Carving jack-o’-lanterns has been a Halloween tradition since Victorian times but the sticky pumpkin pulp and seeds wreak havoc on modern kitchen sink drains when carvers put the muck down the drain and into the garbage disposal.
“It’s surprising how many people try to get rid of the pumpkin guts with the disposal,” said Paul Abrams, spokesman for Roto-Rooter. “The slimy pumpkin pulp gums up disposals, sticks to the pipes then hardens like glue to choke your drains.”
To prevent Halloween drain disasters, Roto-Rooter plumbing and Drain Service recommends carving pumpkins on a thick bed of newspaper far from the kitchen sink. When the jack-o’-lantern is finished, all pumpkin pulp should then be wrapped up in the newspaper and tossed into the garbage can or dumped into a compost pile.
Every year Roto-Rooter gets a burst of kitchen sink jobs in the five or so days leading up to Halloween when most people carve their pumpkins. Plumbers uses a special rotating cable machine equipped with cutting blades to bore through sink clogs then shave away the pumpkin pulp clinging to the inside pipe walls. The process can be time consuming and costly.
Instead of putting them down the drain, pumpkin seeds planted next spring will grow into pumpkins by next Halloween. The seeds can also be roasted for a Halloween treat.