Don’t throw away that jack-o-lantern: Here are 6 ways to repurpose your pumpkins for good

Pumpkin in fall. (Image by Pixabay from Pexels.)

HOUSTON – Halloween is over and gone, but you may wonder what you can do with that jack-o-lantern on your front porch.

Thankfully, there are several ways to recycle that pumpkin, whether you carved it or use it as home décor-- from pet food to composting.

Here’s six ways to reuse that pumpkin of yours:


Have a compost bin? You can throw your pumpkin there and let nature do its magic.

All City of Houston pilot composting locations take pumpkins, no matter the condition. You can find your nearest composting site here.

Perfect for fall recipes

If your pumpkin is not moldy or rotten, you can cut up the pumpkin into pieces and use with several fall recipes.

Here is a recipe of pumpkin pie completely from scratch. To bake, all you need is a pumpkin, canola oil and an oven preheated to 375 degrees.

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Pumpkin puree for pets

Pumpkin puree is healthy for both dogs and cats! In fact, according to veterinarians, it is great for their digestion and can help with diarrhea and constipation.

To make, all you need is a pumpkin cut into quarters, bake at 350 degrees, and blend until smooth. Once cooled, you can serve as a topper for food or serve as a snack!

Find the full recipe here.

A Welsh Corgi with a pumpkin (Pixabay)

Donate to wildlife

Some local community wildlife groups and zoos will accept pumpkins as long as they aren’t moldy, according to Tentree. Be sure to call in advance.

You can also leave it alone in your yard -- birds, squirrels and other wild animals will love it! If you own chickens, you can leave pieces for them to eat, as pumpkins pack a ton of vitamins for their overall health.

Houston Zoo celebrates home team (Houston Zoo)

Use as a planter

Using a pumpkin as a planter or vase makes great décor for fall!

Simply cut open around the stem, remove the seeds, and then add dirt. Your flowers will flourish using nutrients from the pumpkin! Learn more.

Pumpkin planter (Pixabay/KPRC)

Keep the seeds!

You can also grow your own pumpkins for next year.

As you carve open your pumpkin, be sure to remove the pulp and place the seeds in a colander. Rinse the seeds, pat dry, then store them in an envelope. Learn more.

What other ways have you reused your jack-o-lantern? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author:

UH-Downtown grad, coffee addict, cat mom of 2, owner of too many fish tanks