Halloween has come and gone, but you’ve still got leftover pumpkins on your stoop. What to do with the jack-o’-lantern after the Big Night? From a bird sanctuary to a pie, we’ve got 18 different ideas for using up those gourds after Oct. 31. Keep reading to be inspired.
Make a Batch of Hearty Soup
Chop up that decorative number on your steps for this recipe calling for fresh pumpkin, not canned. Plus, you can adapt it for all kinds of squash including acorn or butternut. Add some dimension by adding freshly steamed asparagus and toasted pumpkin seeds to the top, and you'll have a rich and colorful meal. Click here to get the full recipe.
Make a Pie
Cook it down and whip it up: you can skip the store-bought puree this time and use your still sweet pumpkins for an awesome pie or dessert. We've got 10 amazing recipes here that should do the trick.
Carve Out a Home
There’s no denying the magic of fall. Add to it with a humble pumpkin abode for your favorite fairy garden residents. Cut out windows and construct a drawbridge door for easy access to your seasonal fairy getaway.
Brew Your Own Pumpkin Latte
Skip your drive-through PSL routine and make your own instead. This easy recipe from the Farmgirl Gourmet explains how to take your upcycled pumpkin puree and turn it into a steaming hot cup of comfort for a crisp fall day. Go green, save green—that’s a win/win!
Bring on the glitter glue, googly eyes and paints! Add pizzazz to your tired orange pumpkins by letting your petite Picassos go to town on this blank canvas. Check out 12 of our fave ways to art up this year’s pumpkin.
photo: Chris Evans via Flickr
Make a Planter
Transform those almost-the-same-size-as-your-little-pumpkin farm picked orange orbs into outdoor planters to hold colorful fall flowers. Get inspired to try this easy project with your little green thumb at 17 Apart!
Save the Seeds
Whether you top them with seasoning salt or go for more exotic combos, a handful of straight-from-the-oven, warm, roasted pumpkin seeds in autumn just feels right. Or skip the culinary creativity and turn pumpkin seeds into a sorting game perfect for those grabby toddler hands. Find out how here.
Feed Some Animals
Just like your sidekick, animals dig pumpkins too! Bring your leftovers to your local zoo for some animals to munch on (call ahead to see if they take them, first) or donate them to your local CSA farmer. Share the love!
Chuck the Pumpkin
Got pumpkin? Get chunkin’! At a local after Halloween pumpkin chunkin’ event in your area. There’s something gleeful about watching those old orange orbs fly through the air before coming in for a crash landing. It’s undeniably fun! No event in your area? No problem. Flex your maker muscles and construct your own pumpkin catapult at home instead. Let it rip!
Make a Pumpkin Boat
Repurpose all those cute decorative pumpkins adorning your mantel by turning them into totally floatable pumpkin boats. Then, hit a neighborhood pond or pull out the sand and water table (or even the bathtub!) to set sail with your mini sailor. Land ho!
Make a Volcano
Grab your little scientist and a few kitchen basics to turn your leftover pumpkin into a science project that would make your former science teacher proud. To find out how to make this explosively exciting project, all you need to do is visit Little Bins for Little Hands and get pouring.
Plan a Spa Day
Gather the troops for a little at home pamper party. Then whip up an easy-peasy facemask made with pumpkin puree, that’s good enough to eat. The best part? We’re betting you’ll find everything you need to make it in your kitchen cupboards.
Give your pumpkin new life by tossing it in the compost bin. Don’t have a bin? No problem. Check out how to make your own with your earth-lovin’ littles at home, using a few materials and simple tools you can find at your local hardware store if they aren’t already in your garage.
Make a Snowman
Even if you don’t have snow on the ground yet, you and your kiddos can plan ahead by recycling this season’s ubiquity into next season’s adorable decoration. To find out how to turn a few petite pumpkins into a frosty snowman, check out Caught in Grace’s creative post. Let it snow!
Make a Bird Sanctuary
Attract fall songbirds to your backyard or balcony, using repurposed pumpkins and a little tool know-how. The folks over at Hoosier Homemade show you and your kidlets how to create a simple birdbath and bird feeder with Cinderella style. The feathered friends who show up in your yard may not help with the housework, but it’s worth a try!
Plant More Pumpkins
Think spring (or even next fall) by planning ahead for the next planting season. A handful of seeds saved from your pumpkin innards planted in late spring may save you a trip to the patch next year. Or at least provide some cute at-home photos of your sidekick come fall.
Make a Soup Bowl
Hollow out sugar pumpkins and use the innards to make a deliciously warm, spicy pumpkin creation of your own. Then serve it up in a mini tureen for a festive flair that’ll entice even your pickiest eater to take a bite.
Craft Candle Holders
Those cute mini pumpkins your sidekick couldn’t pass up at the pumpkin patch transform into stylish candleholders for your turkey day table with a little know how. Jessi at Practically Functional has the scoop on this simple DIY transformation that goes from drab to fab. Orange really is the new black!
— Allison Sutcliffe