Don’t just toss those decaying jack-o-lanterns and the decorative gourds that have run their course! There’s lots of creative things that you can do with them, including educational activities, crafts, and ones that even help the environment.
Let kids get messy digging a hole and place the pumpkin in there. It will decompose and add nutrients to the soil!
Create a backyard buffet
Chop the pumpkin up in small pieces and set it out in your yard or in a nearby forest to create a feeding frenzy for squirrels, deer and other wildlife.
Make a pumpkin planter
After carving your pumpkin, dip it into a vinegar solution of one part vinegar, four parts water. This will keep it from rotting too quickly. After Halloween, fill it with soil (you can put a burlap cloth inside it if yours has lots of holes from carving to stop the soil from coming out of the openings. Plant a fall bloom like mums, and voila! A fun planter. You can bury the stem top.
Host a “Pumpkin Smash”!
Release some energy by demolishing your jack-o’-lanterns. Invite friends or neighbors over and have them bring demolition tools like hammers or just stomp on them. You can also climb up a ladder and drop them from the top to see how easily they break open. You can compost all the pieces once done!
Feed the birds
Cut the jack-o’-lantern into a bowl shape and fill it with bird feed. You can simply place it on the ground and then watch for birds to come and devour their food! You can also make
hanging bird feeders with gourds. Slice the gourd in half, width-wise, to create a bowl shape. Spoon out the insides. Carefully poke two long wooden skewers into and through the sides of the gourd so that they cross in the middle, leaving about 2 inches of each skewer on the outside of the gourd. Tie twine or thick string to each 2 inch piece of skewer – make sure knots are strong. Tie the four ends of strings together, leaving extra string at the end so that you are able to tie it around a branch. Fill with bird feed and place outside a window for winter bird watching!
Slice your gourd in half from top to bottom. You can leave seeds in our scoop them out; leaving the seeds in will create a more textured stamp. Put different colored paints in paper plates, and dip the flat part of gourd in them. Stamp the gourd onto paper to make fun designs. Have fun mixing up colors to create a cool printmaking project!