I've seen some scary jack-o-lanterns in my day but if you've ever seen a carved pumpkin in the days following Halloween you know they're downright terrifying!

It's a dilemma we're faced with every year but somehow I still manage to overlook it until I wake up each November 1st wondering: what's the best way to get rid of my carved pumpkins?

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the nation each year end up in the landfill. That seems like such a waste! Consider these options before tossing your jack-o-lantern in the trash:

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Compost Them

The State of Michigan says you should compost it! Says statewide composting coordinator for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Aaron Hiday, "Composing them helps reduce the amount of waste in landfills and helps nourish soil."

If you're not a someone who composts, maybe a nearby neighbor or community garden does! Quite often local municipalities offer pumpkin recycling events after Halloween, so be sure to keep an eye out on local Facebook groups or check here.

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Go WILD!

If the animals in your back yard like squirrels, raccoons, deer, don't seem to have an interest in your old pumpkins-- the ones at the zoo probably do! Each year you hear of local animal rescues and zoos who are accepting previously used pumpkins as enrichment toys.

However, it's very important to note that any pumpkins sprayed with harsh chemicals like bleach as a preservative should NOT be donated. Local wildlife rescue All Creatures Deserving recommends using a diluted mixture of water and vinegar.

Above all else Hiday says,

Try not to put them in the landfill. Try to find a better use for them.

Highly Rated Pumpkin Patches in Southwest Michigan

These pumpkin patches sprinkled across Southwest Michigan have the best ratings on Google.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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Gallery Credit: Getty Images/ Canva

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