Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Composting

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It’s that spooky time of year again when all big and little kids around my house turn into Halloween pumpkin carving maniacs! Not just one scary Jack-O-Lantern will do for this house…we always have to have one for each member of the tribe. Needless to say all this Halloween fun and games comes at the expense of a poor little ol’ pumpkin, the trash men, and landfills…ugh!

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Composting is easy…easier than bagging them up in a plastic bag and putting them in the trash, I promise!!
kids carving pumpkins on front decorated porch before halloween

Recycle or compost Halloween pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns!

Believe me, we go through more Halloween waste around here than I care to confess. From pumpkins to candy to candy wrappers, copy paper for the Jack-o-lantern cut outs, candles…need I say more? This fun holiday really creates a tremendous amount of trash in our landfills and it just doesn’t have to!

I truly believe most people are really interested in recycling/reducing their trash trail and Halloween Jack-O-Lantern composting is great place to start! It’s overwhelming how much information is out there; trust me when I state that I’m no recycling warrior! I’ve really tried to make a concentrated effort to recycle, reuse, and compost as many household items as I can think of but it’s A LOT of work and could easily be a full time job!! So we do what we can and try to improve as we go along.

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern composting made easy!

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty before I lose you guys to some really great easy to make pre-Halloween dinner (like my Drip Beef Recipe) ideas for the kids!

Jack-O-Lantern with lit candle at night on front porch

First of all, if you’re carving a pumpkin to put out on your front porch that probably means you have a yard of some sort. And I’m also going to assume for this suggestive recycling/composting guide you might have a bush or two in your yard; do you see where I’m going with this😉?

Where are you putting the pumpkin guts and cutouts?

I hate to admit it but I have been guilty of disposing the pumpkin guts in the worst way…in a plastic grocery bag then in the trash🤦‍♀️; I’ve done it…ugh…I’ve done it and still feel quilt about it?

Below are a few “better” suggestions for Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Composting :

  • Put the pumpkin innards, seeds, and cutouts in a kitchen bowl instead of directly in the trash can. This will make you think outside of your house and hopefully where you could dispose of them outside. I usually put them under a bush or in my vegetable garden and rake some leaves over them.
  • If you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds then that reuse is a no brainer! Save them from the pumpkin guts and roast them for a nutritious treat!

After the Jack has had his fun!!

Basically you do the same thing with the whole pumpkin but of course you just have more of it to dispose of.

After the Jack has had his laugh, take the candle or lite out before you compost him.

Smash or cut the whole jack-o-lantern up into smaller pieces. The easiest and less messy way is to smash right where you want to compost him. Under a bush, in the flower or veggie garden, or compost bin.

Rake leaves, grass clippings, veggie garden debris, dropped branches, or mulch over the top of the jack-o-lantern remains. You can also do this with those anniversary or birthday roses your sweetie brings home every year. What came from the earth should return to the earth, natural recycling!

surprise pumpkin from composting last years pumpkin in front yard

Big treasures from not throwing you’re spent Halloween pumpkins in the trash!

Now I bet you’re wondering where am I getting the whole recycling part of this blog. Look up👆 This is the number one benefit to recycling rather than throwing your used Jack-o-lanterns in the trash!!! This one appeared in July and made it all the way to the big day at the end of October!! We discovered it in our front flowerbed but who cares. It is a direct result of recycling the pumpkin.

Pumpkin vines are not only beneficial but also very attractive among other flowering plants. They’re beautiful blooms attract all kinds of pollinators and enhance the background of your other plants. I long ago got over the orderly, designed look of a flower garden.

Not only are they a wonderful, FREE addition to your garden, they are a super FREE soil enricher!! And that’s what plants need to thrive, it good, rich, fertile soil to live in.

My gardening taste have evolved from trying to outdo my neighbor in the quest for the most “beautiful” landscaped yard in the hood to the healthiest, most earth friendly, organic spot we can create. Check out my blog post on what I call Trash Gardening.

pumpkin vine in the backyard flower garden

Pumpkins are a favorite among the worm family!

Pumpkins are one of worms most favorite foods…just ask one😉! Seriously, if you just don’t want to smash and cover your left over spent Jack-o-lanterns then find a local vermiculturalist like my friend at The Texas Worm Ranch in Dallas and donate them. Below is a picture of a bed of worms loving their pumpkin food.

worm bin with composting pumpkin

Or you could ask one of your local plant nurseries if they would like to compost them. Or if you have a neighbor that gardens and compost; I’m sure they’d love the donation.

Lastly, If you’re afraid you will attract weird insects or small animals because of your new love of “spot” composting then fear not… Those critters are around anyway and they help in the process of composting! And believe it or not…Spot composting or regular composting of veggies and natural debris does not stink! Let me repeat that…It Does Not Stink!

Enjoy your new found way to help the environment and Happy Halloween!!!!

i'm not done yet jack-o-lantern face with tip for composting


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