DENVER (KDVR) — After the sunny fall weather leaves and the cold and snow move in, the pumpkin on your front porch might not be doing so well. Before trash day arrives, make sure you consider how to properly dispose of your pumpkins.

Instead of just throwing your pumpkin in the trash, there are plenty of sustainable ways to reuse a pumpkin, including cooking with it or planting it.

If you are indeed ready to say goodbye to your pumpkin, though, don’t just let it rot on your porch after Halloween. Instead, follow these eco-friendly practices.

How to throw out your pumpkins


  • Compost
    The National Wildlife Federation recommends composting the pumpkin. You can do this by cutting it up into pieces and leaving it in a composting area in your yard. Covering with leaves allows the nutrients to soak into the soil. Local composting programs are also available throughout the country.
  • Donate them to ranches
    Local ranches will take pumpkins as animal feed. However, if there is paint or wax on the pumpkin, the ranches won’t take it because it’s toxic to the animals, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • Pumpkin drop-off events
    CPW also recommends pumpkin drop-off events if you don’t want to compost the pumpkins yourself. Many communities host events every year.


  • Leave out your pumpkin for wildlife
    Though some people create “snack-o’-lanterns” to feed critters such as birds and squirrels, be aware that leaving your pumpkin out can attract unwanted wildlife as well, said CPW. Bears are especially attracted to pumpkins as they are looking to add on a few more pounds before the winter season.
  • Feed your pumpkin to wildlife
    While you can donate your pumpkin to a ranch, CPW asks people not to feed it to wildlife themselves. With multiple animals congregating at a feeding source, it can actually spread disease and hurt more than help.

Use these tips to sustainably dispose of your pumpkin, but keep in mind that with Thanksgiving right around the corner, pumpkin pie is also a good option.