Snack-O-Lanterns! Don’t Throw Out That Jack-O-Lantern Just Yet!
Sad but true, Halloween is officially in the rear-view-mirror for 2022. While we really should stop avoiding getting those cobwebs off the wall since they no longer 'fit the decor' and begin the process of taking down the Halloween decorations, think twice before you toss that pumpkin or jack-o-lantern into the trash!
According to Forbes, each year in the U.S. more than 900,000 TONS of pumpkins are produced, and approximately 500,000 tons are thrown away. Instead of adding to that number, consider recycling your pumpkin for a great use this fall season.
Jack-O-Lantern Turned Snack-O-Lantern For Hudson Valley Wildlife
While I can't take credit for the whole 'snack-o-lantern' thing, the National Wildlife Foundation has outlined some tips on how to take your Halloween decor and turn it into food for your local wildlife. Here's the scoop:
- Have an un-scooped pumpkin? If you haven't yet cut into your pumpkins, you can scoop out the seeds and let them dry. Once dried, you can put them out for birds and other small animals.
- Already cut into your gourd? You can always turn those carved pumpkins into pumpkin feeders - if they're still in good shape, meaning firm and not squishy, just fill them with seeds for birds or squirrels.
- Of course you can chop up your pumpkin and leave it out for local wildlife, like squirrels, foxes and deer, even the neighborhood bear might swing by for a snack. Pro-tip, put the cut up pumpkin in a wooded area or a spot that isn't right up against your home (or your neighbors) - because leaving this snack out WILL attract all sorts of animals to your yard!
Other Pumpkin Uses & Tips To Keep In Mind
If you've painted or colored your pumpkin, it isn't a good idea to put those out for animals to snack on due to the toxins and such in the paint or glitter. If you have a decorated or painted pumpkin you can always cut off the decorated parts and then put out the rest for the animals or use for composting. Similarly, wax coated pumpkins and pumpkins that had a real wax candle burning inside are not safe for animals to consume.
There's also farms that may soon be asking for the Hudson Valley's leftover pumpkins, not only to feed the farm animals, but to use for their own composting.