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Face masks, pet treats and other ways to reuse your pumpkin

Once the guisers have haunted your door and you’re probably still trying to get the last of the paint from your face (or possibly your kids), there are still a few tricks for getting the last treats out of Halloween.

Just as turkey sandwiches in the days after Christmas are part of the festive season, it’s likely that the pumpkin or turnip still has a bit more life in it. With 1.1 million of the 1.8 million pumpkins bought at Halloween chucked out afterwards, there’s a variety of things you can do that will be better than binning your lantern.

A total of 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and resources that went into producing, processing, transporting and cooking it. And then if food is sent to landfill it produces the climate-warming methane gas as it rots.

To combat what could be a terrifying amount of food waste, Zero Waste Scotland is highlighting nine alternative uses for pumpkins.

Pet treats

Instead of throwing your used pumpkin away, why not treat your fiendish four-legged friend this Halloween? Pumpkin leftovers are ideal for making dog biscuits. The White and Rice Couple’s recipe suggests pureeing the pumpkin and mixing it with sugar, eggs, oil, water and flax seeds then baking it in the oven. You can cut the dough into dog-friendly shapes. The full recipe can be found here

Ice cream

Food innovation experts at Abertay University have created a tasty and environmentally friendly treat by using pumpkins to make ice cream. No edible part of the pumpkin goes to waste, even the pumpkin seeds are roasted and used as a chopped nut substitute. Their recipe is easy to make at home, just grab an ice cream maker and your leftover pumpkins for some delicious ice scream. 

Pumpkin spiced beer

Looking to try something new during the dark nights? You could try your hand at making your own pumpkin flavoured beer at home. Flavoured beers have proved to be a popular trend and pumpkins will give the perfect taste of Halloween. The Telegraph has a handy guide for the equipment and ingredients you’ll need, plus the dos and don’ts.

Plant pot

Give your garden a natural autumn feel by using your leftover pumpkins as unique plant pots. Growing plants in used pumpkins is easy, just hollow them out and fill with potting soil. You could even use the smaller ones as flower pots. Gardening Know How has a full guide on how to grow a plant in a pumpkin.

Face mask

Trick and treat yourself by using your multi-vitamin pumpkin leftovers to create a homemade face mask. Make the most of your pumpkins by using the puree to revitalise your skin. Get the full recipe here.


Who doesn’t love a cocktail? Up your game with a pumpkin spice margarita that the whole party will enjoy – even after Halloween. There are loads of recipes online, including this one from Real House Moms.


Chop the pumpkin into chunks and add them to a curry for a hearty and easy-to-make dish. Get creative with the additions, from chicken to coconut. BBC Good Food has a pumpkin curry with chickpeas recipe.

Bird feeders

Be pump-kind to nature by turning leftovers into a homemade bird feeder. While the flesh of the pumpkin is great for soups and curries, the skin shouldn’t be overlooked either. Simply cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out as much flesh as possible and loop a wire through to hang your pumpkin bird feeder from a tree branch. Fill the hollowed pit with seeds to attract a variety of garden birds. See Gardener’s World for the full guide.

Hair conditioner

Give your hair a new lease of life with a homemade pumpkin hair conditioning treatment using your carving leftovers. The ScratchMommy blog says homemade pumpkin puree works wonders for dry hair. You’ll save a fortune on expensive hair products and cut down on your food waste at the same time. Find out more here.

So there you have it, nine ideas for making the most of your pumpkins while helping to save the planet. Which one will you try first?

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