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What to do with pumpkins after halloween

Got pumpkins? Here is a complete guide on what to do with pumpkins after Halloween!

Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays and pumpkins and jack o lanterns are an important part of Halloween.

But, when Halloween is over, you’ll find yourself with some left over pumpkins.

If you, like me, hate throwing things out, you might be wondering what to do with decorative pumpkins after halloween!

Here are your best options.

What to do with pumpkins after halloween

What to do with pumpkins after halloween

Have left over pumpkins? Your next step mainly depends on if they are carved or not.

What to do with carved pumpkins?

Carved pumpkins are going to rot pretty quickly. They are best disposed of. See below for our favorite ways to dispose of pumpkins!

What to do with painted pumpkins?

You shouldn’t eat paint – and neither should animals. Painted pumpkins should be disposed of and not eaten or fed to wildlife.

What can I do with old uncarved pumpkins?

Uncarved pumpkins have a few more options than carved pumpkins, since they last longer.

Wondering what to do with pumpkins after Halloween is over? Your main options are:

  • Save them
  • Cook with them
  • Donate them
  • Dispose of them

Let’s talk about your best options for each!

mini pumpkin in hand

Save them

If your pumpkins are un-carved, I encourage you to save them after Halloween. Remove spooky decor and just keep them as Fall decor!

Plain old pumpkins are great for a Thanksgiving centerpiece, porch decor, or mantel decor!

Pumpkin planters and birdfeeders

Carved or un-carved pumpkins can be turned into planters. Once hollowed out, fill with soil and add a plant. The pumpkin will break down in a few months – which will turn into fertilizer for your plant!

Similarly, you can fill a hollowed out pumpkin with birdseed and turn it into a pumpkin bird feeder!

hollowed out pumpkin

Cook with them

Pumpkin recipes are rampant in the Fall season. However, most of them call for canned “pumpkin” product (which is usually mostly squash).

However, there are plenty of recipes that use whole, real pumpkin. Here are some great ones:

Note that most recipes require cutting the pumpkin, removing the pumpkin seeds and pumpkin guts, and baking the pumpkin flesh on a baking sheet. This roasted pumpkin can then be used to make homemade pumpkin purée, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, or tons of other easy pumpkin recipes.

Don’t forget that you can roast and eat pumpkin seeds, too!

Donate them

It’s always great to donate things when possible, but where to donate pumpkins?!

We personally have a state park near us with a small native animal “zoo”. They collect pumpkins each fall to use to feed the animals!

Scarce Pumpkin Smash and Pumpkins for the People are 2 organizations specifically designed to collect pumpkins!

I also suggest you google search “pumpkin donations near me” to find a pumpkin recycling drop off spot in your area. They might include zoos, farms, or garden centers. If in doubt, post in your neighborhood facebook group and ask!

two sizes of pumpkins

Dispose of them

Compost bin

If you have a compost pile, add your pumpkins to it. It is suggested that you remove all of the pumpkin seeds before putting them in the pile, or risk a pumpkin patch growing!

No compost bin? No problem! Break up your pumpkins, remove the seeds, and bury them in the garden. They will decompose and become fertilizer for your plants!

Why should you not throw away pumpkins?

Pumpkins will take up space in the landfill and let out a lot of methane gas as they decompose. In general it is considered better for the environment to compost them or put them in the woods for animals!

Is it OK to throw pumpkins in the woods?

Many animals will eat pumpkins if they are left out. However, you can’t just leave a whole pumpkin out (unless you have very large animals). It’s best to remove the seeds and chop the pumpkin into smaller pieces before setting in the woods.

pumpkin seeds inside a pumpkin

Uses for a pumpkin FAQs

What do you do with fall pumpkins?

Fall pumpkins make great decor, but once the holidays are over, you can repurpose them, cook them, recycle them, or put them in the woods for animals, or the compost bin to break down!

Can wildlife eat pumpkins?

Squirrels, foxes, raccoons, and many other wild animals enjoy eating pumpkins. Break or cut them up to make it easy for animals to get to the good stuff!

What to do with pumpkins after halloween for animals

Many people like to leave old pumpkins out for wildlife. Keep in mind that rotting pumpkins can disrupt the wilderness, so only leave pumpkin where you feel confident that it will be eaten quickly.

For best results, cut the pumpkin up and remove the seeds before placing it in the woods for animals!

Can you throw pumpkins in the woods?

Yes, unpainted pumpkins can be left in the woods for birds, squirrels, and other animals to enjoy. It’s recommended to remove seeds or else you might grow a pumpkin patch in the woods!

Where can I donate my pumpkins after halloween?

Many farms, zoos, and animal parks accept pumpkins to use as animal feed. Call ahead to be sure they accept them before you drive over!

What animals eat pumpkins?

Squirrels, deer, raccoons, and many other woodland creatures will eat pumpkin if they come across it.

What to do with leftover mini pumpkins?

Mini pumpkins can be treated the same as larger pumpkins. You can save them for Thanksgiving decor, cook them, compost them, donate them to a farm, or leave them in the woods for wildlife.

What is your favorite way to recycle Halloween pumpkins?

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