We finally got around to carving pumpkins last weekend, and before we did I searched for ways to make carved pumpkins last longer. Yep, I put in the work of looking up different tricks to maximize the life of our creations, and wouldn't you know it, I didn't use a single one of them. Our pumpkins have been outside for only five days and they've already starting to turn. I figured they only needed to last a week so I didn't even follow my own advice that I was giving to everyone. Lesson learned.

Photo: Ryan Nelson

What do YOU do with your old pumpkins?

Halloween is this weekend and once Monday hits we'll all be looking to toss our pumpkins out as fast as we can. I guess the natural follow up to my list of ways to extending the life of your pumpkin is to share some ways to get rid of them. Take a minute to weigh a few options before you just throw your pumpkins in the garbage. Did you know that landfills give off methane when organic things (like pumpkins) are buried? And as you can imagine, a lot of pumpkins end up at the dump as people look for the easiest way to get rid of them.

Here's a few ideas of how to avoid the landfill

A quick search of alternative ways to dispose of pumpkins offers up a lot of suggestions:

- cut pumpkins into pieces and feed to wildlife
- leave the pumpkin seeds for wildlife
- plant seeds to grow future pumpkins
- donate them to a zoo so they can be fed to the animals
- make pumpkin puree
- make pumpkin bread
- cut them up and compost them
- fill with birdseed and use as a feeder
- put a plant in the pumpkin and bury it in the ground, the pumpkin will deteriorate and fertalize the plant

Where to drop off pumpkins in Missoula

If the easiest thing for you to do is just drop your pumpkin off somewhere and be done with it.....you can do that at a few places around Missoula! Soil Cycle is doing their Pumpkin ReHarvest again this year and have multiple places for you to drop off pumpkins so they can be fed to animals at Turner Farms.

Drop-off sites:
Soil Cycle: 736 S. 1st. W.
Southgate Mall: 2901 Brooks St.
Rockin' Rudy's: 237 Blaine St.
Caras Nursery: 2727 S 3rd St W.

Bins will be on location at each site from November 1 - November 6. It's asked that you remove any extra items from the pumpkins including candles and toothpicks. And the collection sites are just for plain pumpkins, not painted pumpkins.

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