After the trick-or-treaters have come and gone and the glow of the jack-o-lanterns fade, don’t throw your pumpkins away! The National Wildlife Federation has several ways you can recycle your Halloween pumpkins to help the wildlife.
Compost your pumpkins:
According to the National Wildlife Federation, pumpkins are 90% water which means they decompose quickly and easily. Remove the seeds, so you don’t get unwanted pumpkin plants, and add the used pumpkins to your compost pile.
Feed the birds:
You can turn your jack-o-lantern into an all-natural bird feeder. Apparently it’s any easy craft to make and the animals love it. Here’s an instructional video:
Leave your seeds:
Large birds and small animals enjoy snacking on pumpkin seeds when given the chance. Collect the seeds from your pumpkins and let them dry — but don’t add seasonings like you would for your human friends to enjoy. Place the seeds in a small, shallow bowl or on a plate and leave them in your garden for our wild friends to eat. You can also mix them in with bird seed already in your garden.
Leave the animals a bite-sized snack:
Many animals you find roaming your backyard will eat pieces of pumpkin flesh, but you should try to cut it into smaller pieces.
However some animals, like the porcupine in the video below, will just eat the pumpkins whole.
Harvest your own pumpkins:
The National Wildlife Federation also encourages you to expand your garden. You can save your pumpkin seeds and plant them with next year’s harvest. Plus, many insects like to pollinate pumpkin flowers so you even have some busy bees willing to help your garden grow.
For more ideas on how to dispose of your pumpkins in a wildlife-friendly way, visit the National Wildlife Federation’s website, here.