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Chico State

A Smashing Good Time: 34th Annual Pumpkin Drop on Halloween

Pumpkins splat on a giant tarp splayed on the ground after they've been dropped from 30 feet in a fun science lesson in physics for schoolchildren
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Making a mess can be really fun—especially when you’re learning about science.

The 34th Chico State Pumpkin Drop will take place on Tuesday, October 31 at noon. Returning to Trinity Commons, hundreds of elementary students from Chico Unified School District will look on in awe as pumpkins hurtle earthward from a scissor lift approximately 50 feet in the air—resulting in an explosive and messy display of science.

“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.”

Along with the usual cast of historical scientists, including Copernicus, Newton and Galileo, other notable physicists will also make appearances.

The Pumpkin Drop is scheduled to last 30 to 45 minutes and is open to the public—the entire Chico community is invited to watch.

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, a few treats may even be handed out to those in attendance.

Additionally, an “intermission” will provide further opportunities for learning. For example, 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.

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