6 Unexpected Ways to Use Pumpkins, from Kegs to Canoes

By Noah Kaufman |

© ZUMA Press, Inc / Alamy

It’s still a little early to put out your jack-o’-lanterns, at least if you don’t want them smashed by hoodlums. But pumpkins are already everywhere—grocery stores, farmers’ markets, pop-up urban pumpkin patches. What is a pumpkin-inundated consumer to do? You can certainly cook certain varieties, but there are so many more uses for those orange gourds that you may not have considered.

1. Pumpkin Keg

What the watermelon keg is to the summer, the pumpkin keg is to the fall. It gives the hard-drinking crowd a DIY-project pride.

2. Candles

Carving tiny, decorative pumpkins into tiny, decorative candle holders will give your home an autumnal feel that says, “Screw you, decoration aisle at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I can do this myself.” [sheknows.com]

3. Canoe

Speaking of sizes, what to do with the gourds so big it takes a small team to move them? Make them into boats, of course. In places like Stillwater, Minnesota, and Madison, Wisconsin, brave or stupid people take the biggest pumpkins they can find and turn them into canoes for the annual pumpkin regattas. We assume whoever needs to be rescued last wins. (pictured above)

4. Halloween Costume

You need a few weeks for jack-o’-lanterns, but it’s never too early to think about Halloween costumes. We know people who start planning their costumes on November 1 for the following year. Going as a pumpkin is probably better left to children under age two, but consult prize-winning farmers at your state fair for adult sizes.


5. Piñata

Stay one step ahead of those neighborhood kids who smash everyone’s pumpkins and smash one yourself. Cut a small hole in the top, fill the pumpkin with candy, get an actual baseball bat and swing away. The only downside is that your candy will be covered with pumpkin innards, but that’s why they wrap it, right?

6. Tetherball

Not for the weak of limb. Replace that thing usually at the end of a tetherball rope with a ball that’s a bit more organic. Pumpkin tetherball is the perfect combination of nostalgic childhood game and dangerous use of a vegetable. 

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