Halloween is on it’s way! In the weeks before it’s arrival, there’s many fun activities to do, like carving pumpkins! Be warned: pumpkins and plumbing do not mix. Ever.

Everyone carves pumpkins at least once in their lifetime. Some people throw their pumpkin guts into a bowl for disposal in the trash. Others put it in the compost. Those who create plumbing disasters, however, put their guts down the sink. Or even worse, flush the guts and seeds down the toilet!

There is a large reason that the guts and seeds cause problems around Halloween. First off, if there’s more than one person in the house, there’s usually guts from more than one carved pumpkin going down the drain. That’s a large enough quantity of discarded pumpkin to accumulate and clog your home’s vital pipes.

The bigger reason that pumpkins cause such problems around Halloween is how the guts and seeds act in the pipes. The guts are stringy and sticky. They can gunk up and clog the pipes, or even worse, cause the pipe to become completely blocked and stop draining. If they dry up, they can stick together and do the same thing. The stickiness can also cause incoming food or garbage to get stuck and aid in clogging up the pipe.

Seeds are large, and it doesn’t take many to block a pipe. If the guts and seeds are flushed down the toilet, the problems crop up even further down the pipes and can be extremely costly to fix. Pumpkin guts down the toilet can even cause problems in the sewage system. Yikes.

To avoid these problems, there are a few solutions that can be employed each year.

First off is where the pumpkin is carved. It is advised that the pumpkins are carved outside or on a bed of newspaper. Keeping the pumpkin out of the sink to start with can help prevent a majority of the pumpkin gunk from going down the drain. For the extra cautious, working outside on a bed of newspaper works well.

The pumpkin guts can go into the compost pile. There are places that will even take unwanted pumpkin guts to ensure that they don’t end up down the pipe. After the pumpkin has run its course, it can also go in the compost pile or be buried to return nutrients to the soil in the area.

Pumpkin seeds, however, should not go into the compost pile. They can be toasted and then eaten. If toasted, they make wonderful trick-or-treat treats on Halloween night. Cinnamon, cayenne, oregano and hot sauce can be added (only one, a combination of two or three, or even all four) to the pumpkin seeds after they are toasted for a kick. If eating the seeds isn’t your thing, they can be air dried and stored. The next year they can be planted and your jack-o-lanterns can be home grown.

Should you decide to rinse the seeds before toasting them, do it outside. This helps to avoid the drain clogging problem and returns the gunk to the top soil, where it can be used and decomposed for nutrients.

Keeping all of this in mind will keep sink pipes and toilets from clogging, stopping, and needing repair before the big day. However, accidents can happen, especially if you have young children who are so excited about the upcoming holiday that they forget how to properly discard their pumpkin guts and seeds. If you find yourself facing a plumbing problem, give Alvarez Plumping a call. We’ll be glad to help you!