More News:

October 30, 2019

Here's what to do with your Halloween pumpkins on Nov. 1

If your Jack-O'-Lantern survives Oct. 31, compost it; Or even better, bake with it, roast it, or cook with the fruit

Halloween Recycling
pumpkins recycling Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Pumpkins that survive Halloween without being smashed, do not need to be tossed in the trash. Your old jack-o-lantern can be composted or, even better, roasted, baked and pureed into delicious pumpkin treats.

If your pumpkin survives smashers prowling porches this week, you don't need to just throw it away after Halloween is over.

Every year, 2 billion pounds of pumpkins are available in the U.S., and 1.68 billion pounds end up in the trash every yearAnd fun fact: When pumpkins decompose in the trash, they release methane (as all food waste does) which, in part, contributes to climate change. 

Most pumpkins never get eaten — especially those that are decorated.

So I'm here to remind you that pumpkins are edible fruits with many yummy, environmentally-friendly uses. Here are a few ideas.


First, you can compost your pumpkin, along with all of your other kitchen scraps, right here in Philadelphia. You can actually compost in your own yard. Follow these guidelines and tips to compost in the city, via Clean PHL. 


If you are planning to carve your pumpkin, don't throw away the seeds inside. These babies are reliably delicious when roasted. Eat them as a snack, over a salad, baked onto muffins, or in a soup. Here's how to prep and cook, courtesy of the experts at Bon Appetit.

  1. Fill a bowl with water and swirl around the seeds, removing any pulp.
  2. Remove seeds and dry on a towel for about one hour. This allows them to crisp up in the oven!
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  4. Season your seeds with a pinch of salt, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and a seasoning of your liking. Examples: paprika, cayenne, pepper, za'atar, or cinnamon. 
  5. Roast until toasty, golden brown. Usually about 20 minutes.


Believe it or not, there are plenty tasty desserts to be made that do not cross over into pie territory. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin roll, and ginger pumpkin tart. You're welcome.


Think no further than puréed pumpkin, onions, and shiitake mushrooms. Try out Martha Stewart's Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe to use up that fleshy pulp. 

You can even cook pumpkin skin into french fries or chips. Who knew?!

Do well by your stomach — and the planet. Eat your pumpkin or dispose of it responsibly this year.

Follow Emily & PhillyVoice on Twitter @emily_rolen | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Add Emily’s RSS feed to your feed reader
Have a news tip? Let us know.