The Afterlife of A Halloween Pumpkin

Do you know what’s even scarier than zombies? The idea of the amount of food waste generated by carving pumpkins every year. Pretty much every house in the UK and America with children will have a pumpkin, but the ones sold for carving are, let’s face it, revolting and unlikely to get eaten. According to The Woodland Trust, 18 million kilograms of pumpkin gets thrown away every year.

I normally just compost our pumpkins, but I read that pumpkins are actually a good food source for wildlife, and I’ve heard that birds, squirrels, mice, hedgehogs, foxes and badgers will all give them a go so we’ve trialled putting our leftover pumpkins outside for the best part of the week to see if they do with a view to composting them when they start to look unhealthy.

While I haven’t spotted anything visiting specifically to snack on the pumpkins, when I have inspected the lids and interior it looks as though there are little tooth marks and something has definitely been having a nibble on them. My best guess is a squirrel or mouse because we have a secret visitor who leaves hazel shells when they’ve eaten the nuts inside.

The real bonus of using the pumpkins this way for me is that it’s a helpful transition for The Happy Dandelion. She got really upset at the idea of composting her pumpkin (even the gunk from inside when the seeds were removed- it was soup apparently) so seeing it looking happy under the tree has allowed me to get it out of the house, and I can compost it when she’s not looking. Like the wicked witch I am.

3 thoughts on “The Afterlife of A Halloween Pumpkin

  1. Ryan Lee King

    Hmm. I eat pumpkin all the time but until you said that, I didn’t think about the food waste of carving a pumpkin. I typically harvest the seeds inside and cook them for my wife and son. They adore them! But the pumpkin itself has always been left to sit too long on the front porch. At that point, we’ve always just thrown them out into the garden out back to decompose. It makes me wonder if any of the animals ever got to them before they did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Siobhan Post author

      I think the problem in the UK is that the majority of our supermarkets sell pumpkins which have been bred for carving not for eating, so they have a great colour and shape, but the flavour isn’t great so we tend not to eat them. My three year old is really keen to grow a pumpkin patch next year, so I’ll be looking at more tasty varieties which will hopefully cut down on waste.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ryan Lee King

        I’m sure they do the same thing here in the US with the carving pumpkins. Given how attached she was to the pumpkins this year, I bet she’ll love the idea of having a pumpkin patch. Sounds like a tasty plan to me.

        Liked by 1 person

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