Now that Halloween has come and gone it is time to take down the ghosts and witches and put up the turkeys and pilgrims. But before you throw poor Mr. Jack-O-Lantern in the garbage consider these options:
- Give him a proper burial: Put him in a corner of your yard, cover him with dirt and fallen leafs and let him be. This is called Passive Composting and according to Earth911.com, “Compost produced from passive piles is just as beneficial for the soil as is compost from active piles… compost happens even if we do little to assist the process”.
- Take him to the zoo: Pumpkins are a special treat for some zoo animals (like elephants). Contact your local zoo to see if they can use your Jack-O-Lantern as an animal treat.
- Take him back to the pumpkin patch: If you bought your pumpkin from a pumpkin patch (or even if you didn’t) check with them to see if they will take it back. Most patches plow over the pumpkins that were not sold and probably wouldn’t mind throwing Mr. Jack-O-Lantern in with the others.
- Start a compost pile with him: Between the pumpkins and the fallen leaves, this time of year is the perfect time to start composting. You know what they say, No time like the present! To learn how to get started composting you may want to read this article from Treehugger.com.
- Take him to a neighborhood farm or garden: Some farm animals (like goats and cows) will eat pumpkins if they are cut open. Check with your local area farms to see if they take donations. Community gardens are also a good place to contact. They would be happy to use Mr. Jack-O-Lantern in their compost piles.
If you decorated with uncarved pumpkins, here are a few suggestions for how to use the pumpkin seeds:
- Plant the seeds and grow your own pumpkins for next year
- Dry the seeds and feed them to the birds
- Roast the seeds and eat them yourself
So before you throw away all that hard work and time you and your family put into carving your Jack-O-Lanterns consider some green alternatives. It will make you both smile.