Here's what you can do with your jack-o'-lantern instead of throwing it out

food, here's what you can do with your jack-o'-lantern instead of throwing it out

A jack-o’-lantern lit up at night. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Here’s what you can do with your jack-o’-lantern instead of throwing it out

Thousands and thousands of pumpkins wind up in landfills after Halloween, but yours doesn’t have to be one of them.

Carved and un-carved pumpkins can be composted, donated to sanctuaries and zoos, and even turned into bird feeders.

If you decide to compost your pumpkin, first remove any seeds that are still inside and cut off any decorations, like glitter or stickers. Then, cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, and spread them around the compost pile before burying them. Pumpkins are high in nitrogen, so add equal or higher amounts of leaves, sawdust, or other carbon-based material, The Associated Press says. If you don’t have your own compost pile, see if you have a local community garden that is accepting pumpkin donations.

Have critters that walk through your yard? Pumpkins can be left out for squirrels, deer, and rabbits as a healthy snack. This is not suggested for people who live in neighborhoods with bears. You can also cut a pumpkin in half horizontally, remove the insides, and put birdseed in the cavity. If you save the pumpkin seeds, rinse and dry them and put them in with the birdseed (just do not add salt or any flavoring to the seeds).

Sanctuaries and farms also welcome pumpkin donations for their residents. Pumpkins for Pigs has a map of donation locations across the United States, and says pumpkins are “excellent feed and a wonderful treat” to the animals. These pumpkins must be un-carved and not painted.

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