They brought you joy during the Halloween season, and it seems like a waste to just throw them away. Here are some ideas for putting those old jack-o’-lanterns to good use, rather than just throwing them away.

Pumpkin Smashin Fun at North Georgia Wildlife Park

Feed your old pumpkins to the wolves, cougars, lemurs and more. Nov. 6-8, 13-15.


You can compost the pumpkin yourself. Pumpkins will decompose easily if you add it to your composting pile. Make sure to remove all the seeds first.

The Wylde Center in Decatur offers a composting service at Oakhurst Garden and Sugar Creek. Drop off your compost in the designated bins.

Sign up for the service CompostNow for compost collection, and they have a CHaRM Drop-off Pilot Program.

Check to see if your local government, farms or community gardens will collect your pumpkins for composting, if you don’t have a compost bin.

Feed the Animals

Recycle your pumpkin and make it into a bird feeder for your backyard friends. You’ll need: bird seed, a bowl, thin dowels, drill, hand saw, knife, rope, rubber mallet and a metal spoon to create this “snack-o’-lantern.” You can also mix the pumpkin seeds into the bird seed.

Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and place them in the very back part of your yard to attract deer, raccoons and other wildlife to eat the discarded pumpkin. Don’t give animals any painted pumpkins, as the paint may be toxic.


Want to try your hand at having your own pumpkin patch next year? Save the pumpkin seeds to plant them.

Turn your pumpkins into decorative planters. Hollow out your pumpkin, and if you carved a spooky face on it, fill it with burlap or landscaping cloth to prevent the soil from falling out. Fill it with your favorite flowers or plants, and keep using it as a fun fall decoration or as a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Bury It

Dig holes into your garden and place small pieces of your pumpkin inside. Cover the holes with soil, and the pumpkin will naturally break down.

Eat It

If your pumpkin hasn’t decayed yet, it’s still edible. Use the pumpkins from inside your home to create delicious meals and treats, as outdoor pumpkins have likely been contaminated by critters and weather. Roast the pumpkin seeds or pickle the rind for a snack. Make pumpkin puree, which is the base for a lot of pumpkin treats, including these cookies. Make roasted pumpkin, pumpkin potato mash or pumpkin soup. DIY your own face mask.


Get creative beyond just the jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. Turn your pumpkins into floatable boats. Make them into candle holders. Create pumpkin catapults. Play a game of Ring Around the Pumpkin. Build a pumpkin clock.

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