Halloween Pumpkin Slaughter!!! Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

I abhor food waste. I roll my eyes every time I see a display of those knobby, gnarly, little decorative gourds and dried miniature corn cobs for sale anywhere. The U.S. is probably the only country that grows food purely for decoration. Not to be a downer on the fall holiday decorating season, but it really, seriously bugs me.

Once when I was maybe 7, I was at the grocery store with my mom and we had gotten this big-ass watermelon. When we were loading up into the car, the watermelon rolled off the lower rack and tumbled down the parking lot and was smashed into a pile of pulp and I started bawling my face off in front of the cute teenage boy who worked at the store. I was just SO SAD at the thought that the watermelon would just be thrown away, wasted, that it would have been plucked from its melon-patch home in vain.

Mama consoled me by explaining that a raccoon would eat it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Another time, a grown-up now, I came home from a weekend trip to find I’d left my freezer door ajar and the refrigerator motor had burned out. There was no consoling me this time. I’m talking screaming, crying, frustration, anger and ULTIMATE SADNESS, followed by days of moping and sulking and guilt. It’s really pathological.

However, sometimes tradition trumps irrational emotional responses. I still like to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. But I must INSIST on roasting and eating the seeds.

Then my pumpkin hasn’t died in vain, right?

Watch the Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Jack o’Lantern Carving Video on YouTube

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

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A healthy snack that makes the most of your pumpkin or any winter squash!


  • Fresh pumpkin seeds from your Jack O’Lantern, let’s say you have about a cup
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, Worchestershire sauce, lemon zest, thyme, cinnamon, allspice


  1. Remove all the orange membrane threads from the pumpkin seeds and rinse them well in a bowl of water.
  2. Drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  4. Spread them on a baking sheet and pat dry with a towel.
  5. Drizzle with the oil or butter and mix around with your hands until they are all coated.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and whatever other seasonings you want to try.
  7. Distribute them evenly in a single layer on the pan
  8. Bake about 15 minutes and then check them. You may need to cook them up to 30 minutes if your pumpkin seeds are real big. They are done when they are slightly golden and puffed up.
  9. Remove and taste for salt. Add more while they are hot if you think it needs more.
  10. Let cool and store in an airtight container, but honestly they will probably all get eaten right away.

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You can add any seasoning you like to these. It’s all yummy. I prefer spicy pumpkin seeds with chili powder, cayenne, and garlic. Pumpkin seeds are great for snacks or atop salads. If you’ve ever had roasted pumpkin seeds that were tough and chewy instead of crisp and crunchy, they were probably not cooked long enough. Any winter squash seeds (butternut, acorn, kabocha) can be roasted the same way.


  1. Brady Hamilton on October 26, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I LOVE PUMPKIN SEEDS!! I already had my wife make 2 batches. I never tried them with the spice mixture you got goin on. Gonna have to try that. Thanks Hilah!

    • Hilah on October 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

      I LOVE PUMPKIN SEEDS, TOO!!! I could have eaten that whole pan myself in about 5 minutes but I had to share with the ghost.
      Happy Halloween to you and the missus!

  2. Bev Weidner on October 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This. Was. Awesome.

    • Hilah on October 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

      You. Are. Awesome. Too.
      But also, this episode was SO FUN to shoot! I wish every day was Halloween!

  3. Great Stone Face on October 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Great ideas for seasoning the seeds! I usually just salt them. The past few years, though, since our kids have grown, we’ve put out three terracotta jack’o’lanterns with candles inside. Maybe I’ll get myself out to buy a real pumpkin this year, mostly for the seeds and to help the farmers out.

    However (Why is there always a “however” with me?), if you want a cut pumpkin jack’o’lantern to last longer, lightly coat the cut surfaces with Vaseline®.

    • Hilah on October 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Yeah! Or get a pie pumpkin and eat the whole thing this year!
      I was lucky enough to go to a party last week with a jack o’lantern carving contest which also meant there was a HUGE bowl of delicious roasted pumpkin seeds afterwards, of which I ate more than my share I am sure.

      Thanks for the Vaseline tip! I’ve also heard of spraying the inside with bleach, but that is kind of yucky.

      • Vince on October 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

        Spray it with Pam – but as I recall we had some excitement when we put a candle in it. Might have used a bit too much pam. Then light up one of them glow sticks, cut the top off and drool some of the lit up liquid over the thing – red ones are good for that. Careful you don’t lose a thumb when you cut the top off the glow stick… HILAH!

        Great episode!!

        • Hilah on October 27, 2011 at 9:48 am

          Awesome idea, dude!
          And next time, light the candle after you spray it, not the other way around! 😉

          • Vince on October 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

            huh.. why didn’t I think of that? 🙂

  4. Jane on October 26, 2011 at 11:24 am


    • Hilah on October 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Yikes! Your scary ghost voice SCARED ME! Easy, Jane, dear!

  5. Diane on October 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the reminder; I totally meant to get cocaine at the grocery today, but had left it off my list! Love the dress, btw.

    • Hilah on October 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

      No problem! I bet you won’t forget again! 🙂

  6. bob on June 13, 2012 at 7:09 am

    When I’ve roasted pumpkin seeds in the past I always wanted a nice fine coating of salt that actually stuck to the seeds instead of grains that bounced off into low earth orbit, like in those old Diamond Crystal ads on TV when I was a kid (which, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, probably kind of shows my age). So what I do is to put a bunch of salt into just enough water to dissolve it, over heat, and swoosh the seeds in it. Then when they’re roasting the water evaporates and leaves a nice fine coating of salt behind (I can feel my blood pressure skyrocket just typing this). Never tried it with spices, but it seems that if they were in the water, too, they should stick, right? I hope? Maybe?

    Maybe I’ve got my priorities backward, but to me the whole point of making a Jack ‘o’ Lantern in the first place is to get seeds to roast.

    • Hilah on June 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Oh Bob! You’re a man after my own heart. That is a terrific idea! Thank you a million times for sharing. I’ve never thought of the salt water idea before, and yes, I do think that ground spices (cayenne, chili powder) would stick just as well.

      Makes me want to go out and buy a squash to try it. I’ve started saving all seeds from winter squashes to roast – butternut squash seeds work nicely, too.

  7. BJ on October 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I like mine with cocaine and crushed spider eggs! Classic hahaha. Love it. My former boss used to brine hers before cooking but I thought they were way too salty…I just apply a little salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Love it! Carving two pumpkins this weekend!

    • Hilah on October 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Have fun, BJ! We need to get some pumpkins to carve this weekend, too!

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