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OPINION: Here’s the best way to get rid of Halloween pumpkins

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Bob Boulton
This year we celebrated Thanksgiving and Halloween as best we could, given the circumstances. As usual, it’s been a season of sugar overload, carbohydrates, and the full pumpkin experience.

But now that it’s over I wonder how my feelings about something so ubiquitous, so cheerful and so orange could change so quickly.

I had looked forward this fall to the idea of pick-my-own-pumpkins and searched for it in pies and coffee. I enjoyed seeing them displayed, carved silly or frightful.

However, I now just want all of them on our front porch to disappear.

But how? Do as noble magazine articles suggest and use the empty shells as planters or bird feeders? Anybody who knows me knows that’s not happening.

And tossing them out in the regular garbage just seems wrong. Pumpkin landfill waste generates significant volumes of methane – a climate-change gas.

Perhaps history could offer a hint. Hallowe’en was the old Celtic New Year’s Eve, when the dead could get in through the crack between the years. Some Celtic societies may have carved a “Stingy Jack of the Lantern” out of turnips to help ward off this evil.

In North America, turnips became pumpkins. But I don’t know what the Celts did with their turnips either, so not much help there.

Then I thought: “I’ll bake a pumpkin pie or two! How tough can that be?”

But soon I discovered to my distress there are carving pumpkins and there are cooking pumpkins. The same only different. Carving pumpkins have stringy innards, and if they’ve been sitting outside for a while they’re subject to dirt and insects and charming rodents of various descriptions.

And pumpkin pie needs spice. I searched through the cupboards for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice and the ones I found were at least three years old.

Pie baking was out.

In desperation, I called the City of Sarnia and was told I could put out a maximum 48 lb. of pure pumpkin (no decorative bits, paint or candles) in my paper garden-waste collection bag, or in a container marked with an X.

That goes straight to the city’s compost site, a proper resting place where pumpkins are converted to compost and naturally added back to the soil.

I promised this year I wouldn’t leave carved pumpkins out where they could be smashed around by vandals with rutabagas for brains.

But next year, I won’t have to worry anymore about Halloween pumpkin disposal. Instead, I’ll sit and enjoy a leisurely cup of pumpkin-spice coffee.

Or pumpkin-chai tea, whatever that is.

Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer and creator of a blog for new and renewing

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