The countdown to costumes, candy and creative frights is down to its final hours. Halloween will soon be upon us and while great consideration has been given to every detail of the night, you may not have thought about what to do with your pumpkin(s) once the celebration is over. Provided it’s left uncarved (most carved pumpkins are no longer safe to eat after 24 hours) we’ve got you covered with ideas for what to do with your leftover ghoulish gourd.

DSCN3162

Photo Credit to Finegardening.com User, howardsj.

1. The Perfect Planter

A pumpkin planter is the best use for a carved jack-o-lantern (you could also use an uncarved pumpkin, but make sure you save all the stringy-fleshy bits and seeds if you do). Simply choose a plant that is hearty enough to survive the California winter, pack some planter soil inside the pumpkin and around the plant, and you’re done! You can either leave it out for others to enjoy (while the carved pumpkin lasts) or dig a hole and get the planter decompose and feed your new plant.

pumpkin_puree

Photo Credits to Flickr user, whitneyinchicago.

 2. Pumpkin Purée

Our favorite fall recipe ingredient! And the good news is, you can make your own quite easily with any uncut pumpkins you have left over from Halloween. Simply cut off the top and make a cut down the middle, splitting it in half. Next, remove the fleshy bits and seeds. Add a cup of water to a baking pan and set one half on the baking pan with the outside of the pumpkin facing up. Bake it at 350°F for 60-90 minutes, just until the fleshy side is tender.

Once it’s ready, pull it out and grab a spoon or ice-cream scooper and scoop out all that pumpkin-goodness. Add the scoops to a food processor and purée until smooth. The best part is that it’s ready to be used in a dish right away, or it can be stored in the freezer so you can get through the holidays without purchasing any canned purée from the store!

Photo Credits to Busted Bottom

Photo Credits to Busted Bottom

 

3. Pumpkin Stock

There’s no better time for hot soup than the holiday season and with the innards of your pumpkin, you’ll be making some really great stock in no time! Do yourself a favor and separate the seeds from the other fleshy bits, as the seeds can be saved for other uses.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large pot
  • 1 colander
  • 1 big bowl
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Assortment of vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, garlic, leeks, etc)
  • 6-8 cups of water

Add the olive oil, pumpkin scraps and assortment of vegetables to the warm pot and cook them for a few minutes. Add the water and let the entire dish simmer for 30-60 minutes before straining into the big bowl. Voilà! You now have a great stock for your holiday feasts.

Photo Credit to Allison and petit elefant.

Photo Credit to Allison and petit elefant.

 

 4.  Pumpkin Facial

While a little unconventional, pumpkins don’t need to be eaten to be good for your body. With the help of a food processor, turning a pumpkin into a facial cream is quite simple. Mix 4-5 teaspoons of purée with 2-3 teaspoons of brown sugar (which will naturally exfoliate your skin) and add a splash of milk. In circular motions, rub the mixture on your face while avoiding your eyes. Then relax for the next 30 minutes. That pumpkin purée is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and zinc, so not only will you smell good afterward, your skin may also show an improvement!

1960831471_4a82f65f78_o

Photo Credits to Flickr user, justgrimes.

5. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We saved the best for last! Roasted pumpkin seeds are a favorite fall time snack. To start, get the seeds as clean as possible and set them in a mixing bowl. Toss in 2 tablespoons of butter (or olive-oil) and any variety of spices you find tasteful. To satisfy a sweet-tooth, try adding healthy portion of cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Or you could add salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper for a more spicy variation. Roast the seeds at 375°F for 20-30 minutes or until they’re toasted. You’ll be left with a great snack to selfishly indulge or share!

 

While these are only a few of the multitude of uses for a post-Halloween pumpkin, we think these are the five that everyone should be aware of. What do you think? Do you plan to have your pumpkin serve another purpose other than what I’ve listed?