Around St. Helena for Dec. 4, 2014 _lowres

Stephanie Warren

Halloween is near and among the many things the spooky holiday brings — like costumes, trick or treating, parties and crisp fall nights — are pumpkins galore. Instead of letting those pumpkins go to waste, here are a few cool things to do with leftover pumpkin carving scraps and pumpkins after Halloween:

Bird food or compost

If you really aren’t in the mood to mess with the insides you can feed the goo to the birds, add it to your compost pile or both. Bigger birds should be able to handle the seeds.

Roast the seeds

Separate the seeds from the other junk and rinse. Place on an oiled baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until toasted (about 25 minutes), stir after ten minutes.

Eat your pumpkin

Let’s not beat around the bush: eating your pumpkin is probably the most enjoyable way to reuse it. A variety of recipes can be found simply by surfing the Web. While carving pumpkins aren’t quite as flavorful as other varieties (such as sugar or pie pumpkins), they will work for any recipe that you find.

Make a pumpkin planter

This is one of my favorite uses for a carved or uncarved pumpkin — anything that adds a little natural beauty to the yard is a win to me.

Head down to your local nursery, pick up some annuals, and use your pumpkin as the planter!

If your pumpkin is uncarved, cut off the top and remove the seeds, guts and flesh from inside. Pack some potting soil into your pumpkin until it is about one-third full.

You may need to do some extra packing to keep the soil from falling out of your jack-o-lantern’s face. Place your plant into the pumpkin, and fill it out with more potting soil.

Rural Development meeting

The USDA, Rural Development and LSU/SU Agricultural Center will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Greater Turner Chapel AME Church, 874 Turner Chapel Road, Greensburg. Learn how Rural Development may be able to help you build, repair or purchase your own home. Call (985) 748-8751.

Halloween event

There will be a Halloween contest and live music at the Greensburg Community Market on Kendrick Street in Greensburg on Oct. 31. Sign up for the contest from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Landmark Bank parking lot. Costumes must be homemade, no store bought costumes will be allowed in the contest. Judging begins at 11 a.m. For information, call (225) 287-1842.

Contact Stephanie Warren by phone at (985) 517-4869 or email at swarren@theadvocate.com.