Home Events + NewsEvents Pumpkin ‘Smash’ Events in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

Pumpkin ‘Smash’ Events in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

by Sarah Griesbach
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Wherever you live, there is a better destination for a decaying pumpkin than the garbage can. Some past-their-prime pumpkin solutions are extra fun. All answers to “What do I do with this old, sticky pumpkin?” include reasons and ways not to let that orange gold end up in a landfill. If the prospect of sending your aging pumpkins back to the soil strikes a gourd (sorry, had to), read on to learn what you can do with former jack-o-lanterns locally and why.

pumpkin smashing hoboken jersey city new jersey

Photo Credit: Kula Urban Farm

Smash Events

A pumpkin smash is both an eco-friendly and stress-relieving option to discard a deflated pumpkin. You can also use the remains to make nutrient-rich compost that serves as great soil for crops. The pumpkin smash category of environmental action has swept the nation in recent years. These pumpkin smash parties take place in parks and on piers, with residents invited to bring their decorative gourds and carved-out jack-o-lanterns and smoosh them into valuable fertile soil. Call it pumpkin therapy and get to chopping, throwing, and smashing pumpkins into bits.

pumpkin smashing hoboken jersey city new jersey kula urban farm

Photo Credit: Kula Urban Farm

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The New York City Department of Sanitation organizes its own series of pumpkin smash events throughout the NYC boroughs. Just across the river from Hoboken and Jersey City, the Hudson River Park Friends organization will hold their annual event on Pier 84 on November 4th from 11AM until 2PM. Asbury Park’s Kula Urban Farm will host its third annual smash event the weekend after Thanksgiving. Kula has an accessible compost site where people can drop pumpkins off until the day of the pumpkin smash. Pumpkin smashers are also encouraged to bring hay bales that may have been part of Halloween displays for the compost pile. Kula Farm smash participants take turns whacking pumpkins with a bat if they’re kids or, if adults, going at them with axes.

Read More: Where to Get Carving Pumpkins in Hoboken + Jersey City

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Cucurbita Compost

The history of hollowing out and placing a candle in a pumpkin to make a Halloween jack-o-lantern is rooted in a Scottish tradition of carving lanterns from turnips. The cuteness and practicality of a turnip-o-lantern may be in the eye of the beholder. Of course, whatever the fruit, root vegetable, or vine-grown gourd — if it ends up as decor and is no longer consumable — composting that thing is a smashing idea!

Smashed pumpkins are generally turned into compost for parks and green spaces. However, participation in the pumpkin destruction process is not required to bring about planet-friendly composting results. Many pumpkin farms will take back your collapsing calabaza and throw them right back out into the fields, ensuring an equally plentiful crop next season. Dogwood English Farm in Liberty Corner, NJ accepts all unpainted jack-o-lantern remains for use as food for the chickens and pigs. And Alstede Farms Market in Chester, NJ has a field ready for all unadorned pumpkin parts.

Unpainted is best for composting, but a painted gourd or pumpkin can be scraped clean before bringing it in and some smash and compost setups will have a station set up just for that. It is important to shave off glitter or paint before composting to keep toxins out of the soil.

Nearly every New Jersey municipality has now organized some level of residential composting, the impact of which is a significant reduction of methane, a potent greenhouse gas released into our environment by way of harmful landfills. Composting also reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and promotes better growth of the plants fed by the compost-rich soil.

For those who live in Secaucus, residents can give away pumpkins, cornstalks, and hay bales with bagged leaves in November. The items should be placed in free, biodegradable bags, which can be picked up at the Secaucus Public Works Department. Residents can call (201)-330-2080 to schedule a pick-up time for items. No plastic bags are allowed.

For those looking to compost in Hoboken, 12 bins are spread throughout the Mile Square City to make the drop off of any organic refuse convenient. To compost in Jersey City, 14 bins sit waiting. Jersey City’s Backyard Composting Program provides residents access to discounted composting materials and free workshops. What begins with a pumpkin could lead to exponential acres of organic waste deterred from landfills.

 

 

Montclair makes home composting easy by providing residents with low-cost compost bins. Un-Waste is an organic recycling and micro-hauling business that collects food waste from Asbury Park residents, along with households throughout all of Ocean, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties. Each year, the Hudson County Improvement Authority sets up bins at the following dropoff locations just for getting rid of residents’ household pumpkins and gourds: Jersey City’s Lincoln Park at the Duncan Avenue parking lot; North Bergen’s Braddock Park at the picnic area parking lot; Bayonne’s Stephen Gregg Park in Parking Lot #1, and Kearny’s West Hudson Park in the Duck Pond parking lot.

See More: Where to Find the Most Creative Pumpkin Dishes + Drinks

Smash, Compost, AND Eat

The ultimate after-Halloween festival is gourds down (groan), on Roosevelt Island in New York City. The Great Pumpkin Event is a joyful party designed to playfully demonstrate multiple ways in which food scraps are valuable. Pristine pumpkins that were neither carved nor painted will be collected to be used for their highest purpose, as food. The Great Pumpkin Event was, in previous years, referred to as the Great Roosevelt Island Pumpkin Smash and the collecting, processing, and composting of pumpkins will happen again this year. However, a new element of honoring the pumpkins as a delicious nutritious food source has been made the center of the activities. All undamaged squash offerings will be cooked, prepared, and redirected to area food pantries.

pumpkin smashing hoboken jersey city new jersey dig2learn

Photo Credit: Ghila Krajzman, Courtesy of iDig2Learn

The always well-attended Great Pumpkin Event takes place again this year at the Manhattan Park Upper Lawn of Roosevelt Island. This year’s community party will be held on Saturday, November 4th, where participants will explore how pumpkins have been revered as an important vegetable, historically. To that end, the event organizers have partnered with chef Beatrice Ajero of Nneji Eatery in Astoria. Chef Beatrice will prepare delicious pumpkin snacks as gifts of gratitude, providing event attendees with samples of her famously tasty egusi, black-eyed pea fonio, and savory pumpkin hand pies to spotlight West African pumpkin dishes.

pumpkin smashing hoboken jersey city new jersey idig2learn

Photo Credit: Ghila Krajzman, Courtesy of iDig2Learn

Roosevelt Island’s Great Pumpkin Event is sponsored by NYC District 5 Council Member Julie Menin along with the good folks at idig2learn and the organization Big Reuse in Brooklyn. Since the first pumpkin repurposing event in 2016, the organization has diverted over 7,500 pounds of pumpkins from landfills (over three tons!) as well as over a ton of fall leaves during the leaf crunch portion of this fabulous event.

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