MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Happens To Unsold Halloween Pumpkins?

Now that the spooky season is officially over, the public’s demand for pumpkins plummets. And that means all those displays you’ve seen at area grocery stores & farms become economically (and literally) rotten. So, what happens to unsold pumpkins once Halloween is over?

Some pumpkin farms use their unsold inventory as compost to increase soil nutrients & act as fertilizer, which is one of the most environmentally conscious ways to use them. Plus, the pumpkin seeds can also end up essentially planting themselves, sprouting fresh inventory for the following season.

If they’re not used in composting, farms with livestock can use pumpkins as feed, since cows & pigs will happily gorge on pumpkins. However, if pumpkin dealers don’t stock animals, they may wind up donating their pumpkins to local zoos, where they get used as food…or entertainment (The Oregon Zoo has elephants that it lets stomp pumpkins to amuse visitors, as well as the other animals). There are also some farms that encourage pumpkin bashing, as well. Like The Country Barn in Lancaster, PA, which permitted visitors to use sledgehammers to demolish pumpkins or launch them into the air, all as part of their Pumpkin Demolition Day last year.

But what about you & me? What should we, the everyday consumers, do with our now freshly obsolete pumpkins? Well, the main issue is that it’s not okay to feed carved and/or painted gourds to animals. While can eat raw pumpkin, it’s usually not the best idea, since it can present a choking hazard & could even generate an intestinal blockage in your furry friend. You should also avoid feeding your pet pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with additives (including sugar).

Whatever you do, do your best to avoid just throwing your pumpkins away, if at all possible. Because pumpkins left to decompose in a landfill release methane gas into the atmosphere. What would be best would be to try & find someone in your area (friend, family member, neighbor, etc.) who has a compost bin. That is, if you don’t already have one yourself. (And, I mean, c’mon…who doesn’t have their own personal compost bin, am I right?)

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me an email:  [email protected].