A Newton mom watched her son as he lifted a massive pumpkin over his head, hurled it at the ground, and yelled “Die, pumpkin!” This mother-son pair was one of the many families that attended Newton’s first Pumpkin Smash, an event held on Nov. 2 at City Hall that encouraged families to compost their pumpkins rather than throw them out after Halloween.
There was a pumpkin catapult, a pumpkin target practice, and a pumpkin basketball hoop. The most popular area of the Pumpkin Smash, however, was a large tarped area on the ground where parents and kids alike would simply throw their pumpkins on the ground. A small tractor would come every 10 minutes and bring the pumpkin remains to the compost bin.
There was also a table where residents could donate leftover Halloween candy that would go to Treats for Troops, a program that sends candy to troops and veterans.
Wenjing Zou came to the event with her husband and young daughter—she says the Pumpkin Smash was a perfect way to have fun while being environmentally friendly.
“We don’t want to waste the pumpkins, so we thought this was a very good solution to make everyone happy,” Zou said.
Julie Swersey attended with her husband and two kids. She said that even though her kids were really looking forward to the actual pumpkin smashing, they were also extremely excited about the environmental aspect of the project. Swersey’s daughter, Belle, expressed her excitement about all of the different opportunities at the Pumpkin Smash.
“I want to do all of the things! And more things!” Belle exclaimed.
Smashing pumpkins on the ground was the best part for Megan Dolan, her friend, and their kids.
“Lifting a pumpkin over your head and letting it loose is kind of a fun thing to do,” Dolan said. “There are so few opportunities to smash things when it’s socially acceptable.”
Dolan also said she was very excited about the composting side of the event.
“I recently signed up for the Black Earth Composting service, so I’m attracted to the idea of not just dumping the pumpkin in the trash, and it’s a fun community event on a beautiful day,” she said. “Why not come out and cathartically smash some pumpkins?”
Waneta Trabert, head organizer of the event and director of Sustainable Materials Management, said the Pumpkin Smash coincided with Newton’s new compost collection system run through Black Earth Compost. Black Earth Compost is a food waste collection company that operates all throughout eastern Massachusetts.
This is the first year Newton held the Pumpkin Smash. Tabert said a volunteer brought the idea to the Department of Public Works (DPW) after she had seen successful pumpkin smashes in other cities and communities. In late August DPW officially decided to move forward with the idea after Mayor Ruthanne Fuller expressed her support.
“It ended up timing really well for the city’s rollout of a curbside composting partnership with Black Earth Compost,” Trabert said. “We have some tables with information about composting options and keeping organics out of the trash, so that’s the educational component of this event.”
Featured Image by Julia Kiersznowski / For The Heights