Cristal's Blog


November 3, 2022

Back to Articles

Looking for creative uses for post-Halloween pumpkins once they’ve served their purpose as infamous jack-o'-lanterns? Every year, about 500,000 tons of the orange orbs are thrown away after Halloween, contributing to the nearly 40 million tons of annual food waste in the United States. That adds up to more than $218 billion worth of edibles left to rot in landfills, creating dangerous methane gas as they decompose. With some creativity, however, you can help the environment just by recycling, upcycling, or composting your leftover pumpkins.

A squirrel with its face inside a carved pumpkin feasting on seeds
Photo Credit Carol Hamilton,

Here are 6 ways to make the most out of post-Halloween pumpkins:

1) Feed the Squirrels and Birds
How about upcycling your jack-o-lantern into a cute bird and squirrel feeder? Your squirrels and its fine feathered friends will enjoy the leftovers, especially if you fill the pumpkin with seeds and bird food. Squirrels may not share the bounty, but birds such as Bluejays, Thrashers, and Mockingbirds will happily munch on them together. Consider adding a twig for a bird perch. Once you create your new pumpkin masterpiece, you can hang it in your backyard using twine, place it on your porch or hang it in your garden. (If you used a candle to light up your jack-o-lantern, scrape away any wax and any blackened areas before adding the seeds.)

2) Transform into Unique Thanksgiving Décor
Halloween pumpkins can be easily recycled into Thanksgiving decor. One idea is to make fall-inspired candle holders out of used pumpkins or repurpose them into a festive basket filled with seasonal fruit or flowers to use as your table’s centerpiece. In addition, you can use the outside of a pumpkin as a soup bowl or basket. If you didn’t carve your pumpkins this year, just paint them white and use them as elegant décor.

    A large pile of differen color pumpkins arranged in a garden
    Photo by Annerose Walz Walz on Unsplash

    3) Planter for Fall Foliage
    Pumpkins make an ideal planter for fall foliage. And it's easy to create a beautiful seasonal planter from your used pumpkin. The Spruce suggests you “plant succulents, pansies, million bells, hardy chrysanthemums, ornamental grass, or any other potted plant of your choice.” Either use a gardening container inside the hollowed-out pumpkin or plant your favorite fall greenery directly inside after lining it with a weed barrier. Hint: these also make excellent holiday hostess gifts!

    4) A Snack You and Your Family Will Love
    How about baking pumpkin bread or making your own pumpkin lattes? You can also roast, salt, and eat the seeds or make pumpkin soup or puree out of the inside bits. FYI: the pumpkin puree also makes an excellent facial cream—just add coconut oil and honey, and voila! A natural, homemade facial cream that will give you that youthful glow!

    5) A Snack for Neighborhood Wildlife
    Pumpkin is a delicacy for Santa Barbara wildlife, including birds, squirrels, deer, raccoons, and chipmunks. And it’s super easy to prepare for our local wildlife to snack on. Just chop up your carved pumpkin into small chunks and place the pieces in a large dish or tray in one of their frequented spots. When preparing, throw out any candle wax, black soot, or paint, as these can be harmful if ingested.

      6) Compost
      Did you know that worms love to feast on pumpkins? That’s why leftover, nutrient-rich Halloween pumpkins make the perfect addition to your composting bin. Decomposed pumpkins help improve soil quality, boost water retention and increase plants' yield. If you don’t already have a composting bin, The County of Santa Barbara offers discounted Earth Machine composting bins to help residents in their home composting efforts. Alternatively, you can dig a hole in a garden bed and bury the chopped-up pieces.

      What will you do with that post-Halloween pumpkin? Do you have any additional ideas? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Just call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I'm also here to help you buy or sell a home in the area.

      More resources:

      Back to Articles

      Client Reviews

      “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

      - J & A

      “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

      - M.F.

      “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

      - P.B.

      “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

      - T.C.

      “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

      - D.R.

      “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

      - M.A.

      “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

      - D.K.

      “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

      - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

      “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

      - Johan and Paula van den Berg

      “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

      - John and Lacey Williams

      “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

      - Michael & Nancy Lee

      “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

      - Richard and Catherine Frinier

      “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

      - Laurie Siegel

      “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

      - Ken Saffir

      “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

      - Michael & Susan Marquart

      “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

      - Rob & Judi Kelch