Pumpkins — Carve ’em, Eat ’em, . . . Chuck ’em?

Halloween’s most famous symbol (except maybe the white-sheet ghost) has several uses: front-porch prop, tasty fall vegetable, and carving medium. But chucking pumpkins is becoming a popular activity as well. And this is some serious chucking: The World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest last year attracted 50,000 spectators and 100 teams.

So what is pumpkin chucking? More than just tossing the orange vegetable, the “sport” incorporates launching machines like air compressors, catapults, centrifugal machines that spin the pumpkins before hurling them, and trebuchets. The contest’s record for distance was set in 2003, when a pumpkin flew 4,434 feet.

Other chucking contests include:

  • Pumpkin Chuckin in Moab, Utah, Oct. 27.
  • The Bristol Pumpkin Festival, Bristol, Conn., Oct. 28. Contestants are invited to power their pumpkins with “springs, rubber bands, air, muscle, centrifugal force, brute strength, power architecture and bicycles.”
  • Pumpkin-chucking weekend, Nov. 3-4, in Ellicott City, Md.
  • Pumpkin Chuck, Nov. 3, in Cincinnati’s Stanbery Park.

Oil up your sling and see how far your pumpkin can go!

[via Msnbc]