What to do with all those jack-o-lanterns as their smile starts to turn to a frown?
Before we know it, Halloween will have come and gone. Some of those pumpkins are looking a little sad. If your pumpkin is carved, it’s a little late for pumpkin pie. However, there are still a few options to allow Jack to be reduced, reused or recycled instead of just throwing him in the trash heap.
Make a bird feeder:
Jack can do his part to feed our feathered friends! You can simple fill him up with a layer of bird feed and place him where the family can watch the birds (and probably squirrels!) come and go. You can get more creative by hanging the pumpkin. To make Jack more “user friendly”, carve out a large section of the back of the pumpkin so that you can see enjoying the feast inside. Audobon also has a short, how to video on how to make a hanging feeder with just some twine, a couple of sticks, bird seed – and of course the pumpkin!
Turn Jack into a festive planter:
Jack is a great way to showcase fall plants such as mums! After carving your pumpkin, dip it in a large bucket of a vinegar solution: one part vinegar to four parts water. The solution will slow the decay process. After Halloween put a layer of burlap or landscape cloth inside the jack-o’-lantern where you’ve carved the face to keep the soil from falling out. Add a few small holes in the bottom for water to drain. Then fill the pumpkin with soil and add a fall plant. Place your new planter on your porch with the carved part facing the house so no one sees Jack’s frowny face and he starts to wilt.
Pumpkin is a great addition to your compost pile. If you’re using a heap method to compost, just toss your pumpkins on the pile, or if you prefer you can cut Jack into smaller pieces before adding them to your pile. You can also just bury him whole in your garden – by spring he will be long gone, though if any seeds were left inside you may have some pumpkin plants starting to sprout!