ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Hundreds of people lined up throughout the beautiful fall day for a chance to sling their own jack-o-lantern off a catapult made by the staff at the Discovery Center Museum on Sunday.

The Discovery Center is celebrating 20 years of the pumpkin smash event, and families showed up and showed out to get rid of their pumpkins in a creative way.

“It’s fun because Halloween’s over,” said Ellie Montalbano, who had a blast smashing her pumpkin. “Who wants these pumpkins when it’s not even Halloween?”

Sending the squash soaring isn’t the only the only thing to do. The center hosted pumpkin games, fall treats and autumn-themed crafts all set up for kids to explore throughout the Discovery Center parking lot.

Inside, kids got a chance to learn the science behind the smashing.

“Great opportunity to talk about simple machines and about physics and Newton’s laws of motion,” said Ann Marie Walker, marketing director for the center. “And so, you know, any time we have an opportunity to do that in a way that kids can see and experience themselves, then I think, you know, that just reinforces learning and and gives them a fun memory to associate it with.”

Sure, it’s great to watch the gourds go out with a bang, but the day is really about teaching kids that science is all around them, says Associate Director Mike Rathburn.

“It’s so fun to talk about some of the physics and see the pumpkins fly and see people’s eyes get really big and the big smiles and then you see the smash on the ground and there’s cheering. It’s really just a family fun event to have some fun with physics and to have some fun with pumpkins and to finish the fall season with a with a big event.”

The center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.