The food waste cost of Halloween (UK)


Too bad, pumpkin soup is delicious and it is easy to make! The retailers should slip the recipe when selling the pumpkins.


Every pumpkin I’ve tried to leave out for Halloween gets noshed on by the squirrels and perhaps other critters in my area. I get bunnies, raccoons and skunks too. They don’t devour the whole thing, but you can see the gashes and gnaw marks on it (appropriate for Halloween, I guess). Can you just leave it out for the wildlife?


Really interesting. I love pumpkin and food waste makes me sad, so I hope another perspective might be welcome.

Here in the US, the type of pumpkin that I get for carving is not great for eating. I wonder if that’s also true elsewhere?

I don’t know what variety our carving pumpkins are, but in my experience they are watery and stringy inside. I have carved many pumpkins and the seeds ate the only part that I manage to reliably prepare in a satisfactory way for eating. I have tried to purée carving pumpkin flesh for pumpkin challah bread and lasagna but the flesh stayed fibrous, watery and lacked flavor—attempted that a couple of times.

In contrast, “eating” pumpkins that I have prepared, usually known as sugar pumpkins where I live, have a denser texture more like other winter squashes. Far better.

Like @kobuta, we leave carving pumpkins out for wildlife. Anything that remains gets composted.

I don’t know how common this next approach is, but a farm in my town has held a post-Halloween “Pumpkin Chunkin” event where carved pumpkins were catapulted onto fields to enrich the soil for next year’s crops.

And I do like the idea of brewing beer with the insides of carving pumpkins, as the article mentions. That’s a creative one!


Do folks raise absurdly large vegetables over there?


Yes. Giant vegetable growing is a very competiitive area of gardening.


Yes, I believe I’ve read about the difference between carving pumpkins and eating pumpkins. A quick search produced this as the first hit:

I don’t do jack-o-lanterns myself, but growing up we always did and mom roasted the seeds, which were tasty. But she used supermarket pumpkins for her soup (the carving pumpkins came from farm stands).


We grow a lot of things in the US that aren’t good for eating. The corn used to produce ethanol is an example. Decorative gourds. Carving pumpkin. Whatever the heck it is passed off as tomatoes in most grocery stores. sigh


Which is why I’m still coddling one last cherry tomato plant on my porch until bringing it indoors at night just isn’t working anymore.

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Good for you. I gave up on real tomatoes after the deer trampled the eight foot fence we erected around the garden patch. I tried regular, cherry, and grape tomatoes in containers and the deer climbed the stairs onto our deck to wipe them out.

I have a standing invitation to anyone willing to get the appropriate licenses and permits to come sit on my deck and shoot them (the deer, not the tomatoes). Breakfast and lunch provided with bathroom privileges. I’ll even help with butchering although fair warning that I’m a little squeamish.

The tomato plant survives only because it’s in a hanging basket like one would use for flowers. Otherwise the critters would have eaten every last tomato.

To keep the topic on pumpkins, the neighborhood deer chow down on any remotely edible carving pumpkin I may leave in the yard. If a pumpkin hasn’t been carved for some reason, they don’t hesitate to kick it open.


As an American living in London 40 years ago, I tried unsuccessfully to even find pumpkins for Halloween. I gather that Halloween has turned into an American-style affair there these days. It seems that pumpkin-carving and trick-or-treating is a recent export in many places. My Mexican friends say that they now celebrate both North American-style Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

Welcome back, beastco.

You’re absolutely correct. Halloween in the UK is a relatively recent affair - maybe in the last 20 years or so as a significant event. And, yes, it’s an American style affair. Apparently it is now our third most celebrated, after Easter and Christmas. It is fast replacing our centuries old tradition of Bonfire Night (5 November) and I reckon in just another generation, that will have died out (similarly, Santa Claus is fast replacing Father Christmas).

Apparently finding better ways to say goodbye to gourds has become an organized thing, much as we recently discussed on this thread.

You can make the same arguments, (pro or con) about growing flowers as you can growing giant pumpkins.

But were flowers ever grown to be consumed? Besides those precious edible things that are trendy to throw on salads or other random dishes, I mean.

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Please explain further.

I’m a keen gardener, growing ornamentals rather than edibles (apart from a few herbs) and I’m not understanding your comment. Thanks.