The Scary Truth Behind Scotland’s Halloween Pumpkin Waste

Posted by Michael.Thorburn on 31st October 2017

Halloween is a frightfully fun time of year, a great opportunity to put on your freakiest fancy dress outfit, go guising, or get ‘dookin’ for some apples! One of the most enjoyable and creative parts of any good Halloween celebration is definitely carving the pumpkin. You can spend ages designing the perfect jack-o’-lantern that will impress all your friends and family. However, recent research carried out by Hubbub has shown the scary truth behind these spooky decorations…

 Zero Waste Scotland is an organisation that wants to create a society where all resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Their goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. As part of their focus on food waste, they created the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ campaign, to help Scots up and down the country find ways to cut down their food waste.

In Scotland, hundreds of millions pounds worth of food is wasted each year, with fruit and vegetables being some of the biggest contributors. Last year alone, more than £200 million worth of fruit and vegetables was thrown out of our homes. Unfortunately, as we move into the Halloween period, pumpkins become a huge portion of that statistic.

Did you know that there were approximately 1.8 million pumpkins carved in Scotland for Halloween last year. However, the sad truth is that more that 1.1 million of these pumpkins were also thrown away, creating a massive amount of food waste. To put that in perspective, that’s enough pumpkins to stretch from Edinburgh to Stornoway!!

Because of this monstrous amount of waste, our friends at Zero Waste Scotland are calling on all Scots to get more use out of their creepy carvings, by creating tasty treats. Hubbub’s research showed that while 80% of people questioned were concerned about food waste, seven out of ten pumpkins carved for Halloween didn’t get eaten, with over half of all respondents saying they had never thought of a Halloween pumpkin as food.

That’s why Zero Waste Scotland, as part of the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ campaign, is creating a special toolkit with pumpkin recipes. The hope is that this will encourage people to create wonderful pumpkin dishes with their carvings this Halloween. Amazingly, Halloween is now the second biggest party night after New Year’s Eve in Scotland. Because of this, it’s vitally important that we all do our bit to prevent creating an ever-larger mountain of food waste.

We want to inspire everyone about what they can do with their pumpkin carvings including making a delicious meal the whole family can enjoy. The added bonus is that in doing so you can help make Scotland a greener place to live at the same time! We’ve set an ambitious target to reduce Scotland’s food waste by 33% by 2025. By making everyone aware of the alternatives to throwing things away we can give them the chance to make the right choices when it comes to food.

If you are one of the many people who hadn’t really considered your Halloween pumpkin as a great source of food, or even if you are just looking for some new ideas, Zero Waste Scotland’s pumpkin toolkit has you covered. In it you’ll find a fang-tastic amount of content, from more information about our pumpkin habits to some tasty recipes that will have everyone shrieking with delight.

You may be thinking that standard Halloween pumpkins aren’t really very appetising, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Carvings from any pumpkin make for a great ingredient in anything from soup to curry to chutney or even in baking, with a nice pumpkin pie! So what are you waiting for, head on over to the website to check out their recipes: and get creating dishes so good, they’ll raise the dead…