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That perfect pumpkin should not just be kicked to the curb Nov. 1

In its debut column, Kids for Turtles offers tips and ideas to help keep your pumpkins from going into the garbage
Pumpkins on porches are a sure and beautiful sign of fall. By the end of October, it will probably be creatively carved, too. But what do you do with it when Halloween is over? Contributed photo

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kids for Turtles Environmental Education is an outreach organization working to increase public awareness about the importance of increasing our attention and commitment to local environmental stewardship. This is our first monthly column for OrilliaMatters. They will be published on the third Wednesday of the month. For more information visit their website

People all over Canada are heading to stores and farms in search of a perfect pumpkin for their front porches.

According to Statistics Canada more than 2,500 farms in Canada have pumpkin patches for fall lovers to find the perfect one. By Halloween night thousands of pumpkins will be carved to perfection and will shine brightly: The symbol of Halloween will be proudly displayed for all the trick-or-treaters to see.

Then it’s Nov. 1, everyone wakes up from their candy coma and must decide what happens to all those pumpkins. Unfortunately, so many of the 82,000 tonnes of pumpkins produced in Canada will end up in the compost or worse, a landfill.

At Kids For Turtles, we are always trying to find environmental alternatives to everything, from protecting turtle nests to using recyclables for crafts. Keep the spirit of the season going with these creative and environmentally-friendly uses for leftover pumpkins.

There are three main things we can use pumpkins for: fall decorations, delicious October themed foods, and projects for kids. First, let’s consider the pumpkins that never got carved.

Cut open that leftover pumpkin, scoop out the middle, and place a beautiful arrangement of fall flowers to make a unique planter for the middle of your table or your front porch.

Feeling like taking your next dinner to a new level, use your freshly cleaned out pumpkin as a serving dish

Save some seeds and plan to grow your very own pumpkin next year, just let the seeds air dry and store them in an envelope for spring.

If fall decorations aren’t the use you’re looking for, why not turn that plump pumpkin into a delicious side dish or dessert! Slice the pumpkin in half, clean it out, and toss it in the oven just like a squash.

Eat it like that or scoop the cooked pumpkin out of its shell to make a puree that can be used to make pumpkin pie, soup, lattes, bread, cake, pancakes, pasta, pizza, and even a face mask to wear while you eat your pie!

Don’t forget to save the seeds to roast and make a salty snack. If you really want to use every bit of the pumpkin, dump the guts into a pot with your other leftover veggies and a little water, let it simmer, strain, and you have homemade vegetable stock to add to all your favourite dishes.

Last, but certainly not least, you could make pumpkin parmesan fries because while barbecuing season may be gone, the time to eat French fries is not!

Now what about those pumpkins that got turned into scary jack-o-lanterns and may not be a perfect round pumpkin anymore? There are still so many uses for them to save them from the garbage.

Get the kids involved and do some science experiments! Turn your beloved old jack into a pumpkin volcano or make it into a bird feeder to hang and invite beautiful birds

Alternatively, you could take the pumpkins to a local farm and feed to some lucky animals. Chickens and pigs will devour them! (make sure you scrap the wax out, first!)

If you are still looking for a low commitment way to help the environment and save your pumpkins from the garbage, compost them or dig a hole, drop it in, and bury it as a treat for the worms!

Give your pumpkin a second life by trying out one of these fun ideas, and help the environment along the way!


This article was written by Shania Van Dusen, a graduate student at Lakehead University and intern for Kids for Turtles.



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