Companies around the world celebrate all kinds of holidays, but in the United States, Halloween is probably one of the most wasteful. In fact, in 2016, Americans spent an estimated $650 million on Halloween pumpkins, most of which we tossed into landfills. If you've got some of these orange squash on your porch or hanging out with your fall office décor, don't waste them--have a little fun reusing them instead, no baking required!
1. Do some science experiments.
Yes, you can drop them from a high spot to check out smash patterns or gravity. But what will preserve a piece of pumpkin best? How do pumpkins decompose if they're in totally different environments outside? What animals or insects will come to eat the pumpkins? Can you find a way to use the pumpkin as a fuel source? What about using some chemistry to have a pumpkin explosion contest? Don't forget to wear your safety gear for these!
2. Use the pumpkins as buried planters.
Pumpkins are incredibly nutrient rich, and when they decompose, all those nutrients get put right back into your soil. Place your carved pumpkins into those large planters outside the office door and fill them up with dirt and some fall bulbs like daffodils, tulips or gladiolus. The pumpkins can go right in the ground, too. You can always cut up pumpkins to use in small pots, as well. Got more pumpkins than you can use? See if landscapers or college agricultural programs could use them.
3. Make a bird feeder.
This works best with pumpkins you haven't carved, but carved ones will work as long as you can salvage enough of a bowl shape. Simply cut the pumpkin in half and insert some thick sticks around the outside for perches. (A small drill bit might help you out here.) Use some twine or string to hang the feeder.
4. Have a boat contest.
Pumpkins actually can float pretty decently. (Seriously, people even use giant ones like kayaks in annual celebrations, and there's even an International Pumpkin Boat Championship in Germany.) Cut up your bigger pumpkins or gather up the tiny decorative ones. Challenge your workers to make boats from the pumpkins. Then have a race to see which pumpkin boat is fastest. The winning individual or team can get any prize you think of, such as candy, the ability to cut out of work an hour early, etc. Kids can have fun with this, too, and with ponds, streams and indoor inflatables, you can hold your race inside or outside based on your preference. Boats not your thing? Think tossing/bowling or even build-a-mousetrap contests.
5. Get involved in some sports and outdoor activities.
Did we mention pumpkins can make great archery targets? Set them up as goal boundaries for games like soccer, hide them around for treasure hunting or even use them as exercise obstacles (how many can you jump?).
6. Make a classic game.
Small decorative pumpkins can serve as pieces for a variety of games with a little paint. For example, check out this crafty checkers set that could spend a few weeks in your break room. Variations on classics like Battleship, Memory, Tic-Tac-Toe all could work.
7. Get rid of some stress.
You always have the option to rub or fidget with a mini pumpkin. You can make yourself smile by drawing on some funny faces with washable marker, too. But we won't judge if you decide to whack a few pumpkins with a hammer, throw some at the trees in your yard or stomp a few to death.
Pumpkins don't need to end up in the trash. They can beautify your space, facilitate teamwork and even be tools for good health. Try these ideas out for starters and, if you've got other concepts of your own, share them through your day or leave a comment!