With Thanksgiving behind us, our attention turns to Halloween. Each year we prepare for the scariest of nights with a trip to the store in search of costumes, candy and decorations.  A favourite Halloween pastime is carving pumpkins. This is a great opportunity to have a little fun and show your creativity, but it can be a little wasteful.

Here are the top five tips ways to reduce waste and make the most out of your family jack-o’-lantern:

  1. Cook your seeds – place pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet. Wash them and add a little olive oil, salt and pepper for taste, or leave them as is for the natural pumpkin flavour.  Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 300 degrees F.
  2. Save your seeds to replant – set your seeds aside until spring and plant them once the weather is warm enough, usually by late May. Place along the edge of your garden and you’ll be able to grow your own pumpkin for the next Halloween.  It’s a great way to teach your kids about planting your own produce.
  3. Bake a pie – scoop out the insides of the pumpkin and make your own filling for a pie. There are a number of recipes available with a quick search online, including vegan and gluten-free. It’s e a tasty treat for the whole family.
  4. Make a bird feeder – turn your jack-o’-lantern into a bird feeder to help feed neighbouring birds. With a few simple supplies you can create a feast for our feathered friends.
  5. Compost – pumpkins are a great item to add to your compost bin. They break down within a few weeks and create nutrient-rich compost that’s great for your garden.

Now that you know how to reduce your Halloween waste, it’s time to hit the pumpkin patch in search of your next jack-o’-lantern. We recommend a trip to Terra Cotta Conservation Area’s Fall Festival where you can pick up a pumpkin and enjoy time outdoors while taking in the vibrant fall colours.

Happy carving!

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