4 Ways to Upcycle Pumpkin Carving


4 Ways to Upcycle Pumpkin Carving

What’s a Halloween season without carving pumpkins? Tiny saws and crooked cuts. Slimy seeds and gloppy guts. Guaranteed to be the most pleasing way to upcycle the daily newspaper. But what do we do with our carved pumpkins after Halloween? Let them rot on the front steps? Throw them in the garbage bin? Here are four fresh ideas:


Pumpkin burial is one of the more seasonal ideas we’ve encountered, specifically because of its connection to Dia de los Muertos.

Celebrated October 31 – November 2, Dia de los Muertos originated in Meso-America and was tied to the harvest season. Indigenous celebrants would dedicate a portion of their bounty to their ancestors, who were believed to return during this time to commune with the living (Gabriela Martinez, Los Angeles Times).

Bury your carved pumpkins in the backyard. You can create a makeshift Dia de los Muertos altar by decorating the burial site with candles, sugar skulls, and photos of your departed ancestors. The buried pumpkins will decompose and enrich the soil naturally and it’s a fun way for children to learn about the spirited Latin holiday.


It’s easy to add those pumpkins to the compost pile. After you or the kids crush the carved pumpkins, throw the broken pieces onto the heap and cover them with leaves.

WARNING: Be sure to remove any candles prior to the pumpkin demolition, and avoid mixing pumpkins that have been painted or treated with chemicals in with the compost heap.

Massachusetts residents, if you are without a compost pile but still want to compost your pumpkins, you may deposit them at the compost site in Avon, MA.


In a similar vein, you can feed your carved pumpkins to the animals in the wild. Slice your pumpkins into bite-sized pieces before they begin to rot. Then deposit those pieces in an area of your yard accessible to wildlife. If you prefer not to have critters crawling around your property, you can always feed pumpkin to your pet cat or dog.

Pumpkin has a high fiber and water content, which means it’s healthy for your pet’s digestive tract. Again, make sure that the rot has not yet set in with the pumpkin you plan to feed your pet. It’s a good idea to wash the pumpkin once you chop it into chunks so that you can get rid of any bacteria that may have cultivated while the pumpkin was on the porch.


As we wrote in our blog post When Orange & Black Meets Green & Blue, you can transform newly carved pumpkins into flower vases. For this fun DIY project, all you need to do is coat the interior of the pumpkin with PVC glue, let it dry, and add water. Hint: This works better with pumpkins that have been cut and gutted than with pumpkins that have been surgically enhanced into jack-o-lanterns.

If carving and flowers aren’t in your candy bag, you can still upcycle your uncarved pumpkins and paint them for the upcoming holidays. Break out the paint, glitter, and glue and see what you can do! If you’re in need of ideas, you can find an endless variety of ways to paint your pumpkins on Pinterest. Simply search for “painted pumpkins” and scroll for an idea that inspires you!

For more environmentally-savvy ideas this Halloween, read our post on How to Create an Eek-O-Friendly Halloween.

Have a happy, fun, and safe Halloween!

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