Outdoor play idea and a new post-Halloween tradition: smashing pumpkins

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

This year our family started a new post-Halloween tradition:  pumpkin smashing.  Normally I might process the pumpkin and save it for pies and bread, but this year the pumpkins that we carved were a bit past their prime and starting to decay.

My husband and I thought breaking the pumpkins open so we could explore their insides would make an excellent learning and messy play activity for our family.  Any time we can all play outdoors and make a mess together is a good time for us!

A post-Halloween tradition

Our pumpkins started out lovey au natural in their oranges and whites.   We originally purchased and decorated them with paint and glitter and melted crayons for our daughter Jillian’s Birthday Block Party.

On Halloween we decided to carve our painted and glittered pumpkins and we used battery operated tea lights to illuminate them.  It was a beautiful effect, if I do say so myself.

However, at almost two week post-Halloween the beautiful effect was long gone.  Of our half a dozen pumpkins and several tiny painted gourds, the majority were starting to rot.

We set aside the few that weren’t rotting to use in our Thanksgiving decorating and the rest we loaded up in the wheelbarrow for some pumpkin smashing!

We (or, rather, my husband Christopher) heaved the pumpkins with a high toss.  The kids stood back a safe distance and watched them come crashing down before they were given permission to dive in and smash and squish the pumpkins themselves.

We spent some time exploring the messy insides and talking about decay, the life cycles of plants, seeds, and even a bit about physics and the laws of gravity.

It was pretty cool, if a little gross.

I’m pretty sure the baby thought we were all nuts.  And perhaps a few of the neighbors did, too.

But, it was lots of fun, neat to explore, and a good chance for some messy outdoor play that taught us a few things about pumpkins, too.  I think a new tradition has been born and that next year post-Halloween will find our family smashing pumpkins again.

Does your family have any pumpkin traditions? Have you and your kids ever smashed your pumpkins post-Halloween? What do they think of the ooey gooey mess?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. This is so fun, Kara!!!

  2. I love this idea!! Our tradition stems from the book “Mousekin’s Golden House.” Our backyard is a steep uphill slope, so we deposit our carved pumpkins on the hill, and watch them “melt” and become homes for little creatures over the winter. We often end up with rogue pumpkin vines on the hill in the summer, and sometimes we get “volunteer” pumpkins growing up there!!

  3. Love it, Kara! We need to do this next year. (Finn was looking at this with me, and he kept saying, “Uh oh; pumpkin broke.”) :)
    Tsh @ Simple Mom´s latest post: 6 Steps to a Relaxed Christmas: order cards

  4. I’m glad to know we’re not the only ones who do this. I’m pretty sure our neighbors think we have issues, when they see us outside smashing our pumpkins, but it really is so much fun!

  5. Fun!!
    Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s latest post: Teaching kids to bake–the whys and hows

  6. Oh you are brilliant… Suddenly I think it would be a good idea for us to have a pumpkin event at our house next year!!!
    se7en´s latest post: Se7en + 1 Visit The Yuppie Chef HeadQuarters…

  7. Looks like lots of fun. We usually smash and toss them over our back hillside for the deer and many other critters that will love a nice fall squash. :)


  1. […] On October 1st we took the afternoon off and went to Thistleberry Farm to pick our pumpkins for the season.  (Maybe I’m childish, but I still love to pick my own!)  We had a really nice time (and met a really nice cat!) while we were there.  Halloween came mid-week so we never got around to carving jack-o-lanterns which meant that the pumpkins decorated the porch through Thanksgiving.  By November 30th, it was time for them to go so we had a pumpkin smashing party with our next door neighbors.  (Inspired by Simple Kids.) […]

  2. […] Smashing Pumpkins, a post-Halloween tradition from the Simple Kids archives […]

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