Do NOT Throw Your Old Halloween Pumpkins in the Woods!

You may have seem a meme going around promoting the idea that tossing your old pumpkins into the woods for animals to eat is the best way to dispose of them.

It seemed rather odd to me that this would be a preferred method of gourd disposal. After all, we’ve all been taught to NOT feed wild animals. So…I went to the experts! I asked the Will County Forest Preserve District about the meme in question and if the practice is something to consider, or to ignore.

The Will County Forest Preserve District has actually written about this very thing!

Tossing your pumpkins into a forest preserve after Halloween is not only a bad idea, in terms of how it affects wildlife, it’s also illegal and you could be ticketed.

The best alternative is to compost your pumpkins, which also keeps them out of the landfills.

Throwing any kind of food refuse into a preserve is a violation of the Forest Preserve District’s General Use Ordinance No. 124.

The ordinance prohibits the feeding of wildlife and it also bans anyone from depositing “trash, rubbish, paper, garbage, refuse, debris, or junk” in the preserves (which would include food refuse) as well as seeds (including pumpkin seeds) from an outside source.

Dumping pumpkins in a forest preserve could introduce them to that particular habitat and undermine the District’s habitat management and restoration efforts.

Instead of tossing pumpkins in the woods, there are many pumpkin disposal events around the area, so keep an eye out for those later on in the season.

For something close to you, just google your county and “pumpkin disposal.” Some are more eventful than others!

Want more info on why you shouldn’t just toss your pumpkins in the trash? SCARCE did a great explainer!