8 Fun Ways To Use Pumpkin Seeds, Making The Most Out Of The Pumpkin Carving Season

14 min read OCT 19, 2023

Raise your hand if you’re a Great Pumpkin believer.

I know I am…or at least I share in Linus’s love for the season, especially his love for pumpkins.

But, even if you don’t take things that far, you know, waiting all night in a pumpkin patch anticipating the arrival of the Great pumpkin, most of us do take part in and enjoy many classic activities associated with fall.

Hayrides, bonfires, cider sips, orchard visits, pumpkin patch treks, and of course, carving pumpkins!

But, back to Linus…

Once the Peanuts gang had carefully selected a large pumpkin for their Halloween party, do you remember the lad’s sentiments upon seeing his friends carve their carefully selected squash?

Upon seeing Lucy cut a large circle around the stem, that classic hole we’re all familiar with that serves as a starting point from where the scraping and carving begins, Linus let out a heart-broken moan, exclaiming “oooohhh, you didn’t tell me you were gonna kill it.”

Ah yes, this is the fate of so many pumpkins this time of year, but what Linus failed to realize is the joy brought to so many as each one carefully and creatively carves their amazing autumn artwork.

And, I’m going to venture to say that Linus also didn’t realize all the other wonderful things that can be done with what’s on the inside of the pumpkin.

Aside from the pleasure we all receive from being able to view our carved creations (or those of our children) resting on our decks, porches, and stoops until Halloween, there’s just so much fun to be had from the seeds which remain after a thorough carving session.

Growing up, one of my fondest memories after carving, a tradition my children now look forward to each year as well, was roasting the pumpkin seeds.

My kids are well into their teen years now, but they still love our tradition of carving pumpkins, roasting the seeds, then snacking on those treats as we watch scary movies the same night.

However, while roasting seeds might be a common way to make the most out of an evening of pumpkin carving, there’s so much more you can do with these Jack-O-Lantern remnants.

Did you know you can use pumpkin seeds to make other baked goods?

For those of you with young children, did you know the seeds of a pumpkin are excellent for making mosaic art projects?

And, these ideas really only scratch the surface…

So, let’s hope Linus can rest at ease as we all take note of the following fun and exciting ways to make the most out of this pumpkin carving season!

8 Fun Ways To Use Pumpkin Seeds

1- Feed The Birds

Don’t like roasted pumpkin seeds? Or, maybe you simply want to share your seeds? Consider feeding your leftover pumpkin seeds to birds.

Blue jays and cardinals are said to love pumpkin seeds, so setting aside some to roast for these colorful beauties would be much appreciated by your feathered friends.

These birds have beaks that are a bit larger than other birds, so they can handle the seed and hull/shell, but if you have the time, removing the hulls makes the seeds easily edible for smaller birds as well.

When roasting pumpkin seeds for birds, be sure not to salt the seeds. Instead, all you have to do is:

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Add the pumpkin seeds from your freshly carved pumpkin to a large bowl of water. While the seeds are in the water, do your best to remove the stringy flesh still attached to the seeds and discard.
  • Rinse the cleaned seeds, then be sure to dry them well.
  • Very lightly grease a baking sheet, then spread the pumpkin seeds onto the sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake the seeds for approximately 40 minutes, turning the seeds every 5 minutes or so to avoid burning. To do this, you only need to scoop and stir or flip the seeds by the spoonful.
  • Once the seeds have lightly browned, you can remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
  • Once cooled, add the seeds to your bird feeder. Note: Hopper type feeders are said to be best for a variety of seeds, including pumpkin.

2- Make Pumpkin Seed Flowers

You can also use your leftover pumpkin seeds to make beautiful, natural-hued, fall flowers.

The shape of a pumpkin seed easily resembles a flower petal, so after you roast the seeds you can glue them together to make flowers. (When roasting omit the salt or other flavors, and simply prepare them as you would for bird feed as listed in the above section.)

For a natural look, simply cut a small circle from cardboard or a sturdy piece of cardstock. Then apply glue in a circle near the edge of the cut-out. Carefully place one layer of pumpkin seeds all around the circle (think sunflower petals here).

Next, apply glue in a circle a little further in so you can arrange another layer of pumpkin seeds, again in concentric circles. Here, you’ll want this section to appear as if it’s starting to overlap the outer layer of seeds.

Depending on the size of your cut-out circle, you may need to continue with one or two more circular layers. But, be sure to leave enough room in the middle as you’ll finish your flower by applying glue to the center where you’ll add dried, multi-colored corn pieces (you can also use peppercorns here) for a nice fall touch.

The completed flowers can be used as part of a fall garland piece or you can even attach looped string to the back and use them as ornaments in the approaching holiday season.

