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The scariest thing about Halloween is how many pumpkins in SA will end up in the bin

Halloween is celebrated in North America with dress-up costumes, trick or treating for the little ones and scary movies – now it’s a ritual South Africans are adopting, and it could be a major cause for concern.

by: Katy Rose | 16 Oct 2019
halloween pumpkins

Halloween is celebrated annually on 31 October in the USA and Canada, a time of year that is filled with autumn leaves, warmer clothes and, if you’re in the food world, all things pumpkin! Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte is a pop-culture indicator that summer has officially come to an end, and menus everywhere shift towards heartier and more warming dishes. 

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Here in South Africa – influenced by television and film – many families have adopted some of the rituals, such as scary costumes and visiting neighbours in search of sweet treats. 

This week, we noticed that some local retailers are starting to stock the quintessential Fall (autumn) vegetable: big, round orange pumpkins. The only problem is... it’s spring here in the southern hemisphere! 

The pumpkins are traditionally carved with faces called a Jack-o'-lantern. The hollowed-out pumpkin is then filled with candles to create a spooky and festive decoration for your front entrance or stoep. The ancient tradition was thought to scare away evil spirits from the home. 

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This year, as we mark World Food Day on 16 October, we ask South Africans to consider if food waste is something that we should be adopting? The pumpkins, once carved and put on display, will quickly rot away in our warm climate, resulting in tons of perfectly edible pumpkin going to waste.

In the US, almost 3 billion kilograms of pumpkins are grown every year – and most of them are destined for the bin! 

Alternatives to pumpkin carving include using crayons or water-based paints and stencils to decorate a pumpkin. Carving the pumpkin with a sharp knife is not advisable for young children, so alternatives like painting posters or making paper decorations might be better anyway. 

With so many South Africans not getting a nutritious meal, wasting a perfectly good pumpkin seems excessive and almost immoral.

Why not purchase a pumpkin and teach your kids how to cook these delicious pumpkin fritters? It’s a great way to start a new tradition around food and cooking together this October in your family. 

Get in touch with us on Facebook and share some creative ways to celebrate the pumpkin without creating waste. #zerowaste #endfoodwaste

ALSO READ: 12 Spooky treats that are guaranteed to get you in the mood for Halloween


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