Playdates with Pumpkins: Annie’s Fave 13

Dear Annie,
I am new mom and never learned the fun ways that my mother used pumpkins with us when we were kids, and I am looking for ideas. Can you help? –Dana, MA

Dear Dana,
You are in for a treat. Over my lifetime I’ve found that fun with pumpkins goes way beyond food and jack-o-lanterns, although making my mother’s slow roasted pumpkin seeds is my all-time favorite pumpkin activity. I am learning new ways of using pumpkins all the time, such as how to use pumpkin on my skin. (Why not give yourself from fun, too?) And, the pumpkin’s bright sunny orange color makes it the perfect decorating item, one to radiate its presence in any scheme. I particularly love to put them, uncarved, on the steps to my front porch as their color is so vibrant.

Try making floating pumpkin candles using the miniature pumpkins found at this time of year in most supermarkets. My daughter and I have had no end of pleasure making these for dinner parties over the years, and we float them in blue-glass bowls.

Pumpkin air fresheners are also fun to make, using, of course, pure essential oils.

Decorating ideas just scratch the surface of unusual ways to use pumpkin. See below for ways to use pumpkin on your body (girls love this, too), and for sublime pumpkin soup and dessert dishes.

Body Care
Pumpkin is incredibly healing for the skin because the pumpkin enzymes work so powerfully as a skin peel.

Pumpkin Face Mask
Honey Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask for Gorgeous Skin
Luscious Pumpkin Body Butter

There are more nutrients in pumpkins than Vitamin A to make them the perfect comfort food in the fall, especially when combined with ginger and cinnamon. They’re rich in a variety of nutrients including vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid. Sitting down to pumpkin-anything is a perfect pleasure.

Slow-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Harvest Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Pie With Pecan Crust
Pumpkin Biscuits
Pumpkin Tamales with Cherry Mole
Gingered Pumpkin Soup
Razzle-Dazzle Pumpkin Bread Pudding


Kamia C.
Kamia T2 years ago

My pups LOVE cooked pumpkin added to their food, so if you find yourself with extra, just cook it and puree like you would sweet potatoes. Then you can can into into Mason jars and refrigerate for them and you to use later.

Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago


Heidi H.
Past Member 5 years ago

Beautiful ideas.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B5 years ago

My biggest weighs 15lb. I was surprised to be told that after you cut a wedge out the pumpkin will last quite a while if you cover the cut with cling film.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth Davies5 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Chris R.
Chris R6 years ago


Chris R.
Chris R6 years ago