Give New Life to Old Pumpkins

Wow, those spooky Jack-o-lanterns and adorable little gourds looked great as Halloween decorations.  But now that the trick-or-treaters are gone and the candy’s been eaten, they look, well, a little sad.  What they need is a new purpose.  Happily, we've found it for them.  In fact, we've found several.  Check out our five favorite projects that let you give your gourds a new life.  

Pumpkin Planter
A Halloween Jack-o-lantern makes a beautiful and nourishing base for a pot of annuals from your local garden center.  Pick up some mums, sweet pea, flowering cabbage or other fall favorite and a bag of potting soil.  Fill the pumpkin about one-third full with potting soil—pack it in especially tightly where you’ve carved the Jack-o-lantern’s face—and place your flowers inside.  Add a little more soil to fully cover the flowers’ roots, and you’ve got a perfectly pretty pumpkin planter.

Once you’re done, you can display your pumpkin flowerpot on the porch for a few days if you’d like.  If you’re expecting a cold snap, you might decide to dig a hole and plant the entire thing right away.  As the pumpkin rots in the ground, it’ll provide natural compost and fertilize the flowers, so you can enjoy healthy blooms all Fall. 

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Mini Pumpkin Candles
Give tiny pumpkins big impact by transforming them into beautiful little candles that’ll fill your house with an autumn-inspired glimmer.    Follow these easy, DIY directions and get the glow of satisfaction that comes with completing an awesome re-purposing project.   

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Bird Feeders
Why not share the love—and some seed—by turning your pumpkins and gourds into bird feeders.  We've found two that we love:  a super simple family project and a slightly more elaborate (but still very do-able) XXXXXXX

  1. The National Wildlife Federation certainly knows its stuff when it comes to wildlife.  Just follow these kid-friendly instructions for turning an old jack-o-lantern into a new gathering place for your feathered friends.  
  2. This feeder does double duty as a protected feeding place for birds and as a naturally beautiful tree decoration.  With one or two simple tools and Martha Stewart's step-by-step instructions, you'll can quickly create a place where birds of a feather can flock together.    

Facial Mask
While a carved pumpkin isn't safe to eat, you can use it to feed your skin.  Pumpkin is rich in Vitamins A and C and helps to soothe and moisturize skin, so it makes a great facial mask.  

Combine 2 tablespoons of mashed pumpkin (to nourish) with 2 teaspoons of brown or white sugar (to exfoliate) and a few drops of water or milk. Mix well and use your fingertips to apply the mask to your face.  Using circular motions, gently work the mixture into your skin.   Leave on for 20 minutes then rinse off with warm water.  

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Wild Animal Plaything
Pumpkins are popular playthings and tasty snacks for wildlife, zoo and exotic animals, all of which might welcome a donation of your Halloween leftovers.  Check with local farms in your area as well as zoos and animal shelters to see if they accept pumpkin donations.  The St. Louis Zoo and the Denver Zoo are just two zoos that take pumpkins to feed and entertain their charges.   

Instead of dropping your discarded pumpkins into the trash, transform them into treats for yourself and your animal friends.   Make it a new Halloween tradition and kick off the season of giving with a little something for everyone.  

Show us your reuse pumpkin projects on Instagram; tag @yerdle to be featured!