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Pumpkin Smash

carved pumpkin being smashed by a bat
Event Date(s)
Event Time
Multiple Locations

This Halloween, don’t trash your pumpkins; smash them with University of Illinois Extension at sites located throughout Chicago.

Illinois is a top producer of pumpkins in the U.S., but when jack o’ lanterns are past their prime, many end up in the trash. In Cook County, 37% of landfill material is food waste, a major source of the greenhouse gas methane. In Chicago alone, over 500,000 tons of organic waste are sent to landfills annually. 

To divert pumpkins from landfills, Illinois Extension in Cook County is partnering to sponsor five locations:

  • Gary Comer Youth Center 7200 S Ingleside Ave, Chicago, IL 60619
  • Lake View High School 4015 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
  • Morton School of Excellence 431 N Troy St, Chicago, IL 60612 
  • Plant Chicago 4459 S Marshfield Ave, Chicago, IL 60609 
  • First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights  302 N Dunton Ave, Arlington Heights IL *this event starts at 9 am*

All are welcome for this free family event happening rain or shine. The bigger the better! Please, help us keep tons and tons of compostables out of our landfills.  

Pumpkins must be free of candles, stickers, glitter, yarn, synthetic decorations. We can compost pumpkins decorated with water-based paints. 

There's pumpkin smashes all over this year. To find another one by you, see SCARCE.ORG/PUMPKINS

A big thanks to the City of Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation for handling all the waste hauling logistics for our Chicago locations and ensuring all pumpkins are delivered to a composting facility.   

University of Illinois, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Local Extension Councils Cooperating. College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact Kathryn Pereira at or call (773) 233-2900. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs.