What happens to those creatively-carved porch pumpkins once Halloween is over?
Your grinning gourds don’t have to languish outdoors, much less be smashed to bits by wayward tricksters. One animal sanctuary in Ohio is actually asking for people’s post-Halloween pumpkins. And it’s not an attempt at adding a spooky ambiance for the animals to enjoy, the pumpkins provide entertainment and nutrition for the sanctuary’s pigs.
“We love receiving donations of pumpkins after Halloween,” the Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary posted to Facebook. “Not only do pumpkins provide a tasty treat, they are a source of enrichment. Many times we offer the pumpkin whole and let the piggies roll it around the yard and get a workout breaking it open. Cracking the pumpkin open and hiding the pieces around the yard is another great enrichment opportunity.”
“Your pumpkin donations are a treat for the belly and for the mind,” the sanctuary added.
Sanctuaries around the country are happy to accept these juicy orange treats on beheld of their animals, but there is a little preprocessing you should consider before handing your pumpkins over.
“If folks want to donate their pumpkins, they can be carved but can’t have candle residue in them or show any signs of rotting,” Lizz DeFeo, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary’s marketing manager, told The Dodo. “Fully intact pumpkins or carved is totally OK though!”
If you live in a rural area and don’t know of any animal sanctuaries or rescue groups nearby, you may find your pumpkins provide a nice seasonal treat for woodland creatures like deer and squirrels. Clean up your pumpkins after the big day and put them in the woods for the animals to enjoy.
The National Wildlife Federation blog offers up another pumpkin idea that will please your feathered friends, as well; turn your jack-o-lantern into a snack-o-lantern for birds and squirrels!
“Just make sure to only use fresh pumpkins (if they’ve begun to mold, composting them is a better idea) and to only fill them with enough seed for the wildlife to eat within a few days to prevent the seed from becoming moldy,” the NWF reports.
The pumpkin seeds are especially tasty to birds and small mammals. Moreover, those that aren’t gobbled up may provide you with a plentiful pumpkin crop the following year, and that means flowers for important pollinators like the squash bee.
With a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, your outdoor animal friends don’t have to miss out on the Halloween treats!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →