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: Hubbub.org.uk)

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!

Resources: sciencealert.com, theatlantic.com, hubbub.org.uk

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191 Comments
  • hello0987654321
    hello0987654321about 2 months
    my family made pumpkin seeds with the seeds and they were very good!
    • douie8
      douie8about 2 months
      cool
      • hayden2011
        hayden2011about 2 months
        Nice article.
        • sunxmoon
          sunxmoonabout 2 months
          YUM! I LOVE PUMPKIN BREAD AND PUMPKIN PIE!!!!
          • vysurizi-160028320030
            vysurizi-160028320030about 2 months
            I like my pumky pie it taisty
            • fuzzydash9
              fuzzydash9about 2 months
              Wow! I never knew pumpkins can be so bad for earth:0
              • cjrulestheworld
                I don’t really like pumpkins they look good as spooky stuff but I would never it them sorry.
                • weebgurltbhk
                  weebgurltbhk2 months
                  I-i-i did not know anything about his before wow
                  • ponygirl11
                    ponygirl112 months
                    I hope you all enjoyed this Halloween! I did not get to go trick or treating this Halloween or last year but I had a lot more fun than I do trick or treating. We went to a Halloween party instead. I still got a loooooooot of candy from my Mamaw and Papaw so yeah thanks Mamaw and Papaw so much for the candy.please like this👍
                    • dapro
                      dapro2 months
                      Why do people throw these out? Pumpkin Pie is sooo good