Zero Waste Jack-O-Lanterns

Author: Rachel  Date Posted:29 October 2023 

The scariest part of Halloween is all the extra waste it creates! The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns each Halloween sees tonnes of extra food waste head to landfill each year. Here's how you can join the trend without contributing to greenhouse gas from food waste.



Are you one of the more than 5.3 million Australians preparing to celebrate Halloween this year? Or, at least, are feeling compelled to get on board because of a relentless 8-year-old?

If so, you might be tempted to have a gruesome, carved, snarling pumpkin face spookily luminated by the light of an internal candle adorning your front porch.

If you're jumping on the jack-o-lantern carving trend, you’re not alone! According to research from Roy Morgan, Australian supermarkets are set to sell more than ONE MILLION KILOGRAMS of pumpkins this year (2023).

The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns sees an estimated 500,000 Tonnes of pumpkins head to landfill just in America each Halloween. Eight million pumpkins get binned in the UK after Halloween.

All that food waste, most of it going to landfill... and unfortunately, when food decomposes in the airless landfill environment, it creates the greenhouse gas methane, which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  

All this for a few hours of Halloween fun.


So, to ensure your spooky fun isn’t scary for the planet, here’s how to make your jack-o-lantern a sustainable addition to your frightening festivities.

  • Make sure to use the cut out flesh for cooking pumpkin soup, have soe mashed pumpkin with your dinner, add it to a curry, pie or try a pumpkin pizza base!
  • Feed leftover seeds to the birds. Or why not eat them yourself? See recipe idea below.
  • Compost the pumpkin after Halloween, or try the sharewaste app to see if there is someone near you able to take food waste.


Pineapple jack-o-lanternFor an Aussie twist on this very American tradition, Australians are being encouraged to buy a beloved summer fruit instead of a pumpkin to help out our struggling farmers. Can you see yourself with a pineapple-o-lantern? Could be the start of a new trend. Eat the pineapple flesh immediately, refrigerate for later, or freeze it to use later in recipes, smoothies or cocktails.

Whether you choose pumpkins or pineapples, if you are going to do the carving, do the composting! Or leave it out for the possums and birds.



Before you throw out thos pumpkin seeds, give this a go for a delicious, simple, healthy snack!

1. Just wash the excess flesh off the seeds

2. Dry them out in some paper towel over a week

3. Spread them out on a baking tray, spray lightly with olive oil, season with your favourite flavours and slow roast them. I like chilli and garlic.

Let us know if you found these tips helpful!


Read our BLOG: PLASTIC FREE HALLOWEEN for more sustainable Halloween ideas.


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All our blog articles written by Rachel or our Guest Bloggers are well researched and 100% written by a real human person. We hope you have been informed, educated or entertained.

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