6 things to do with pumpkins in Chicago

Carving that same old jack-o-lantern can start to get a little old, so check out our picks for alternative pumpkin activities.

Carving that same old jack-o-lantern can start to get a little old, so check out our picks for alternative pumpkin activities.

Smash them

To be fair, this one’s more like “watch pumpkins getsmashed.” The ever-so-creepy “Pumpkin Executioner” ceremoniallydemolishes one pumpkin every half-hour, and he’s got a whole scaryroutine to go along with it. Just try not to picture a guillotinewhile you’re watching.

Creatures of the Night

  • Brookfield Zoo
  • First Avenue between Ogden Avenue and 31st Street,Brookfield
  • Oct. 12-28, Friday-Sunday,6:30-10:30 p.m.
  • (708) 688-8000
  • czs.org

Set a world record with them

You can spice up pumpkin carving by heading to the GreatHighwood Pumpkin Fest, where they’re planning to makepumpkin-carving history. Last year, the 30,919 lit pumpkins brokethe Guinness World Record, and they’re hoping to one-up themselvesin 2012. Bring your own carved pumpkin or carve a pre-scooped oneat the fest.

Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest

Roll them

Pumpkin rolling might seem like the ultimate lazy person’scompetition, but we have a feeling it’s harder than it sounds. Tryto pick out a perfectly round pumpkin, then see how far it goeswith just one roll. Each roll is only $1 (and benefits the localBoy Scout troop), so we’ll understand if you try over and over andover.


  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 20.
  • Batavia Riverwalk, Batavia
  • (630) 879-5235
  • bataviaparks.org

Chuck them

If you get a rush from seeing a perfectly shaped pumpkinshattered into a million pieces, this event’s for you-even thoughit’s a long drive downstate. Adults and kids build machines to hurlpumpkins through the air, and then watch them come crashing down.Spectators are welcome, too, if you don’t want to bother withphysics.

Pumpkin Farm

  • $5 per vehicle
  • Gates open at 10 a.m. Oct. 20.
  • 16339 Springfield Road, Morton
  • (309) 266-5135
  • mortonmagnet.com

Swim with them

No, “swimming with the pumpkins” isn’t some mob-styleeuphemism. It’s literal, as in the Water Works’ pool isfilled with floating orange gourds, and kids 2-12 take turnspaddling around with them.

The Water Works

  • $18, $12 pre-registration
  • 6-8 p.m. Oct. 25
  • Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road,Schaumburg
  • (847) 490-2505
  • parkfun.com

Hunt for them

Searching for hidden pumpkins using a GPS unit sounds likea challenge, but add in the cover of darkness and it seemsextra-tough.

  • $16, $13 resident
  • 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 27
  • Lincoln Marsh Natural Area
  • Harrison and Pierce avenues, Wheaton
  • (630) 871-2810
  • lincolnmarsh.org

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