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Halloween treat for wildlife is a ghoulish mistake

Posted on Monday 23rd October 2023
Discarded Pumpkins newsroom

Discarded pumpkins collected by countryside rangers around Cannock Chase after Halloween last year.

Post-Halloween pumpkins being left in country parks for animals to eat are more trick than treat for wildlife.

In previous years, rangers at Staffordshire County Council’s countryside parks have noticed an increasing trend of well-meaning people leaving the carved pumpkins to degrade naturally and feed the animals.

But the dumped pumpkins cause more harm than good – particularly if they still have the tealights inside.

Cabinet member for communities and culture at Staffordshire County Council, Victoria Wilson, said:

“Pumpkins are not a natural food source of woodland and heathland wildlife and can cause some wildlife to become poorly.

“Another concern is the decorations used on carved pumpkins - along with tealights that are left in them - can also pose as a danger to wildlife, should they be eaten. Usually, the pumpkins are not eaten and then left to rot on the path edges, which makes the area slippery and hard to pass by.”

Instead of giving wildlife a sickly spook, residents are being encouraged to cook their unwanted pumpkins into tasty autumnal treats such as pumpkin pie or soup.

Alternatively, they can be composted or disposed of in the appropriate green or brown bin.

Victoria Wilson added:

“With Halloween fast approaching, I have no doubt that a lot of people will be buying pumpkins to celebrate.

“Unfortunately, a lot of these pumpkins have ended up in our country parks because people believe they are being helpful by recycling and feeding animals. Sadly, this is not the case.

“Please help us keep our country parks safe for both its inhabitants and visitors by disposing of your leftover pumpkins responsibly. This can be done by either composting them or putting them in your garden waste bin.”

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