Yes, you can buy pumpkins with food stamps or EBT cards anywhere in the United States. I assume this question must have gone through your mind several times. Especially now that the Pumpkin season is here, with Halloween, and Thanksgiving just ahead.
And as a SNAP benefits beneficiary or participant, you must be very excited to purchase some pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT card.
Find out your best chances of using your SNAP balance to get some pumpkins.
What are Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cards?
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, also known as food stamps are an initiative by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The SNAP designed the system to help low-income individuals and households meet their daily nutritional requirements acquired from the intake of staple foods.
As a result, eligible low-income individuals and households are given EBT cards linked to an EBT account. Subsequently, every month, SNAP sends benefits into the account of the EBT card holders for them to spend on food items.
The SNAP balance or money available on the card is usually a fixed amount, and it works like a prepaid or debit card, rather than a credit card. This means that you cannot spend more than is in your EBT account, and you definitely cannot buy items on credit with your card.
So, when your balance finishes, you must wait for SNAP to top up your benefits before you can be eligible for EBT purchases again.
What Can You Buy With Food Stamps or EBT Cards?
Because of the purpose of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as found in the name – “nutrition”, the participants or beneficiaries cannot use the card to buy “just anything”. It has to be EBT purchase eligible. What are food stamps or EBT eligible purchases?
SNAP categorizes food items into two types; staple foods, and non-staple foods or non-foods. Staple foods are what SNAP considers eligible for EBT purchases. What are “staple foods”?
Staple foods are foods that you can cook at home or that offer nutritional benefits that are synonymous with a balanced diet. To know what are staple foods, we consider the calories, and nutrients they provide.
As a result, we often employ the use of two popular labels; “Nutritional Facts” for items sold as food, and “Supplemental Facts” for food items sold as supplements.
However, things get messy, and a third label comes into play. This third label is called the decoration label. Stores and manufacturers often use this label to inform you that the indicated products are for decorations only, and in this case, food items.
Since SNAP benefits cover only food items that constitute balanced nutrition to the body, they must be edible and sold as food.
Thus, when the store or manufacturer labels a popular food item as a decorative item, it becomes inadmissible as food. And therefore does not qualify as a real food item eligible for EBT purchase.
This is common during the holidays when popular foods and fruits like pumpkins, bananas, oranges, etc. also become decorative items.
Although, this happens almost all-year round since fake foods are now being used as home decor by a sizable number of people.
Summary of Grocery or Food Items You Can Buy with Your Food Stamps or EBT Cards
Generally, these are the food items you can buy with your food stamps or EBT card:
- Fruits and vegetables;
- Meat, poultry, and fish;
- Dairy products;
- Bread and cereals;
- Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
You cannot buy dog food, alcoholic drinks, drugs and vitamins, supplements, pet foods, fake foods, and household supplies with EBT cards.
Also, food stamps do not cover personal hygiene items, live animals, hot food, heated food, and cold prepared foods, etc either.
Do Food Stamps Cover Pumpkins?
Yes, pumpkins are covered by your food stamps or EBT cards. However, this is a tricky one. Pumpkins are popular fruits that are mostly available in the summer and fall. And they are very nutritious, and low in calories due to the absence of fats in their composition.
As a result, SNAP considers pumpkins as food items eligible for EBT purchases. Nevertheless, you cannot buy some pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards. Did you ask why? Stay with me then.
People using food items and plants as a form of home decoration are increasing every day, and this increases demand. To meet this demand, stores, and marketers sometimes decide to market some food items as decorative items. Thus, this changes their status from food to normal decors.
In this case, Pumpkins. Pumpkins are often classified into two; edible and fake pumpkins. Edible pumpkins are those the store or marketers sell as food items, and for consumption purposes.
On the other hand, the fake pumpkins are for decorative purposes only – they cannot or shouldn’t be eaten.
Therefore, you can only purchase pumpkins that the stores or manufacturers sell or label as food since they are edible with your food stamps. Otherwise, your food stamps or EBT cards do not cover other kinds of pumpkins.
Can You Buy Pumpkins with Food Stamps?
Yes, you can buy pumpkins with food stamps or EBT cards. By this, I mean an edible pumpkin. Edible pumpkins are fruits that can be eaten, and they are also sold as food in most grocery stores.
The catch here is that your intentions do not matter.
Many people buy edible pumpkins from stores and carve them for decoration purposes. Remember that the pumpkins were labeled edible from the stores and were supposed to be eaten.
However, the fact that you decide not to eat it when you get home does not affect the purpose of its sale.
So in a nutshell, you can buy as many edible pumpkins as you want with food stamps or EBT cards. And you will not be questioned if you use it for something else such as decorations.
Can You Buy Fake Pumpkins with Food Stamps?
No, you cannot buy fake pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT card. This is because the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits only cover the purchase of food items. And for a pumpkin to qualify as a food item, it needs to be edible, and fake pumpkins aren’t.
Fake pumpkins are made from different materials like foams, plastics, pumpkin skin, etc. Albeit, they look like real pumpkins especially if it is the work of a professional DIYer or artist, they are not. This makes them inedible and ineligible for EBT purchases.
Another reason is that fake pumpkins always have decorative store labels on them. So they are never at any point food.
Can You Buy Pumpkin Seeds with Food Stamps?
Yes, you can buy pumpkin seeds with food stamps or an EBT card. Recall that only staple foods can be considered eligible food in qualified stores, and seeds happen to be part.
This is because, with the seeds, the household can plant, and grow more pumpkins that will sprout in the summer.
However, you and your household must plant the pumpkin seeds, and reap the harvest for family use only. There is no crime in sharing the harvest with neighbors, but there must be no exchange of money.
This means you cannot buy pumpkin seeds using SNAP benefits, and then open a shop or stall to start selling them. (haha!)
Can You Buy Whole Pumpkins with Food Stamps?
Of course, you can buy whole pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards. I mean, duh! A whole just means a single unit of the fruit, and it is very odd to buy or sell half pumpkin.
However, I believe the question is not about how the quantity of the fruit, but rather the money. As long as your SNAP balance is enough, you can buy as many edible whole pumpkins as you wish with your EBT card or food stamps.
Can You Buy Carvings Pumpkins with Food Stamps?
Yes and No. Yes, you can buy edible pumpkins and use them as carvings pumpkins later in your home. I mean, you will have to carve them yourself.
However, you cannot buy ready-made carvings pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards directly from the store. Since they are not edible, they are therefore ineligible as well.
Can You Buy Halloween Pumpkins with Food Stamps?
The obvious answer here is No, you cannot buy Halloween pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards. However, if by the Halloween pumpkins, you mean the edible ones, then you are good to go.
You can either eat the edible pumpkins or carve them into scary Halloween figures or Jack-O-Lanterns.
Can You Buy Pumpkins with Food Stamps at Walmart?
Yes, you can buy pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards at Walmart, provided they are edible. Aside from Walmart, they are also at least 50 stores you can buy pumpkins in the US. For the physical stores, just any grocery store will do.
However, online retailers must be on the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot list. Check the page relevant to your state to get the list of approved stores specific to your location.
In some cases, you can buy pumpkins with your food stamps or EBT cards, while in some, you cannot. Edible pumpkins are always eligible for EBT purchases at any time of the year irrespective of your intentions for them.
However, you can’t buy pumpkins (fake) such as Halloween pumpkin, plastic pumpkins, or pumpkins marked as only for decorative purposes by grocery stores since they are not eligible for EBT purchases.