The pumpkin has many useful lives after Halloween

Halloween is over, but that doesn't mean you have to immediately snuff out Mr. Jack-O-Lantern and throw it away. Pumpkins can have many useful lives after the haunting is done for the year.

First, remember that Florida's climate is not conducive to preserving a carved pumpkin for long, according to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). If you would like to extend its life, use paint, permanent markers, fabric, and other materials for decorating instead of slicing and dicing.

Pumpkins are 90 percent water, so they break down easily, making them a great addition to your compost heap, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The texture enriches the soil of gardens.

And don't forget about the seeds - after Halloween, and before. Carve them out and roast them for a tasty snack. Dozens of tasty recipes are available online.

If you don't care for pumpkin seeds, birds and other animals do. Throw them in the yard so critters can have a quick and easy snack.

Dried pumpkin seeds also can be used decoratively, adding flair to arts and crafts projects, floral arrangements, and potpourri.

Or you can feed your local wildlife by turning your pumpkin into a Snack-O-Lantern. Fill a carved-out pumpkin with bird seed and place it on the ground, or on a tree stump or another object off the ground. Birds and squirrels will find it enjoyable.

If the pumpkin is still in good shape, consider using it to decorate for Thanksgiving, either as a table ornament, depending on the size, or as a planter, with some moss.

And finally, the pumpkin is a gift that can keep on giving. Save some seeds to plant so you can have your own pumpkin harvest next year.

Posted: 11/13/2023, 4:16:35 PM