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Let’s Smash Some Pumpkins at the Discovery Center

The Great North American Pumpkin Launch
Boston Globe, Getty Images

Sure, you could use a traditional method like a garbage can or yard waste bin to get rid of your Halloween pumpkins, but honestly–is that as much fun as using a trebuchet? The answer, of course, is NO. Even if you don’t know what a trebuchet is.

First off, for the uninitiated, this is a trebuchet:

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Dorling Kindersley, Getty Images

From Wikipedia:

A trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a type of siege engine which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile at the enemy.

The traction trebuchet first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. It spread westward, probably by the Avars, and was adopted by the Byzantines in the mid 6th century AD. It uses manpower to swing the arm.

The later counterweight trebuchet, also known as the counterpoise trebuchet, uses a counterweight to swing the arm. It appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the 12th century, and made its way back to China via Mongol conquests in the 13th century.

I know what you’re saying. “Gee, that looks like a contraption that I could have lots of fun flinging things with. But, where could I find a medieval siege weapon here in Rockford, Illinois?

The answer to that question is: Rockford’s own Discovery Center Museum.

Their annual “Smashing Pumpkins” event takes place this Sunday, November 5th, from 1pm to 4pm.

Why squander that worn-out jack-o-lantern when you can transform it into exciting science? Convert your porch décor into a pumpkin projectile and explore Newton’s laws of motion using our giant trebuchet! Or add your carved creation to a colossal orange edifice for target practice! Plus, construct a mini-catapult of your own, create a craft, design autumn artwork, and fashion a feeder for feathered friends.

When the launching ends, pumpkin pieces are collected and fed to local livestock – everybody wins as we celebrate the harvest with a smashing good time! Included with Discovery Center admission.

It’s only $8 per person, or free to museum members and those under the age of one year.

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