to enjoy. Learn how to make your own pumpkin bird feeder.

3. Save the seeds and plant them next year

Allow the seeds to dry before storing them and plant next summer. Here’s how to direct sow seeds for easy gardening.

4. Feed your carved pumpkin to the chickens

Backyard chickens will be thrilled by this special treat. Be sure to do this while your pumpkin is relatively fresh and has not started to form mold. Chickens love pumpkins seeds, too.

5. Cut into smaller chunks and set out for deer, rabbits and other wildlife

Place the cut-up pumpkin in an area where you can view the critters that come to feast on your pumpkin. Get more tips for recycling pumpkins for birds and wildlife.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.