Face masks, bird feeders and puddings: Imaginative ways to use up Halloween pumpkins

30 October 2020, 16:53 | Updated: 30 October 2020, 20:42

Don't throw your Jack O'Lanterns in the bin - put them to good use!
Don't throw your Jack O'Lanterns in the bin - put them to good use! Picture: Getty
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

We love a Halloween Jack O'Lantern, but did you know there is so much more you can do with the orange globes once the night of spooktastic fun is over?

Everyone loves pumpkins come the end of October - but there's so much more you can do with them apart from carve them out and put a candle in them.

It's estimated that 20,000 tonnes of plastic and food waste are sent to landfill each year due to Halloween celebrations - and even more shocking, a whopping 42 per cent of people know that the inside of a pumpkin is edible!

Research by SkipsAndBins.com found that 8 MILLION pumpkins are thrown away every year - it is food waste at its worst.

If you're looking for ideas for what to do with your pumpkin 'meat' (that's the terms for the fleshy and stringy innards) or burnt out Jack O'Lantern, then these ideas might give you food for thought...

Get baking!

Come November 1 there will be a lot of sad pumpkins needing to be used up
Come November 1 there will be a lot of sad pumpkins needing to be used up. Picture: Getty

We have previously shared recipes for how to make pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice lattes at home, but there is so much more you can do with these versatile - and delicious - fruits.

The team at Coffee Direct shared this recipe for a Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 10


250g all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

244g leftover pumpkin, pureed (to do this, roast your leftover pumpkin until soft and put into a food processor until blended smooth)

100g dark brown sugar

120ml melted coconut oil

82g maple syrup

60ml milk

Coffee Glaze:

200g powdered sugar

1 ½ tablespoons strong brewed coffee, any espresso-type coffee should work.

This pumpkin and coffee cake is a real treat
This pumpkin and coffee cake is a real treat. Picture: Coffee Direct


1) Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease or use non-stick baking spray to prepare a 9-inch square baking pan.

2) Sift the flour in a bowl, and to it whisk in the baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt until combined.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the pureed pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil and milk until combined.

4) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir, but do not overmix.

5) Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. If you would like to make PumpkinCoffee Muffins, simply divide the batter evenly into a greased muffin tray.

6) Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7) For the Coffee glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and coffee in a small bowl until smooth.

8) Be sure the cake has almost cooled completely before drizzling the coffee glaze on top. If the cake is too warm, the glaze will run off the cake.

Make a face mask

Who doesn't love a pumpkin face mask?
Who doesn't love a pumpkin face mask? Picture: Getty

Don't worry, we aren't talking about the 2020 meaning of face mask - although some pumpkins are definitely big enough to fit your head inside - but the self-care version.

Beautylish shared an, um, recipe for a bright orange face pack that is sure to leave you glowing like a well rested witch.

They explain: "As it turns out, pumpkins are great for your skin—they’re loaded with vitamins A, C, and E (all known to fight wrinkles) plus heaps of beta-carotene, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants, which can help eliminate redness.

"This face mask recipe takes full advantage of the king of autumn produce. It’s refreshing and tingles juuust the tiniest bit when you first apply it, and leaves your complexion fresh and glowing."

Mix two tablespoons of pumpkin puree with 1/2 teaspoon of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of milk (dairy or vegan alternative).

Apply on to clean skin, and after letting it set for 20 minutes, wash off and apply your favourite moisturiser.

If Halloween night was a bit rough, then this might be the perfect hangover activity.

Feed it to animals

Squirrels love pumpkin, and will happily eat your jack o'lantern once Halloween is over
Squirrels love pumpkin, and will happily eat your jack o'lantern once Halloween is over. Picture: Getty

The RSPCA has suggested that people leave out chopped up pumpkin for wildlife to enjoy.

They said: “Once Halloween is over, we’d urge people who have been celebrating to not waste their carved pumpkins by simply chucking them in the bin.

“Lots of animals – including wildlife – love to eat pumpkin; so we’re urging people not to waste them but to feed them to the wildlife in their gardens or perhaps even to their pets.

“Squirrels, foxes, badgers and birds all enjoy them, so people could leave chopped up pumpkin outside in dishes for wild animals to eat if they choose. Wildlife can struggle to find food this time of year so some chunks of tasty pumpkin could be very welcome.

“Pigs and chickens, too, also like the fruit – so anyone keeping these as pets could chop up their old Jack-o’-lantern for them.

"They make great enrichment for pigs and chickens – although it should only be given to them if it hasn’t been through a kitchen first, as it is illegal to feed waste food to livestock and farm animals.”