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Chico State

Messy Science: Pumpkin Drop Set for Halloween Day

Kids look on as a pumpkin drops to the ground in physics display
Jason Halley/University Photographer

Local elementary school students watch the Society of Physics students drop pumpkins from a lift during the Annual SPS Pumpkin drop on Thursday, October 31, 2019 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

A common and effective way to explore theories of gravity is by dropping objects. When those objects are pumpkins, fun is sure to follow.

The 33rd Chico State Pumpkin Drop will take place on October 31 at noon on Glenn Lawn. After a two-year absence, this year’s event will be led by Chico State’s Society of Physics Students and the Department of Physics.

Hundreds of Chico Unified Elementary School District students will look on in awe, watching pumpkins fall from a scissor lift approximately 50 feet in the air, leading to an explosive and messy display of science that will leave the young students cheering at the sight of physics in action.

“Once again we will be introducing elementary students to a fascinating aspect of gravity in an educational and creative setting,” said Kendall Hall, assistant professor in the Department of Physics. “It will be a great return to this event filled with science, smiles and a whole lot of exploding pumpkins.”

The Pumpkin Drop is scheduled to last 30 to 45 minutes and is open to the public. There will be a continued focus on the diversity of today’s physics students while illustrating how scientific theories can be formed and tested. Of course, there may even be a few treats handed out to those in attendance.

Additionally, an “intermission” will provide further opportunities for learning. A “vomiting pumpkin,” with the color being decided by the elementary schoolers, will be made by combining hydrogen peroxide and a variety of common household items.

For more information on this year’s Pumpkin Drop, please contact Kendall Hall at

Those who require an accommodation in order to watch the Pumpkin Drop or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.