Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Apples and cider are popular this time of year. But the pumpkin is king. No other fruit or gourd gets this much love, as a food or a projectile or a canvas for artistic expression. Pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious seasonal treats. But what other food is hurled for distance via giant air cannons and catapults? And would a family ever get together to carve decorative shapes into another fruit? (Actually, the tradition comes from Ireland and Britain, where turnips were used but still…) The great pumpkin, in all its creative uses, provides loads of entertainment.

Here are just some of the more outrageous activities involving pumpkins:

Going for Distance

Pumpkin Chunking is the flinging of pumpkins for distance using some sort of mechanical contraption. Slingshot, trebuchet… you name it, it’s probably been tried. Competitions happen all over the United States every fall, usually after harvest time. Now in its second decade, Delaware’s Punkin Chunkin’ contest is the gold standard for tossing pumpkins as far as backyard scientists can manage. (The current world record is 5,545.43 feet!)

Pumpkin Destruction

While some people fling pumpkins for distance, others use them for for more destructive purposes. Ever wonder how much damage an 1100 pound pumpkin falling out of the sky would do to a car? You’re about to find out.

Some people just want to celebrate the majestic pumpkin as one of the glories of Mother Nature. Watch this pumpkin grow to half a ton in size over the course of a summer. And then watch it blow up.

Body by Pumpkin

We consume a lot of calories around Halloween with all the candy and other treats. But the pumpkin has got you covered. This versatile gourd can help keep you thin and make your workout a little more festive in the process.

Pumpkin Picasso

Pumpkins are for carving. But all pumpkin carvers aren’t created equal. Some people, like Ray Villafane, are regular Picassos of the trade. This guy can turn an average pumpkin into a masterpiece. And he’s spent the last 15 years perfecting the art of pumpkin carving, with amazing results.

Mad Scientist Pumpkin Carving

Art isn’t everyone’s strong point. Steve Spangler adds a little mad science to his jack-o’-lantern to create an oozing monstrosity perfect for any porch.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Dan Morgridge is a writer from Chicago. He has switched to pumpkin butter and jelly sandwiches for the fall.