Pumpkins and the environment: Tips for sustainable jack-o-lanterns

With Halloween just around the corner, the vintage truck in front of Ski Haus Conoco is loaded down with pumpkins just in time for the spooky holiday.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

There are so many tips and tricks about carving pumpkins and some of them relating to wildlife and the environment can get a little confusing or just be incorrect. So, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the time to set the record straight and offer suggestions about pumpkin decorum when relating to wildlife.

In towns surrounded by wildlife such as those in Routt County, it’s hard to avoid wildlife, so why try? Embrace the animals and consider your jack-o-lantern a decoration and a snack for critters such as squirrels, raccoons, moose, deer, foxes and more. 

Sometimes, people try to prevent or postpone a pumpkin rotting. Avoid chemicals and just let nature take its course, U.S. Fish and Wlidlife suggests in a Facebook post. However, if you do choose to use a substance to postpone decomposition, carefully follow instructions for your own safety. 

Getting rid of a pumpkin is the easiest part. There are so many options! You could bury it, leave it for animals, or compost it. Uncarved pumpkins can hang around longer, through the fall and early winter season. 

Make the most of a pumpkin purchase by using the seeds, make a pumpkin puree, or give it to someone with more time or culinary talent than yourself.

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