3- Roast The Seeds For A Yummy Treat

Roasting is likely the most common way folks use the seeds which remain after a pumpkin carving session, but this practice can be tricky unless you know the proper steps to follow.

Here we’re listing three recipes for roasting pumpkin seeds, one classic, one savory, and one sweet. As the process for roasting is similar, we’ll detail the basics first, then we’ll list the variations for each type of flavoring.

Roasting pumpkin seeds begins by taking the seeds which you’ve freshly removed from your carved pumpkin and adding these to a large bowl of water. I prefer using warm water as this helps the pulp and fiber to remove more easily.

Next you’ll work to separate the pulp and fiber from the seeds.

Rinse the cleaned seeds, then for easy digesting, soak the seeds in a salt water bath for 12-24 hours. You can use 2 cups of water and ½ tablespoon of salt for every 1 cup of seeds.

When you’re ready to roast the seeds, thoroughly dry them, then…

For a classic flavor:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit, then lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Toss the dried pumpkin seeds in roughly 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then toss/flip the seeds.
  • From this point, you’ll want to turn/flip the seeds every 2 minutes, roasting until they’ve turned a slightly brown color.
  • Once the seeds begin to brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

*If you prefer not to soak the seeds prior to roasting, it’s best to roast at a lower temperature for a longer period of time: 300 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes, turning/flipping the seeds every 5 minutes until golden brown.

For a savory flavor:

- Follow the above instructions, but instead of simply tossing the seeds in olive oil and salt, you’ll use the following seasonings for every 1 cup of seeds:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

For a sweet flavor:

- Follow the instructions for classic roasted pumpkin seeds, listed above, but instead of simply tossing the seeds in olive oil and salt, you’ll use the following seasonings for every 3 cups of seeds:

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ceylon cinnamon

- Coat the pumpkin seeds in the above mixture, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for roughly 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or until seeds begin to brown.

4- Decor Galore

We detailed how to make beautiful natural-hued fall flowers above, but there are many other ways to amplify your fall decor using pumpkin seeds.

Of course, you’ll want to roast the seeds prior to use. So, follow the directions for basic roasting listed under the first section (for feeding birds), then consider using the roasted seeds for any of the following decor options:

  • Using a clear glass vase, add several cups (depending on the size of your vase) of pumpkin seeds to the bottom of the vase, then place a taper candle or an array of artificial flowers into the seeds/vase.
  • Also using a clear glass vase, add layers of pumpkin seeds, yellow or multicolored dried corn, lentils, etc. Layering these seeds, dried beans, etc showcases an array of natural fall colors.
  • Use dried apple and orange slices, cinnamon sticks, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc to create a beautiful fall garland to hang over a doorway or to use as a centerpiece on your fall-themed dinner table.

5- DIY Face And Body Scrub

Pumpkin seed oil is made from pressed pumpkin seeds. And, this oil is said to reduce fine lines as well as aid in keeping your skin moisturized and nourished.

While you won’t be pressing oil from the seeds here, by using fresh pumpkin seeds, your food processor, and a variety of oils you can make a healthy, nourishing face mask or exfoliating body scrub.

To make your own pumpkin seed face mask (or body scrub):

  • Scoop the seeds (and a bit of the pulp too for added vitamins and minerals) from a pumpkin and place them in your food processor. (this recipe calls for 4 ounces of seeds)
  • Add ½ ounce tamanu oil, ½ ounce jojoba oil, ¼ ounce vitamin e oil, ¼ ounce rhassoul clay, and a few drops of lavender and carrot seed essential oils to the pumpkin seeds in your processor.
  • Blend or process the above ingredients until you have a mask that’s slightly gritty in texture.
  • Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. (since the seeds are fresh, you don’t want to keep this past a week)

Once prepared, you can apply it to your face or skin, gently rubbing in a circular motion for one minute. Leave the mask on for roughly 10 minutes, allowing your skin to absorb the nutrients and moisture, then rinse off completely.

6- Add To Baked Goods And Savory Dishes

While we don’t have the time here today to list full recipes detailing all the ways you can use pumpkin seeds in yummy dishes, here’s a few tasty ideas to get your wheels turning…

If you’re using pumpkin seeds in baked goods or in your lunch or dinner time meals, you’ll want to start by roasting the seeds, then removing the shells or hulls.

