Once Halloween is past what does one do with old scary Jack and his faceless orange friends? You can keep uncarved pumpkins as decoration until after Thanksgiving for decoration, but every pumpkin has an expiration date.
If you just ignore them, you'll find yourself with a bad smelling rotting pumpkin on the stoop and scrubbing in vain to remove the stains left by the decomposing juices.
What To Do With Jack-O-Lanterns?
While the possibilities for uncarved pumpkins (which we will talk about further down) are endless, you can't do much with Jack-o-Lanterns after Halloween. If the flesh has been exposed to the outdoors, dirty hands, or had a candle burning in it half the night you can't exactly bake it into a pie.
Throw it Away
This is the obvious, boring option. Since the internal integrity of a carved pumpkin has been compromised bacteria will get at it more quickly and it will rot within days. If you don't want to do any of the more fun things that can be done with a carved pumpkin, just throw it out as soon as possible before it starts to stink and stain.
Even if you live in the city with a tiny yard, you can still keep a compost heap, even if it is kept in a barrel to prevent it from smelling. Composting a carved pumpkin is one of the more Earth-friendly options. If you don't have a compost heap, but do have a garden dig a hole and bury the pumpkin in the ground. It will decompose quickly and without any bad smells down there while leaving the soil enriched with nutrients.
Throw Jack to the Birds
If you have chickens (or in my families case, peacocks) or any sort of game bird they enjoy pumpkins just as much as they enjoy watermelon rinds. Cut the Jack-o-Lanterns into fourths and toss it into the coop. By the end of the day, the rinds will be pecked down to the bone and the rest can be composted or thrown away.
Be sure not to use moldy pumpkins though, for the safety of the birds. Also, if you used a real candle be sure to remove any wax or scorched areas before feeding old Jack to the birds.
If you don't have any game bird, you can also toss it into the yard either filled or sprinkled with bird seed or bread crumbs. You can bet that your yard will be the talk of the town in the bird community. Winter is coming and they are looking for any and all food during the autumn months.
Throw a Pumpkin Smashing Party
If nothing else, the most fun way to give that Jack-o-Lantern a proper good bye is to destroy it. This is especially popular if you have older kids. Nothing soothes teenage rage like destroying pumpkins. You can limit this to just the carved pumpkins present in your yard, or get the neighbor hood involved, bringing their pumpkins over and destroying them in a fun way.
Your neighborhood can even make a game out of it, to see who can destroy Jack in the most creative way. This is also a good time to break out those leftover 4th of July firecrackers, but handle with care.
Of course, after they have been thoroughly destroyed, it is a bigger clean up but it was worth it, right?
What To Do With A Whole Pumpkins?
If you pick up a pumpkin and forgot or just didn't want to carve it for Halloween, they will make nice outdoor decorations all the way up to Thanksgiving providing that it doesn't frost too badly. However, why just let that nice piece of décor sit out there and rot away. After all, it's a perfectly good and useable fruit (yes, pumpkins are a fruit).
Cook It Up
This is an obvious one, as soon as September rolls around every restaurant from Starbucks to McDonald's starts slinging out an annoying amount of pumpkin flavored things. The recipes one can make from this fall fruit is not just limited to pie made from canned pumpkin, but it can be turned into anything from cocktails (Pumpkin vodka, it's not bad) to butter.
Even if you don't feel like cooking with it at the time, whip up a quick puree, freeze it and use it later. To make a pumpkin puree Start by cutting your pumpkin down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and guts, and set them aside for later.
Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Then, simply scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor.
Don't forget to bake and season the seed for a surprisingly delicious snack as well.
Give that hollowed out shell one last hurrah before throwing it out by turning it into a bowl for soup or, if you are having a party, for dip. The process is simple.
Place your hollowed-out pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush the insides and the tops with a little vegetable oil, and season as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. After dinner is over, simply toss them in the trash or the compost heap.
Create a Face Mask
Pumpkins have tons of great vitamins like vitamin A, C, E along with alpha hydroxy acid and anti-oxidants which are all fantastic for the skin. Create a puree then use a couple of spoonfuls along with some milk (which is a great exfoliate) to create a great smelling and great for you face mask.
Just rub it on and let it set for 20 minutes before washing it off and your skin will be nutrient enriched and baby smooth.
This is much like the above idea of feeding ol' Jack-o-Lantern to the bird. If you don't enjoy pumpkin seeds, leave them inside and cut a fist-sized hole in the top of the fruit. If you have even a few squirrels in the area, they absolutely love pumpkin seeds. The is a fun time to be had by all to watch squirrels fight over the right to crawl into that small hole to get the treasure inside.