Just because there are no more skeletons donning your front door, or giant faux cobwebs draped across your bushes, doesn’t mean all the pumpkin fun has to end just yet. There are all sorts of ways you can prolong your enjoyment of the bright, orange friend that has been faithfully guarding your doorstep for the past few weeks. Here’s just a few…
1. ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS – This is by far the yummiest way to enjoy your jack-o-lantern once the trick or treat festivities are over. But if you’re household is anything like mine, the seeds will get scarfed up pretty quick, so enjoy them while you can! This year C was anxious to help in the kitchen, and we decided to make two different kinds. One is a healthy version using nothing but olive oil, a little sugar, and some pumpkin pie spice…and the other is an indulgent, sticky icky variation involving lots more sugar and a fair amount of honey as well. Both turned out very tasty, and we even managed to save enough to give as treats for C’s preschool teachers.
2. MUSIC MAKERS – Pumpkin seeds are fantastic to use in homemade shakers, maracas, and tamborines…at least I would assume so anyway. As a disclaimer we have actually never tried this because we like to eat the seeds too much. But this would work out great if you’re one of those weirdos that doesn’t like pumpkin seeds. Or you could always make a pumpkin with an easy on/off lid – that way you could grab a handful to munch on mid-jam session.
3. SNACK – O- LANTERN – This idea is so cute, and I wish I could take credit for it, but I first saw it done on Debi Huang’s Go Explore Nature blog. It definitely was the easiest nature craft ever. We simply moved our family of pumpkins from the front stoop to the backyard beneath the bird feeders. We had actually saved the gook and guts from when we carved our pumpkins, and once we moved them to the backyard, redeposited them back inside. We also added some bird seed for an added incentive. The snack-o-lantern was a hit with birds, squirrels, and probably several other furry friends once it got dark. I’m also pretty sure that our neighborhood deer would have loved to have a slice of that sweet pumpkin pie…which is why we decided to locate our snack-o-lantern safely behind the fence (I’m still mad at the deer for chewing up my hostas this past summer.)
4. CIRCLE OF LIFE – If you leave your snack-o-lantern in the garden, eventually it will return to the earth. And if there were a few stray seeds left in and amongst that slimy orange goo, odds are good you’ll have your own mini-patch o’ pumpkins next Halloween! But a word of warning, you never know what you’re gonna get – my mom and I planted some of our leftover seeds one year when I was little, and we were both shocked and amazed that it was ZUCCHINIS of all things that popped up the next year! (As it turns out pumpkins and zucchini often cross-pollinate, which is the most likely explanation for our gourd-y mishap…)
5. COMPOST – A step up from number 4…if you are into composting, your pumpkin is probably already smashed and part of the heap by now. If you’re not, now is a great time to start! It doesn’t need to be complicated – all you need is an inconspicuous corner of yard, and some organic materials to throw inside. Intrigued? Here’s a link to get you started…
How does everyone else say “goodbye” to their Halloween pumpkins?