moldy jack o'lanternOh look, you bought a whole giant vegetable, you cut it up, you lit a fire inside it, and soon you're just going to throw the whole thing away now that Halloween is over. Maybe you even bought more than one pumpkin to waste in this decadent manner. What kind of a world do we live in where people buy massive quantities of fresh produce only to use it briefly for home decorating purposes and then just chuck it?

Okay, fine. You're "too fancy" to use moldy pumpkin for a pie or two. You could still redeem your extravagant ways and compost your rotting pumpkin corpses, but maybe composting isn't your thing. What else could you do with your moldy, sagging jack-o'-lanterns now that it's November? Oh, the possibilities!

Alien planet diorama: Slice off the top half of your jack-o'-lantern and you've got yourself a fascinating landscape from another galaxy. The uneven pumpkin flesh becomes hills and valleys. The black and blue fuzzy mold becomes alien life forms. Feel free to decorate with whatever freaky little plastic toys your kids have lying around.

Garden gnome beanbag chairs: They're the perfect size, and your gnomes are tired. Why not give them a rest? Simply arrange your sagging gourd anywhere in your garden and lean your gnome against it.

Taxi air freshener: Hate those smelly hanging tree fresheners in every taxi? Carry around your rotting pumpkin corpse to drown out the smell. Ahhh, eu de pumpkin bacterialis -- my favorite! Also popular with carpools.

Yesterday's Halloween decor = today's Christmas decor: Get creative. Throw on some gloves and mush your jack-o'-lantern into whatever new holiday shape you can think of -- just like clay. You could make a turkey, a cornucopia, or even a little snowman. Then simply shellac into place and spray paint. Pretty! Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart. You so wish you'd come up with that one.

Pedicure: Strap a jack-o'-lantern onto each foot for a fruity acid pedicure. I mean, why not? If sticking your toes into a pool of nibbling fishes does something, why wouldn't sticking them into a decomposing vegetable? Worth a try. You go first and let me know how it works out.

Science project: Have your kids take a break from TV and video games and send them outside to inspect the spoiled jack-o'-lantern with a microscope and magnifying glass. Tell them they're scientists and they can't come back in until they've isolated some penicillin samples.

Honestly, I've just barely scratched the surface with these re-purposing-the-jack-o'-lantern ideas. There's so much you can do -- if you've got the stomach for it.

What do you do with your old jack-o'-lanterns?


Image via Neeta Lind/Flickr