Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.
From costumes to candy to decorations, Halloween can be a surprisingly expensive holiday. Instead of tossing out Halloween-themed items as soon as the last trick-or-treater departs, find a way to reinvent them for Thanksgiving. Sure, faux gravestones and giant spiders might not make it past October 31, but the classic pumpkin can be easily repurposed for Turkey Day!
The most obvious way to reuse Halloween pumpkins is to incorporate them into your home’s holiday décor. Unfortunately, pumpkins that have already been carved will start to rot within a week, but uncarved ones will make festive accents for Thanksgiving.
Doorstep. Keep your entryway decorated through November with a chic display of pumpkins and decorative gourds on either side of your door. To keep the pumpkins from rotting, coat them in a sealant or paint them the color of your choice.
Centerpiece. While larger pumpkins are best left outdoors, small pumpkins and other gourds you purchased pre-Halloween make a lovely Thanksgiving centerpiece. You can either group them together organically or arrange them in a large bowl. If you want to save room on the dining room table for serving platters, you could use this display approach in the family room or wherever guests will congregate before or after Thanksgiving dinner.
As the Internet has taught us, people are crazy about pumpkin-flavored food and drinks. Why fight it? This Thanksgiving, treat your guests to delicious pumpkin recipes.
Why buy a pumpkin-flavored drink, when you can make one yourself with genuine pumpkin?
Ingredients: milk; coffee; a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; maple syrup; pumpkin puree; vanilla extract
- Heat 3/4-cup milk on the stove.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of spice mix, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin puree; stir.
- Heat mixture on medium heat.
- Brew coffee or espresso.
- Remove milk and spice mixture from stovetop before it boils and froth it using a milk frother or blender.
- When milk is frothed, combine it in a mug with the coffee or espresso.
- Top with a dollop of milk foam and add a pinch of spice mixture or cinnamon stick for garnish.
Most pumpkin recipes instruct you to use the meat of the pumpkin and to discard the pesky seeds, but pumpkins seeds are a tasty (and nutritious!) snack on their own! Whether you set them out in a bowl for your guests nibble pre-Thanksgiving meal or you put them in mason jars as parting gifts, pumpkins seeds are a crowd-pleasing snack.
- Separate the seeds from the orange meat of the pumpkin and wash them meticulously.
- Optional: Boil the seeds in salt water for 10 minutes to make them extra crispy and easier to digest. After they boil, drain them in a colander and pat them dry with a tea towel.
- Spread the seeds in one layer on a baking sheet, drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with kosher salt.
- Roast the seeds on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring them about halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle them with the seasoning of your choice. From classic salt and pepper to savory chili powder, you can’t go wrong!
You could always recycle your large pumpkins by turning them into a DIY Thanksgiving serving bowl. Carve out the insides prior to use, line the interior with foil or plastic wrap and fill the pumpkin cavity with one of your side dishes. It makes for practical and decorative presentation!
Your backyard or garden is a logical place for post-Halloween pumpkins to end up. If the weather is nice on Thanksgiving, you might invite your guests to congregate outside, so it makes sense to have the area spruced up and decorated accordingly.
Large pumpkins serve as lovely temporary planters. I’d suggest you try this craft just prior to Thanksgiving because a carved pumpkin will disintegrate quickly!
- Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scoop some of the insides. Unlike the pumpkin serving bowl, a pumpkin planter doesn’t have to be completely cleaned out and lined.
- Fill the empty space inside the pumpkin with nutrient-rich soil.
- Situate your plant of choice inside the dirt-filled pumpkin.
- At first, you can place the pumpkin planter on a porch or near a doorstep, but after a week, go ahead and put it in the soil or a flowerbed so it can naturally break down without making a mess!
Pumpkin Bird Feeder
Extend your Thanksgiving feast to the birds and squirrels in your yard with an easy DIY pumpkin bird feeder.
Supplies: 3- to 5-lb. pumpkin, sturdy twigs, twine and birdseed
- Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides, leaving a 1- to 2-inch-thick wall.
- Poke holes in the side of the pumpkin and insert twigs to make perches.
- Hang the feeder by knotting two lengths of twine in the center, and tack it down in the bottom of the feeder.
- Fill the feeder with birdseed and watch the birds go to town!