Oh my gourd - the scary reality of Halloween food waste

Although food waste is not a seasonal issue, with tonnes of food being discarded every day, there are times in the year where the problem is particularly prevalent. Halloween is one of such times, with the tradition of pumpkin carving resulting in thousands of delicious squashes being tossed into the bin. Farmers have warned of a pumpkin crisis in the lead-up to Halloween, with a shocking 95% of the pumpkins grown every year being carved, rather than consumed. 

In the UK, our Halloween activities see 18,000 tonnes of food being wasted after a single day of festivities. That's the same weight as 1,500 double decker buses! Unlike our pals across the pond who turn their jack-o-lanterns into delicious dishes like pumpkin pie, in the UK, our squashes are more likely to end up in the bin come November 1st. 

Halloween is increasingly popular in the UK, but we seem to have ignored a crucial part of the US tradition: cooking with pumpkins rather than throwing them in the bin. With household food under pressure it’s time we rescued the pumpkin,” said Trewin Restorick, whose charity, Hubbub, started the Pumpkin rescue campaign. See how you can get involved here.

According to research:

  • 64% of pumpkin buyers at Halloween don’t use the insides.
  • A quarter of those who buy pumpkins don’t compost the waste, simply throwing it in the bin with everything else.
  • Nearly half of people believe that pumpkins are a hassle to cook with.*

Far be it from us to rain on anybody's pumpkin parade, so rather than curbing your carving fun, here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your squashes after Halloween. There are lots of great uses for pumpkins besides scaring local children.

Here are some of our favourites: 

And if you're not a fan of the taste of pumpkin, why not try some home-made beauty treatments?! The flesh of pumpkins contains enzymes and antioxidants that help remove dead dull skin cells and nourish your skin, so have a go at making your own face mask and body butter !

For the craft lovers among you, this last one is a real treat. Martha Stewart's marbelised pumpkins are fun to make and add a touch of rare halloween chic to your home!

And if none of those exciting activities tickle your fancy, then make sure you compost your pumpkins, rather than just chucking them the bin.

Happy halloween!


* Unilever research