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15 Fun Things You Can Do With Your Pumpkin
15 Fun Things You Can Do with Your Pumpkin
We all know that pumpkins can be used for jack-o'-lanterns. But why just carve a pumpkin when you use it as a photo prop, bird feeder, or beautiful table centerpiece? Here are 15 fun things you can do with your pumpkin besides simply carving it.
Stop! Please Answer The Poll!
How many pumpkins do you usually carve for Halloween?
#1: Bird Feeder
Why should the birds get left out of the trick-or-treating action? They don't have to be any more with this pumpkin bird feeder.
- Pumpkin (approximately the size of a bowling ball)
- Bird seed
Cut off the top half of the pumpkin except for two "handles" on either side. The result should look like an upside-down football helmet. Then carve a hole into either handle. Tie the ends of the length of rope to the handles, fill the pumpkin with the feed, and you have yourself a bird feeder!
#2: Hamburger Bun Platter
Why serve your food from an ordinary platter when you can turn your pumpkin into a serving platter bun and serve food from it? This fun idea is perfect for barbecues and Halloween parties and looks great on a buffet table!
- Oven (for hamburger bun look)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut a vertical slice of about two inches from the midsection of the pumpkin. This will remove the stem of the pumpkin, while allowing both halves of the pumpkin to still fit together.
- Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin. If you are simply doing a pumpkin serving platter, you are done! Place your food inside one half, and place the other half over it as a lid. If you are making a "hamburger bun" serving platter, save the seeds and continue the directions.
- Spread out a handful of the seeds on the baking tray. Place in oven for 30 minutes.
- Take out seeds (they should now be dried) and glue them on the top "bun" of the pumpkin to resemble sesame seeds. Your serving platter bun is ready!
- You probably have some seeds left! Toss them with salt and olive oil and stick them back in the over for 20 more minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Then remove them and eat!
#3: Gift Basket
Make gift baskets out of your pumpkins. They make great gifts for teachers, mothers, grandmothers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, etc.
- Decorative supplies (for example, a permanent marker and a bandana)
- Gift stuffers, such as flowers, candy, baked goods, balloons, etc.
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside.
- Decorate the outside. Try playing off of a traditional jack-o'-lantern by drawing on a face and tying a bandana around its "neck." (Glue will be needed to hold the bandana in place.)
- Fill the pumpkin gift basket with gifts that remind you of the person to whom you will be giving the basket.
#4: Fireplace Decorations
Buy pumpkins of assorted shapes and sizes and paint them to make festive decorations for your fireplace.
#5: Smashing Pumpkins
How about some good ol' fashioned pumpkin smashing?
#6: Slip 'n Slide
After you do all that smashing, break out the slip 'n slide and have some more fun!
#7: Photo Props
Pumpkins can be used as photo props. Look at how cute it can be! Small dogs can also be used instead of the kids.
Use your pumpkin as a vase and turn it into a beautiful floral arrangement.
#9: Pumpkin Wagon
Decorate your lawn with a pumpkin wagon! This works just as well with miniature wagons.
#10: Candle Holders
Make candle holders out of your pumpkins, then fill them with pumpkin-scented candles to fill the home with the smell of fall.
#11: Plant and Grow
Start a pumpkin patch! This takes some time, but it's great to keep in mind for the upcoming Halloween. Plant your seeds in late May to early July. You can grow them in a plot or a five- or 10- gallon bucket located in full sun. If you do not have a lot of space, consider planting a miniature variety.
By the upcoming October, you will have your own pumpkin patch.
Paint your pumpkins, then dress them up with fun things like hats, wigs, ribbon, and straw. This is a great rainy day project for the kids.
#13: Place Card Holders
Let everyone know where to sit with these cute little pumpkins—a great idea for weddings, dinner parties, Thanksgiving dinner, and Halloween parties. An added perk is that everyone gets to go home with a gift!
If you have ever stepped into a Trader Joe's around October, you can attest: there are an endless number of pumpkin recipes. You can make pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin soup (yum!), but that's just scratching the surface. The Pumpkin Cookbook, below, is an entire book of pumpkin recipes, so that you never run out of ideas. But first, here's a recipe for a classic:
Pumpkin Pie Recipe Using Fresh Pumpkin
- 9-inch pie shell
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 c brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 c mashed pumpkin
Mashed Pumpkin Directions:
- Cut the pumpkin in half.
- Clean the insides of all seeds and strings.
- Cut the remaining pumpkin into chunks.
- Boil a pot of water.
- Add 1 1/2 pounds of the pumpkin chunks to the water and wait for the water to return to a boil.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin has turned soft and tender (you can test this by inserting a fork).
- Drain the water out and use a large spoon to scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peels.
- Mash the pumpkin flesh with a potato masher or a food processor.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the dry ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt) in a small bowl.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
- Add the pumpkin and dry ingredients to the large bowl.
- Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
- Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
- Bake the pie sat 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes (until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean).
Enjoy your homemade pie!
#15: Silly Lawn Decorations
Surprise your neighbors with silly lawn decorations!