Imagine a crowd of people gathered together to watch pumpkins being launched through the air with a catapult! This, friends, is the Punkin Chunkin’ fundraiser and it takes smashing pumpkins to a whole new level. If you’re looking for an insanely fun and incredibly unique adoption fundraiser this fall, this one’s for you.

While the Pumpkin Painting Festival is best prior to Halloween, the Punkin Chunkin’ fundraiser is perfect just after. Not only will this event draw a crowd, it’s a great way to get rid of old pumpkins while raising some extra funds for your adoption thanks to the good ole’ Jack-ó-lantern. Read on for details from (shared with permission).

The Greenland (Maine) Women’s Club came up with a unique way to raise funds for the Red Cross-Great Bay Chapter and dispose of left over pumpkins and Jack-ó-lanterns at the same time. Volunteers build (or you can buy) a medieval-style catapult (aka trebuchet).  One person pulls the long, catapulting arm to the ground, while two others push the 214-pound weight on the other end of the arm up in the air. The arm is then secured by a rope and the pumpkin put into a large sling. Another volunteer gives the rope a good yank, the trigger is let loose, the arm swings, and the pumpkin soars through the air. Charge $10 per pumpkin and allow part of the money raised to go to the person with the longest Punkin’ Chunkin’ toss. Make sure no people, cars or three bedroom houses are in the way of your Chunkin’ Contest.

Most of the pumpkins destroyed were either left over from Halloween pumpkin sales or brought in by the bystanders. The club received a large donation from First United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, which hosts the annual Pumpkin Patch sale.  This fun and creative way of disposing of Jack-ó-lanterns was a community event as well as a fundraiser. The Greenland Women’s Club collected a suggested $5 donation per pumpkin.

Yellow Springs, OH:  The flying objects at Young’s Jersey Dairy were not birds or planes. They were pumpkins. Pumpkins were sent hurling through the air as part of the first Midwest Pumpkin Chuck, hosted by the Dayton Team American Chucker, to raise money for scholarships for high school math and science students. More than 100 people gathered in the field just behind a batting cage and watched the Dayton Team American Chucker, Team Ethos, and honors and advanced placement science students from Miamisburg High School use launching machines to send pumpkins more than 1,200 feet into a field.

The Dayton Team American Chuckers are mostly Wright Patterson Air Force Base employees who compete nationally, although this event was not a competition. They organized the event and invited Team Ethos, who are also Wright Patterson employees, to show students how fun math and science can be. This is applied science. It’s a learning process and a fun process and it gets kids outdoors and out of the classroom.

Watch this video and see just how far some people are willing to go with their punkin’ chunkin!

To learn how to build a trebuchet for your event, here’s a step-by-step tutorial at or you may prefer one of these eight other designs found at DO IT: Projects, Plans and How-To’s. To have a really successful event and raise more money, be sure to promote a few weeks in advance and tell people to save their pumpkins. At the event, consider having food (chili, pizza, burgers), drinks (hot chocolate, coffee, sodas), a bounce house and a hayride. Your price can reflect all of these things and try to get as many donations as possible. Give prizes to individuals with the longest pumpkin toss and the biggest smash. The fun factor alone is reason enough to have this fundraiser. Your Punkin Chunkin’ event will not disappoint!

photo credit: IMG_2766 via photopin (license)

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Lori Resmer

Child Advocate. Entrepreneur. Fitness Junkie. Mommy and Wife. Lori is an adoption fundraising coach that provides creative strategies and resources that empower families to adopt without debt.



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