Why you should care
Because who doesn’t want to feed a baby pig?
The ghosts and witches have flown. Your belly aches of candy. And everywhere — on your trick-or-treater-less front steps, leaf-strewn porch or even nestled among empty beer cans on your kitchen table — are pumpkins. What will you do with these bulbous, orange beasts? Turns out, much good, my friend.
Make pumpkin pickles
First check that your pumpkins aren’t sullied by candle wax or other foreign debris. Then chuck your grandma’s pie recipes, and try something exciting and fresh: pumpkin pickles. They’re as tangy as their cucumber cousins, but sweeter and heartier — and can be spiced up with additions like cinnamon and cloves. A great (and healthy) solo snack, they can also be paired with your favorite fall dessert or tucked into turkey sandwiches. Choose from one of many online recipes, and be prepared to wait two to three weeks before digging in.
Make a baby pig happy
“Pigs love pumpkins,” says Deborah Blum, the founder of Goatlandia, a farm animal sanctuary outside San Francisco. Her sanctuary tries to “get people to see animals as individuals rather than numbers,” while providing a space for farm animals that would otherwise be killed. Blum estimates that pigs as young as 3-4 months old can start eating pumpkins. And pumpkins aren’t just fun for the piggies; they’re full of nutrition and good for their teeth. Even a small sanctuary like Goatlandia, which has five pigs, could use least 20 pumpkins, carved or not, Blum says. So look up the farm animal sanctuary nearest you — many animals love noshing on pumpkins — and ask if it could use some. While dropping off your ex-jack-o’-lanterns, you might also enjoy some animal love.
Get some cardio
Take a field trip to the backyard, and get your heart pumping with some pumpkin bowling. For pins, many use TP rolls with ghost faces drawn on them, but we recommend empty tin cans painted Halloween– or Thanksgiving-style. Depending on the size of your leftover pumpkins, you might opt for a stack instead of the standard bowling setup. Both carved and uncarved pumpkins work, and slightly rotted ones just make it more fun. You may have to draw sticks to decide who gets to pick their pumpkin first. And the best part: The bumpier your lawn, the more challenging the game.
Pamper your face
Your skin can also reap the benefits of pumpkin, which is bursting with zinc, fruit enzymes, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acids. There are loads of recipes for pumpkin face masks, but pretty much any combination of mashed baked pumpkin, sugar (for exfoliation) and honey (for moisture) will do your skin wonders. We’re talking smoothing, brightening and moisturizing (maybe even whisking away a wrinkle or two). After letting it sit for 15-20 minutes, you’re free to lick it off your face. Good for boys and girls alike.
Start that compost pile
What better way to prepare for our next holiday than giving back to Mother Earth? Starting a compost pile now also ensures that you’re well-stocked on premium soil for your backyard plants for seasons to come. And pumpkins are a great first ingredient. Pick a sunny, out-of-the way area of your yard, and start with a layer of twigs a couple of inches deep. You’ll want to remove the seeds from your pumpkin (assuming you don’t want your own patch) and any non-biodegradable decorations like candles or sequins. Then invite a kid over to help you smash that thing. Finally, cover the chunks with a layer of leaves and some dirt, and let the process begin!
GO There: Watch Pigs Eat Pumpkins IRL
A special pumpkin feeding for the pig residents will take place during the Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration for the Turkeys on Sunday, Nov. 18, at its upstate New York shelter.