Drop off sagging jack-o’-lanterns to feed livestock after Halloween

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 1:22 PM

Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.By Darrin Parmenter

I will not lie. I have smashed a pumpkin in the middle of the street before. Maybe more than once.

However, after spending countless hours in the middle of the kitchen floor finishing jack-o’-lanterns that the kids started but soon realized were way too difficult to complete, I know now the errors of my ways.

I also know that those “kits” they entice kids with at stores are parental torture devices. The templates contain the easy/traditional (read: boring) choices, but those are quickly overshadowed by the super-awesome ones (read: impossible) that no child can refuse. Pair that with tools made of plastic that break in less than five minutes and you are bound to carve and scrape and cramp and bleed all night.

And while the true go-getter carvers – those who collect the seeds, rinse them and roast them – find additional uses for the pumpkins, many of us would collect the soon-to-be saggy creations and throw them in the trash, sometimes weeks after the trick-or-treaters had come and gone.

Fortunately, we may have found an outlet for all that waste. In conjunction with Bear Smart and the city of Durango, the Colorado State University Extension Office will be hosting two drop-off sites for pumpkins the Friday and Saturday after Halloween. Bring us your jack-o’-lanterns and other festive squash, and we will be happy to collect and transport them to a couple local farmers to be used as livestock feed. And in a year like this one, wouldn’t you rather feed some soon-to-be super-happy pigs and cows rather than the marauding bear looking for calories?

Residents are encouraged to drop off between noon and 6 p.m. Nov. 3 or between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 4 at one of two locations: La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave., (go toward the back dirt parking lot on the east side of the complex) or the city of Durango Three Springs Police Substation, 545 Wilson Gulch Drive.

For more information, visit

Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at or 382-6464.Darrin Parmenter