It’s hard to escape Halloween. You’ll struggle to walk into any shop or supermarket without crossing a spooky display – a luring skeleton looking back at you, stacks of sweets on offer and piles and piles of pumpkins.
If that isn’t enough to convince you how much the UK loves celebrating this ‘holiday’, our overall Halloween spend is reportedly expected to exceed £300m this year. That’s a lot of creepy costumes, sweets and pumpkins.
Now, you can reuse a costume – keep it for next year perhaps – sweets are treats and should last a bit longer than a few days, but what about all those pumpkins – are they just going to waste?
In my opinion, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins – a glowing Jack-o’-lantern poised the doorstep.
Pumpkin carving can be great fun and a nice cheap creative activity to keep both kids and adults entertained. One of our team members’ children painted our pumpkins a lovely Which? shade of red – and we’re reliably informed that they really enjoyed getting creative.
But, perhaps rather unsurprisingly, a recent study carried out by environmental charity Hubbub and Unilever found that around 15 million pumpkins, or 70% of those purchased, aren’t actually eaten after Halloween. Apparently, that’s enough for everyone for a bowl of soup for everyone in the UK; a pretty scary figure!
It’s seems a shame to see all these pumpkins go to waste. These large squashes are pretty versatile, while making brilliant decorations they can also be used for much more.
So here are just a few suggestions on how to using up your pumpkin:
Pumpkin puree: this seems to be the basis for pretty much any pumpkin product – using a food processor to puree your pumpkin, you’ll be able to make pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin ravioli or maybe just soup.
Also, apparently natural pumpkin face masks are a popular product made from this puree, organic and vegan friendly, plastering some of those natural vitamins on your face is said to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated? *Try at own risk, you may smell very pumpkin-y for the rest of the day.
Roast pumpkin seeds: these oven roasted snacks can be apparently enjoyed on their own or sprinkled over your meal, plus roasting them at home costs a fraction of the price of supermarket bought seeds. Maybe try vanilla, cinnamon and sugar to sweeten or add some heat with paprika and chilli. You could even offer the pumpkin seeds as a ‘Trick or Treat’ option, or is that a bit mean…?
Pumpkin pie: traditionally this is an American dish and probably for the more advanced baker. Vegetables are becoming a staple in modern baking recipes, added to muffins, cakes and even bread.
Garden usage: apparently the bowl-like bottom of the pumpkin can be re-used as a bird feeder. Pierce through some string and hang it up outside, voila! Pumpkins can also make useful flower pots for new seedlings, composting away over time.
Now, I’m sure there are lots of other ways to re-purpose your pumpkin and other Halloween paraphernalia – so, do you have any other top tips?