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What to do with fallen leaves and rotting Halloween pumpkins

Instead of throwing these items away, compost them.

A pumpkin with a creepy smiling face sits on a rock outside.

Sure, your pumpkin may still look okay now, but wait a week or two.

Photo by Scott McLeod

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Falling colorful leaves and creatively designed pumpkins are autumnal trademarks... that is until the gourds get gooey and the leaves start clogging up pipes.

You may be tempted to just throw everything in the trash, but there are more meaningful ways to get rid of your decomposing natural decorations.

Getting rid of the gourds

This is an easy one. Since pumpkins are food items, they can be placed in city-supplied compost carts.

They can also make a great addition to any compost pit you have started in your yard. Or, the squirrels may not mind if you just leave the clean-up to them.

If you’re looking to support the community, farms will often take whole, un-carved pumpkins as donations to feed animals like goats and pigs. Pumpkins for Pigs is a nationwide service that connects people with farms looking for such donations. But you can also check with any of your local farms to see if they’d be interested in a donation.

Rake it away

There are differing philosophies about whether you should rake up all of your leaves or not. Leaving them may harm your grass, but also serve as a home for important wildlife. Regardless, you should help keep all that tree confetti out of the streets.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) offers free extra yard pickup services during November to encourage residents to keep gutters + drains on the road clear.

If you have an excess of leaves or don’t want to wait for SPU pick-up, King County also has a list of yard waste drop-off spots in the area.

Or if you’re feeling extra crafty, you can use those fallen leaves to make a solid mulch for your garden next year.