Pumpkins After Halloween

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I want to share a few ideas for how to handle your pumpkins and gourds after they’re done as decorations.

Fresh Pumpkins

Pumpkins in good condition (not soupy or moldy) even if they’ve been carved can be donated to the Central Texas Pig Refuge or a similar organization in your area. No paint, stickers, glitter, or anything not meant for eating.

If you are in the Austin-area, you can drop good pumpkins off locally at the following address and local business owner Amanda Quick will oversee their delivery to the Central Texas Pig Refuge. You can drop off pumpkins anytime at the marked area on site. Setting them outside is perfect.
Dogs Around Austin
3404 Oak Springs Dr.
Austin, TX 78721
Email: amanda@dogsaroundaustin.com for pickup if you can’t drop off.

Pumpkins molding or “not edible” can be composted. They should be devoid of paint, stickers, glitter, or anything not meant for eating and that can’t break down into compost intended for plants. If you are backyard composting, I still recommend you remove all decorations despite how you’ll use your compost (i.e. plants vs. food).

Apartment and Condo Residents:
– City of Austin apartment and condominium composting and recycling information is located at here.
-The Texas Farmers Market at Mueller and Lakeline Mall accepts compost of a limited sort. Check their website for limitations. They’ve requested contributions be frozen or refrigerated to help reduce smell, and dropped off near the end of the event if possible. They don’t mind if it’s BPI-bagged or loose.
– If you have curbside composting service neighbors, consider asking if they’ll let you use their cart. Several apartment dwellers do this and it’s working out well. Most Mueller homes don’t fill up their compost carts so there’s usually room.
– The City of Austin recommends finding a community garden near you to drop off compost. Mueller’s community garden doesn’t currently have an open compost program, so check the website listed above for locations.

Captain Underpants Pumpkin will need to go in the trash, or at least his face will since it’s painted on. You could cut out his face for the trash, and compost his body.

Fresh pumpkins painted for decoration, or to designate homes participating and supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project which raises awareness of food allergies and the Purple Pumpkin Project which raises awareness of epilepsy, should be trashed. Side note, if you know of any other awareness pumpkin projects please let me know!

Plastic Pumpkins

Please store your plastic pumpkins safely and responsibly so they remain in good condition and last for many years. You should want to get your money’s worth and keep them out of the landfill as long as possible. If you start to see scratches or missing paint, consider borrowing/sharing paint or paint markers with your neighbors, friends and family for touchup. You can also always add a new coat of paint (and even change the color) if the plastic pumpkin really starts to show wear. If you don’t want to put in that effort, post the pumpkin to your local Nextdoor or Facebook Buy Nothing group for someone else to enjoy and repurpose.

Don’t forget to consider if you should pad the plastic pumpkins (and other decorations) to avoid bumps and scraps in storage, and think about how hot your storage area will be. Is there a chance the plastic could melt?

Happy Halloween! Be safe and have fun!

Image credits:
– Pigs eating pumpkins courtesy of Amanda Quick
– Decomposing jack-o-lantern from Recycled Paper Greetings card 02013-15

Captain Underpants Pumpkin done by a neighbor
– Unless otherwise noted (and unless I missed) all photos are taken by me.

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