A whopping 18 thousand tonnes of pumpkin gets thrown away in the UK after Halloween each year. That’s a huge amount of waste, so why not do your bit this year and help wildlife with your family’s spooky leftovers?

If your pumpkin is fresh it’s a great ingredient for soups and stews, but if yours is looking a bit worse for wear there’s no need to throw it away. Here are a few of our favourite ways to reuse jack-o’-lanterns.

Make a pumpkin bird feeder

This craft works as a hanging feeder or you can place it on your bird table.

  1. Take off the lid of your jack-o'-lantern. If you have a fresh pumpkin, cut the top off and scoop out the insides. Make sure to save the seeds - we've got ideas for using these below.
  2. To make a hanging feeder, make some holes in your pumpkin and push strong sticks through so they jut out either side. These will become perches for birds.
  3. Tie a piece of string of each stick, the tie all the lengths of string above the pumpkin.
  4. Hang your feeder from a sturdy branch.
  5. Fill the pumpkin with bird seed and watch to see if you get any hungry visitors.

Remember to clean out the feeder every few days and put the pumpkin on the compost heap once it starts to rot, otherwise it could harm the birds.

Feed minibeasts

It’s not just birds that could benefit from your leftover pumpkin, it will provide a feast for creepy crawlies too.

Chop your pumpkin into chunks and bury them about 25cm deep in your garden. Don’t forget to remove any seeds unless you’d like your own pumpkin harvest next year! Insects and worms will feed on the pumpkin and recycle its nutrients into the soil, making it extra fertile.

What to do with pumpkin seeds

Do birds eat pumpkin seeds?

Birds love all kinds of seeds, pumpkin included, so you could save the seeds and put them in your feeder. Dry them out first by putting them in the oven at 180C/gas 4 for about ten minutes. You can help smaller birds by breaking them up a bit before you put them out.

Toasted pumpkin seeds recipe

If you fancy having a snack yourself, why not rustle up these tasty toasted pumpkin seeds with cinnamon?

  1. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan and add clean pumpkin seeds.
  2. Add cinnamon and sugar and mix well.
  3. Spread the seeds on a baking tray and pop in an oven preheated to 180C/gas 4.
  4. Bake for around ten minutes, let cool and enjoy!
family walking in autumn woodland

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