With Halloween approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do with your Jack O’Lantern and fun ways you can help your kids see that there are always opportunities to be a little more eco-friendly.
Roast the Seeds
This is an old trick, but a yummy treat: When you’re carving your pumpkin, make a point of setting aside the seeds. Pumpkins are full of them! Place the seeds in a colander and rinse them under water to clean them off a bit. Put them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with a little seasoning like salt or cinnamon, and bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes or so. Now enjoy having your pumpkin and eating it too!
When it comes to lighting that Jack O’Lantern, you’ve got some options beyond the standard candles, which are often made from petroleum products, with wicks that can contain toxic chemicals. Think about the earth-friendly lights you may already have around.
Do you use strings of LED lights for added holiday cheer? Those are great in a pumpkin – give your creation the added kick of many differently colored points of light inside it, rather than just the traditional one.
How about a solar-powered pumpkin? If you have solar yard lights, consider putting one inside your pumpkin. Just remember to take it out and charge it outdoors each day so you’ll have plenty of light at night.
And if you do want to go traditional with the flickering flame of a candle, try one made from soy wax or beeswax rather than paraffin. and look for candles with an all-cotton wick for a cleaner burning flame.
So, Halloween has passed and you’re noticing your Jack O’Lantern’s smile is starting to sag. Time to put your pumpkin to work enriching the soil for anything you might want to grow next year. Before you start composting, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
You’ll want to remove any non-biodegradable items like melted wax, candles, or any decorations you might have attached. If you painted the pumpkin, shave those areas off.
And make sure all the seeds are out of it, or you might have pumpkins start growing out of your compost pile!
If you can smash the pumpkin up a little, that will help accelerate the composting process – and kids can have a lot of fun with this part!
No compost pile? Just bury small parts of the pumpkin in places where you plan to plant next year and let the soil enrich over the winter.
Even if you don’t have a yard or garden, you can still compost. Many cities and towns have drop-off points for pumpkins, so check locally to see what your options are.
What are your plans for an eco-pumpkin this year? We’d love to see what you’ve created! Leave a comment below!
For great ideas on recycling check out the following articles and guides:
- Earth911 Recycling Guides
- Browse all articles on recycling
- Find out where to recycle stuff in your area