Don’t let the jack-o’-lanterns haunt you – How to reduce pumpkin waste this Halloween

By john Dunwell on 31st October 2023 (updated: 18th December 2023) in News & Blog


It’s the spooky time of the year again!  Carving jack-o’-lanterns and decorating your house with these cute and mischievous pumpkins will surely bring more festivity to your neighbourhood. Kids will love it when they come around for trick-or-treating!

Sadly, after Halloween, 15.8 million jack-o’-lanterns will be fed to the bin without being eaten. All these will be sent to the landfill and increase the burden on our planet.

Don’t want to let the Halloween pumpkins haunt you? Read more to learn how to decorate your house waste-free with pumpkins.


Spooky Pumpkin Facts

According to Hubub, 30.4 million pumpkins will be bought this year. But around 50% will be thrown into the bin uneaten.

When we make a jack-o’-lantern, the flesh and guts of the pumpkin are usually discarded. Although these pumpkins for carving are different from the regular pumpkins we use to cook, you can still cook and eat them to avoid food waste.

What is the difference between a carving pumpkin and a regular pumpkin?

A carving pumpkin has thinner skins and less flesh inside, which makes it easier to carve. However, it tastes stringier, bland and watery. This is why people would prefer other sweeter pumpkins for cooking.

Despite that, there are still a lot of good ways to make use of the insides of a pumpkin.


Cook them

With some tips and tricks, you can still make some delicious autumn pumpkin dishes with your jack-o’-lanterns.  For carving pumpkins, roasting them will usually bring out their flavour more. And if your Jack-o’-lantern is small, it will probably taste sweeter!


Although the flesh might taste a bit bland compared to other pumpkins, roasting it before cooking can bring out its flavour. It’s also easier to balance out the dull flavour of your jack-o’-lanterns if you’re using them for sweet, flavoursome dishes such as pumpkin-based desserts.


You might think the stringy guts are inedible but they can be the easiest to handle. Simply boil them in water then strain them. Now you can use this pumpkin broth as a base of your soup.

Or, you can mix it with other fruit juices for pumpkin juice. For extra autumn flavours, add sugar and spices to your juice.


Roast the seeds for a tasty and healthy snack. Boil the seeds in salted water then bake them in an oven. It’s good for you to snack on when you’re feeling peckish. Birds also love these seeds so if you have a bird feeder, you can get them a seasonal special meal!

Check out Hubub’s ebook on recipes to cook your pumpkin leftovers!


Turn them into pumpkin face masks

If you’re not a fan of eating your jack-o’-lanterns, you can use them to make a face mask to revitalise your skin instead! Why not make yourself a special spa day after a day of house decorating?

Pumpkins have many great benefits for your skin. With different recipes, you can nourish your skin in a simple way and even tackle different skin problems from ageing to acne breakouts. Try out the DIY pumpkin face mask recipes here and get all the benefits for your skin.

So what are the benefits of pumpkin face masks for your skin?

1. Pumpkins can help your skin fight against ageing

Pumpkins are extremely rich in vitamin A, which has antioxidant capabilities. Along with vitamins C and E, these can help you lighten age spots. Pumpkins are also rich in beta-carotene, which boosts collagen production and reduces wrinkles.

2. Pumpkins can protect your skin against sun damage and UV light

Vitamins A, C and E can also help you reverse UV damage. Since these vitamins can even out your skin pigmentation, they can reduce your sun spots and freckles.

3. Pumpkins can brighten your skin

Pumpkins contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and fruit enzymes that will break down and exfoliate dead skin cells. This can speed up the skin cell regeneration process, leaving your skin softer and brighter.

4. Pumpkins can soothe skin redness and fight against acne problems

A variety of nutrients in pumpkins can help with soothing your skin problems. It’s all thanks to zinc in pumpkin seed oil, as well as vitamin A. These have anti-inflammation properties that can soothe skin redness. Vitamin E in pumpkins can also fight against acne breakouts.

Compost them

It’s always best to recycle everything that’s left of a jack-o’-lantern but the last resort for pumpkin waste would be composting.

Pumpkins can take quite some time to decompose. A whole pumpkin, uncut, can take 8-12 weeks to decompose. This can be good for preserving your jack-o’-lantern by doing as few cuts as possible. However, this means it can take a long time to decompose if you throw it in your bin and send it to the landfill too. Not to mention the methane gas released that contributes to our atmosphere’s greenhouse gas.

One way to counter this situation is to compost the pumpkins. Composting them doesn’t make methane gas, and it can give nutrients to the soil for your garden too!

It’s easy to compost your pumpkin. You would only need to chop up your pumpkins into small pieces before they’re ready for composting. If you have a compost bin, put them in your bin, mix the content well and put some leaves on top.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a special bin for this, you can still compost the pumpkins by burying them in your garden. Spread out the pumpkins evenly in the garden and cover them with a layer of leaves and soil.

These all might sound like a chore but you can turn this into a fun autumn activity by hosting a pumpkin smash event. You can invite friends and family to bring their own jack-o’-lanterns and smash the pumpkins in the garden together before burying them! Kids in particular will have a fun time wrecking the pumpkins into tiny bits.

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