The Frightful Truth About Halloween Pumpkins


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Most Halloween pumpkins end up in landfills (Credit: laurenrpadden/CC0/Pixabay)

Every October, families rush to pumpkin patches to pick out the perfect gourds. Some use them to carve spooky jack-o'-lanterns, while others place them outside their homes as decor. Unfortunately, the fascination with the colorful fruit fades once Halloween ends, and most pumpkins end up in the trash.

A 2020 poll conducted by the UK-based non-profit Hubbub found that over fifty percent of the 24 million Halloween pumpkins that British citizens bought that year were destined for the landfill. Things are no better in the US, where about a billion pounds of pumpkins get tossed out and left to rot in landfills annually. In addition to the massive amount of food waste generated, the rotting fruit also emits large amounts of methane — a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.

Hubbub's annual #PumpkinRescue campaign has been instrumental in reducing pumpkin waste (Credit:

Fortunately, this pollution problem is easy to solve. We can all help eliminate the food waste by keeping the edible portions of the fruit during carving. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a nutritious snack, while the flesh can be transformed into a delicious soup, a tasty puree, or a lip-smacking pie.

Once Halloween is over, drop your jack-o'-lanterns at a local compost collection center if possible. Better still, see if your city or town hosts a pumpkin smashing event and have fun tossing yours on the ground with your friends. Don't worry, the remains will be collected and composted once all the gourds have been smashed.

There are many other ways to ensure the fruit does not end up in landfills. Fill your hollowed-out pumpkins with grains and leave them in the yard or hanging from a tree for birds, squirrels, and other garden critters to enjoy. If your pumpkin is too far gone to salvage, bury it in your backyard — your garden will be all the happier for it.

Have a safe and sustainable Halloween!



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  • cloudgrape
    cloudgrapeabout 1 year
    Pumpkin seeds taste great! Even if it is spring, you should try them out. It's a great snack to share, or you can keep it to yourself!
    • cbice
      cbiceabout 1 year
      I don't like pumpkin seeds when not cooked & cooked no ofence
      • nevaeh13
        nevaeh13about 1 year
        • nevaeh13
          nevaeh13about 1 year
          pumpkin seeds are good
          • tennisplayer
            tennisplayerover 1 year
            I love roasted pumpkins seeds they are so good
            • cooloe17
              cooloe17over 1 year
              wow i actually never knew that, thats pretty interesting
              • basketballanime
                basketballanimeover 1 year
                wow yummy
                • kainorion
                  kainorionover 1 year
                  This is important to me because there is a lot of people dying of starvation and we are just throwing away food.
                  • kainorion
                    kainorionover 1 year
                    This is important to me because there are a lot of people dying of starvation in the world and we are just throwing away a lot of food.
                    • kainorion
                      kainorionover 1 year
                      This is important to me because there are people in the world dying of starvation and we are just throwing lots of food to waste.