One of many uses for a pumpkin, make a hatBored out of your gourd with all the basics you can do with a pumpkin? The following are budget-stretching alternatives. Not a pie recipe or jack o' lantern in sight.

Doggie laxative: Grate fresh pumpkin. Feed the dog no more than 5 tablespoons twice a day, recommends vetinfo.com. Don't overdo it, or your pooch will get the the runs. You can also use cooked or canned pumpkin. Make sure the latter is sugar-free and doesn't have synthetic additives that can also upset an animal's stomach. The fiber-rich pumpkin infusion should work within a day for routine constipation. Obviously, if you think a bigger problem is brewing, call the vet.

Face mask:
You're going to be the most excellent exfoliating enchantress in your patch with this recipe from Leon's Beauty Tips and Secrets: Mix 5 or 6 tablespoons of pumpkin pulp, 3 tablespoons of sugar and a half-teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil into a thick paste. Cake it on your face. Scrub after 2 or 3 minutes.

Soup bowl: Serve in style with a pumpkin holiday bowl. Slice the top quarter off a small, flat-bottomed pumpkin, says doityourself.com. Scoop out the gunk and coat the edge with vegetable oil. Pour in soup or stew or dip or just about any treat that requires orange and sassy containment.

Pumpkin toss game: Make the kids earn their Halloween candy with this tricky treat of a contest. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin. The smaller the hole, the more difficult the game. Have kids toss their wrapped candies from a standard distance at the pumpkin hole. If they make the shot, they keep the candy. If they miss, it goes to Mommy or Daddy.

Pumpkin toss game no. 2: This is an egg-toss using pumpkins instead. Have pairs of contestants use approximately same-size small pumpkins (intact) and stand the same distance apart. Have players toss to their partners back and forth at the same time. Teams that drop the pumpkin are eliminated. (You don't wait for the pumpkins to splatter in this game.) Have teams take a step back after every round. Encourage caution. Nothing can ruin a Halloween party like a pumpkin to the head.

Hat for a pumpkin maniac: Boredom and caffeine met enterprise while I waited for the pumpkin seeds to roast. I hollowed out a pumpkin that had served as a painting project for my kids, and slapped it on my head. Then I dabbled on a little makeup and got my crazy on. At least the shell didn't go to waste.



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