Elephants Show Off Brute Strength by Smashing Giant Pumpkins in Halloween Ceremony

by Jacklyn Krol

Not just humans get into the spooky season, elephants can get into the Halloween spirit too!

The Portland Oregon Zoo held its 23rd Annual “Squishing of the Squash” last week.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, visitors couldn’t see the elephants in action in person. However, the zoo posted cameras of their Halloween tradition.

But it’s not only the elephants that get in on the fun. The zoo’s goats, sea otters, giraffes, alligators, red pandas, bears, and tortoises also get their own pumpkins.

“Everything looks a little different for us this year, but the elephants didn’t seem to mind,” senior keeper Dimas Dominguez told Patch. “They got one 650-pound pumpkin and a couple more pretty big ones to play with. First, they destroy them, then they enjoy them.”

The zoo has been honoring the tradition since 1999 when elephants were gifted an 828-pound pumpkin from a local Canby farm. The food also acts as enrichment, to stimulate the elephants. This zoo was actually the first to hold an enrichment conference for zoo animals.

“In those days, local farmers often donated overstock pumpkins for use in the zoo’s groundbreaking animal enrichment efforts — improving animals’ well-being by providing stimulating and challenging environments, objects and activities,” the zoo added.

Fox reported that Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Club members Larry Nelson and Jacob Baldridge provided the giant gourds this year.

The Oregon Zoo has a family of the endangered Asian elephants and has been working with the species for the last sixty years.

Watch the epic squash, below.

Big Time Halloween Spending

Halloween spending has hit an all-time high according to The National Retail Federation. This year, people will be spending $10.14 billion compared to last year which was $8.05 billion according to the Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. Each consumer on average will be spending $102.74 on the holiday. This year, 65% of people plan to celebrate.

Almost half of consumers will be decorating their homes while 69% of people will be handing out candy for trick or treaters. Meanwhile, 44% of people will be carving a jack-o-lantern. Decorations this year account for $3.17 billion while costumes are at $3.32 billion.

When it comes to costumes, over 1.8 million kids will be dressing up as Spiderman. Additionally, 1.6 million kiddos will be dressing up as their favorite princesses. Other popular kid costumes include Batman and other superheros.

The most popular adult costumes this year include witch, vampire, ghost, cat, and pirate.

Finally, the most important things, the pets! 10% of pet owners will dress their animals up as a pumpkin. 5% of pet costumes this year will be a hot dog. Bumblebee comes in with 3 percent of doggos wearing that costume.