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Pumpkin Smash

Aurora 2023
pumpkin smash logo
Event Date(s)
Event Time
McCleery Elementary School

Don't trash it - Smash it!

Join us for Pumpkin Smash in Aurora this fall. Help us keep pumpkins out of landfills by recycling them through composting, and have fun while you do it! 

  • Pumpkin smashing/recycling
  • Games and face painting
  • Fall-inspired food tastings
  • Composting demo from Master Gardeners & Master Naturalists

What is Pumpkin Smash?

The Pumpkin Smash is an annual effort by communities to divert pumpkins from landfills by providing locations for residents to drop-off jack-o-lanterns to be composted. It is held each year after Halloween.  Don’t Trash it, Smash it!

SCARCE and the cities of Wheaton and Elmhurst hosted the first pumpkin collections in 2014, diverting 9.31 tons of pumpkins from landfills and helping to improve composting laws in Illinois. By 2022, the Pumpkin Smash grew to more than 76 sites across the state and a few more around the country. This year, Aurora is joining the effort!

Hosted by University of Illinois Extension and McCleery Elementary School
With support from the Ron Woerman - City of Aurora, Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry, and U.S. Rep. Barbara Hernandez

Note: Please remove decorations and candles before the event. Find out more here.

Benefits of Pumpkin Smash

Besides being a fun community event, composting is nature’s way of recycling with many benefits:

  • Avoids landfill greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing organics (currently, landfills are the 3rd largest producers of methane in the U.S.!)
  • Produces a useful, nutrient-dense soil amendment
  • Pumpkins are 90% water which is great for our soil, not so good in our landfills

The university plans to capture photographs and video of this event. Be aware that if you attend, you are consenting to the possibility that your image and likeness may be shared or published by the university for marketing-communications purposes.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact