The Latest

Pumpkin Chunkin

November 7, 2016 - Latest, Naturalist's Notes


Halloween may be over – but wait – don’t go chucking that pumpkin yet!

Whether you are the type of person who decorates for the winter season on November 1st, or you are the person who tries to make Halloween last an extra week – eventually you are going to need to take down those Halloween decorations! Pumpkins, squash, gourds, straw bales, and corn stalks are very common Halloween/Fall decorations. From carving the pumpkins to making your front porch festive for the season, many people end up throwing these items to the curb after the last trick-or-treater has visited for the night. The following are just a few ways that you can prolong the life of your decorations!


Eat It! – Find recipes online to turn your bright orange globe into pie, soup, bread pudding, smoothies, and many other goodies! Roast the seeds for a healthy snack! You can even use the stringy pumpkin guts to make a pumpkin puree that can be added to many fall-favorite recipes!

Beautify With It! – Did you know that pumpkins are full of good-for-you vitamins? Use that pumpkin puree not just for eating, but for making pumpkin face masks, body scrubs, and even conditioner! Not only will your skin and hair feel and look smoother, you’ll smell like the season!

Play With It! – Children and children-at-heart alike will love using leftover pumpkins as bowling balls! Try pumpkin painting – no need for paintbrushes when you can roll a pumpkin around in the paint! For the bigger kids, there is nothing better than watching something explode – try to see how many rubber bands around your pumpkin it takes before it get’s cut in half!

Decorate With It! – Don’t forget that November is still fall season and pumpkins are a completely acceptable decoration! Use your pumpkins as serving bowls at your Thanksgiving dinner. Turn them into vases for fresh (or silk) fall flowers. Use those jack-o-lanterns as candle holders! Or if you are really into the holiday spirit, stack those pumpkins into a snowman!

Recycle It! – Even after using you pumpkin in all the above listed ways, you still may need to get rid of that pumpkin (or pumpkin chunks!). Use it as a planter that you can plant directly in the ground in the spring! Let your four-legged children chomp on it as a treat or even as a toy. Check with local zoos/aquariums/animal care centers to see if you can donate your pumpkins for animal enrichment. Or even make your own enrichment for your local wildlife by turning your old pumpkin into a wildlife feeder!



Eat It! – Try roasting, baking, or pureeing your other edible decorations!

Decorate With It!– Again, all your non-pumpkin gourds and squash can be turned into candle holders (or even molds), serving bowls, and vases!

Recycle It! – If you are creative enough you can turn your gourd into a beautiful bird house or bird feeder that can last a lifetime!

Straw Bales:

Play With It! – Let the kids used the bales to create a fort, or even a maze!

  Recycle It! – There are so many uses for straw! Use it as mulch for your garden, turn it into compost, use it as animal bedding, turn it into a straw bale planter, or even use it as a natural garden wall!


Corn Stalks:

Decorate With It! – Keep those stalks up for the Thanksgiving season or shuck the corn cobs to use with your Indian Corn!

Recycle It! – Corn stalks make wonderful compost additions after being shredded or chopped. Mix it in with the straw to give your animals even more bedding! Or even just sit the stalks by your bird feeder and see who comes along to nibble on it!


Who knew there were so many uses for your ‘expired’ decorations!? And yes, if you must – go ahead and use that last humongous pumpkin to go pumpkin chunkin with!