What to Do With Your Jack-O-Lantern?

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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How to Dispose of Pumpkins, Fall Pumpkins, How to Recycle Pumpkins, What to Do with Jack-O-LanternsHalloween is past, so what do you do with your Jack-o -Lanterns? I was mowing my yard & looking at the two pumpkins I had somewhat carved. I tried an idea I saw on Facebook of punching holes in the pumpkins & then stuffing the holes with peanut butter. The idea being that the squirrels would come along & eat the peanut butter & somewhat carve the pumpkins for me. That did not happen. Now the pumpkins are beginning to decay, so what do I do with them?

My plan is to compost them in my garden behind some ornamental shrubs. I will cut them open to see if the wildlife will eat them & then just leave them to compost in place. Besides squirrels, I have possums & raccoons that visit my garden sometimes, so maybe they will feed on the pumpkins. I live in Monroe & have never seen deer in my neighborhood, so don’t think they will come. However, if you live in a more rural area, you can put your spent Jack-o-lanterns in your garden or in a wooded area and you may see deer come and eat them. You might even get some volunteer pumpkins the following year and have your own pumpkin patch.

The National Wildlife Federation has come up with the idea of turning your Jack-o-Lantern into a bird feeder, that they call a snack-o-lantern, that you can hand and fill with birdseed. This would be something fun to do with your kids to teach them more about recycling and reusing. Just do an internet search for snack-o-lantern and you can find the instructions.

Another thought is to talk to friends you know who may have livestock. They might like to have them as feed. I have a friend in Virginia who operates a pig rescue and each year she has a couple of venues where folks drop off their Jack-o-Lanterns for her. She usually gets a pickup load. She also has folks who collect from their neighborhood and bring them directly to her. This is a treat for the pigs that they really seem to enjoy.