That jack-o’-lantern on the porch isn’t glowing anymore, but it is probably starting to rot and look as out of place as Christmas lights in July.
Another Halloween has come and gone, but the holiday’s pumpkins may still have some use left.
Tammy Wright, director of Keep Forsyth County Beautiful, said an easy way to recycle that pumpkin is to let it decompose naturally.
“If you live in a wooded area, that’s just as simple as putting it out in the woods and letting it deteriorate,” she said. “If you have a compost pile, you can most definitely put it in that.”
A used jack-o’-lantern can also be thrown away if need be, but in a modern landfill it will take much longer to rot, Wright said.
“To me, unless you live in a subdivision where you just can’t sit it out, it just makes sense to me to let it sit out somewhere and let it decompose into the ground,” she said. “It just goes back into the soil and it adds nutrients to it.”
A smaller, uncarved pumpkin can be used to make delicious pies, said Jan Vandevelde, of the Forsyth County extension office. But once a pumpkin becomes a jack-o’-lantern, its pie days have past.
“They do tend to get moldy,” the master gardeners coordinator said, “so you wouldn’t want to chop them up and eat them at this point.”
Vandevelde said the seeds can be saved and planted for next year, but since most patch pumpkins are hybrids, the child pumpkin may not look anything like the one you purchased.
Most seeds shouldn’t be planted until the late spring or early summer to be ready in time to become jack-o’-lanterns, she said.
To use the seeds from your most recently carved creation, Vandevelde said, just wash them off, dry them out and put them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a silica gel packet until it’s time to plant them.
Plenty of speciality pumpkin seeds can also be purchased at stores, she said, from pink pumpkins to ones with stripes or warts.
The packages will have information about the best planting time.