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?