4 Things to do with Pumpkins (Besides Drink Them in Your Latte)

Fall is in the air. Scarves, leggings, and Uggs are everywhere. It’s The Season of the Basic, and its official drink, the renowned Pumpkin Spice Latte, is being guzzled by the gallon. But maybe, instead of pouring all of your love into lattes this autumn, it’s time to embrace pumpkins for all that they can be. We’re going to glaze right over the more obvious pumpkin purposes — carving and baking (even though you absolutely need to make pumpkin muffins) — and move on to some more creative uses of the seasonal squash.

Decorate them.

There’s more than one way to turn a gourd into an apartment adornment, and white pumpkins make an an especially perfect blank slate. Instead of picking up a knife, grab a paintbrush — or even a can of spray paint and mask off a design with tape or a stencil. Glow-in-the-dark paint will give you the same creepy nighttime effect as the old-school carving and flame, as will embedding a simple string of lights. On smaller gourds, pull off the stem and hollow out the area around it, leaving room for a candle or small seasonal bouquet.

Rub them on your body.

Hear me out: Pumpkins are filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes that help to exfoliate and moisturize skin. Instead of lugging home a whole gourd, pick up a can of pumpkin or a jar of pumpkin seed butter, and whip it into some vaseline, shea butter, or coconut oil for a smooth lotion base. You could also use some pumpkin puree mixed with sugar and almond, safflower, or coconut oil to make a body scrub.

Roast the seeds.

This one also seem pretty obvious, but it’s an important one. The seeds have numerous health benefits (including for your heart and liver) and are loaded with protein and fiber. Also, it’s pretty fun to sift through the mucky pumpkin guts to collect them. Just give the seeds a light coating of oil and a sprinkle of whatever flavor you’re after, and toss them in the oven until they look a little toasty. Eat them immediately and greedily before your roommates get a whiff, or make a little snack mix with dried cranberries and nuts.

Pair them with pasta.

Without recapping several recipes (like this one for pumpkin tortellini, or this one for a chicken pumpkin pasta bacon bake), the main takeaway here is that savory pumpkin pairs deliciously with pasta, and chicken, and sausage, and beer. The possibilities are endless, so don’t let all that good stuff go to waste sitting on the porch.

These are just the baseline possibilities, and there are many more where that came from — just type the word “pumpkin” into Pinterest, and kiss the next five hours of your life goodbye. Now go grab yourself a PSL and get started.