Once you’ve done this, here’s a few creative, and yummy, ways to use the seeds:

  • Add shelled pumpkin seeds to a mix of rolled oats, dried fruit, other nuts/seeds, some coconut flakes, and a little honey. Mix together and bake for a delicious homemade granola.
  • You can add shelled pumpkin seeds to top salads or garnish soups for a delightful, antioxidant-rich crunch.
  • Give yourself a break from typical nut butters and make your own pumpkin seed butter.
  • Add shelled pumpkin seeds to ordinary cookie recipes for added flavor and texture (especially those recipes which already call for an assortment of nuts).
  • Pumpkin seed brittle is a tasty way to enjoy a sweet fall treat.
  • Kneading pumpkin seeds into bread dough adds a welcomed crunch in focaccia or flatbreads.
  • You can grind pumpkin seeds and use them in place of almond flour in some baked good recipes.
  • Blend pumpkin seeds with your normal hummus ingredients for a tasty twist.

7- Crafts And Educational Activities

Fun fact, I used to be a teacher. I taught kindergarten, and then I homeschooled my own children. And, I only say that for this purpose…from a teacher’s standpoint, these crafts and activities are golden!

Anytime you can engage a child, allowing them to have fun in the learning process, this not only makes children more willing to participate, but it also enhances their ability to retain the information presented.

How on earth can pumpkin seeds aid in this manner? I’m glad you asked.

Consider the following educational activities that can be done with pumpkin seeds: (at the end of these suggestions, look for instructions to dye the seeds)

  • Dye your leftover pumpkin seeds a variety of colors and use them to teach about the colors of the rainbow. While explaining the ins and outs of this beautiful scientific phenomenon, allow your children to glue the colored seeds onto a piece of cardstock to make their very own pumpkin seed rainbow.
  • While you could do this activity without dying the pumpkin seeds, it would definitely be more fun for children to do so. With dyed (or plain) pumpkin seeds, you can use a permanent marker to write letters on the seeds. Then, allow children to build words using the lettered seeds. With younger children, I’d recommend starting with a few common hard consonant letters and soft vowels, allowing them to spell out simple words such as c-a-t, d-o-g, b-a-t, etc.
  • Create a chart with vertical columns. At the bottom of each column, write a number. Then allow your child to sort and count out the noted number of pumpkin seeds to add to each corresponding column (dyed seeds would be fun here, you could even dictate the color for each column to test knowledge here).
  • Cut out paper pumpkins and write a number on each pumpkin. Then, have your child count out the designated number of pumpkin seeds to add to corresponding pumpkins.
  • Use plain or colored pumpkin seeds as cover tabs in a fun fall-themed game of bingo or tic-tac-toe.

Aside from educational activities, you can also make a variety of kid-friendly crafts using pumpkin seeds.

  • One way to do this is to dye the seeds in autumn colors. Draw the trunk and branches of a tree onto white paper, then allow your child to glue the colored seeds as leaves on the tree.
  • Another fun fall craft to do with the seeds is to dye them various fall hues and glue them to a drawing or cut out of a turkey, using the colored seeds as turkey feathers.
  • Using dyed pumpkin seeds, allow children to make a mosaic by gluing the colored seeds onto cardboard or cardstock.

How To Dye Pumpkin Seeds

Place clean, rinsed, and dried pumpkin seeds into the oven at 300 degrees fahrenheit for roughly 30 minutes, turning the seeds every 5 minutes, to ensure they are completely dried out for use in crafts/activities.

1. Once dried, place some pumpkin seeds into a ziplock bag along with a few drops of food coloring. Seal the bag, then allow children to manipulate, move, rub the seeds in the bag to fully coat them in the dye.

Once the seeds are fully colored, dump them onto a plate to allow them to fully dry before using. You can also place the colored seeds into the microwave or oven for quick drying.

2. To dye a large number of seeds at once, you can add ½ cup cold water, 1 ½ tablespoons of distilled white vinegar, and a desired amount of food coloring to a cup. Stir to combine, then add dried pumpkin seeds to the mixture, stirring to ensure the seeds are fully coated.

Allow the seeds to soak in the mixture for approximately 30 minutes, then spread onto paper towels on a baking sheet to dry out overnight.

For both methods of dying pumpkin seeds, make sure they’re fully dry before using them in crafts or activities.

8- Plant The Seeds

If you have the space to do so, and you’d like to reduce the costs associated with carving, you can simply save your seeds and plant them. Then you’ll have your own, home grown, pumpkins to carve next fall.

When desiring to save the seeds from your freshly carved pumpkin with the intent to plant them, you definitely won’t be roasting the seeds.

Instead, you’ll want to clean the seeds, placing them in water to remove the pulp and fiber.

Then, once you’ve rinsed the seeds, dry them completely, and store the dried seeds in a cool, dry place.

Once winter’s chill has passed, you can plant the seeds in the early spring, and when autumn rolls around, you’ll have your very own pumpkin patch.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Embolden Dark Roast.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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