Have your children outgrown pumpkin patches? Ready for something bigger and more exciting?
If you're looking for a fall activity that packs a powerful punch, consider taking the kids pumpkin chucking—also known as punkin chunkin' and pumpkin chunkin'—where teams compete to see who can hurl a pumpkin the farthest using a slingshot, catapult, trebuchet, or air cannon.
Want to participate? Pumpkin chucking is a great opportunity for kids to build STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education skills because the activity is at its foundation a hands-on, problem-solving exercise. Even if you don't enter the competition yourself, you and your kids can still learn about what works and what doesn't just through observation.
Fun Facts About Punkin Chunkin
The WCPCA World Record is 4,694.68 feet, made at the 2013 World Championship event by Team American Chunker from New Hampshire.
The Guinness World Record in punkin chunkin is 5,545.43 feet. The shot was made by a pneumatic cannon dubbed "Big 10 Inch" in 2010 in Moab, Utah.
Punkin Chunkin in the East
World Championship Punkin Chunkin: Bridgeville, DE
Started in 1986, the big daddy of all punkin chuckin fests happens in Delaware every November and draws competitors and spectators from all over the world. Not just about pumpkin destruction, the event is a giant science fair, fueling innovative engineering and science-based ideas. The organizers even give out scholarships.
Pumpkin Chuckin Fests: New England
As you might expect from a region that excels in celebrating autumn, New England offers a number of pumpkin chuckin' festivals and events, the oldest of which happens in New Hampshire at the Milford Pumpkin Festival.
Punkin Chunkin Festival: Clayton, NY
In New York's Thousand Islands Region, this fall fest takes place mid-October and features separate youth and adult pumpkin chucking contests.
Taking place every fall since 2010 at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway, this post-harvest season event invites teams to compete to see who can sling a pumpkin the farthest.
Punkin Chunkin in the Midwest
Great Pumpkin Festival: Racine, WI
This Halloween event has been a fixture in the area for over 20 years, but punkin chuckin is a relative newcomer. The event was moved to the Racine County Fairground to give contestants more room to chuck their pumpkins.
Morton Punkin Chunkin Contest: Morton, IL
This growing event has a 4,000-foot range and draws some serious chunkers from around the Midwest.
Route 66 Punkin Chunkin: Vinita, OK
This event takes place in mid-October and draws some big names in punkin chunkin.
Punkin Chunkin in the West
Discovery Cube Pumpkin Launch: Fullerton, CA
This free family event takes place in early November on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton. Teams compete to see who can launch a pumpkin using giant trebuchets and other devices and come closest to the target. Plus, kids can participate in hands-on activities throughout the day.
Punkin Chuckin Festival: Estancia, NM
Started in 1995 by local farmers, the Estancia Pumpkin Chunkin contest takes place on a Saturday in October and draws contenders from all over the Southwest to this town that's located about an hour southeast of Albuquerque.
Tucscon Pumpkin Toss: Tucson, AZ
Taking place since 2011 on the mall at the University of Arizona, this event measures for both distance and accuracy.
Punkin Chunkin Colorado: Aurora, CO
Held every year since 1998, this two-day event includes a pumpkin chucking competition and a fall festival complete with family activities, a pumpkin patch, fall market, food vendors and a beer garden.
Snohomish Pumpkin Hurl: Snohomish, WA
This event takes place in mid-September amid a medieval fair. Expect trebuchets and knights on horseback to feature here.
Burlington Pumpkin Pitch: Burlington, WA
The premier punkin chunkin event in the Northwest, this event takes place in the second half of September and draws all kinds of catapult and trebuchet entries.