Courtesy of the Oregon Zoo
They came, they saw, they conquered a helpless pile of pumpkins. A lumbering herd of pachyderms at the Oregon Zoo descended on patch of giant pumpkins and had their way with the oversized orange gourds for the zoo's annual Squishing of the Squash, which is held to mark the start of the "Howoloween" festivities.
A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered on October 19 to watch three of the zoo's six Asian elephants smash the orange pumpkins under their enormous elephant feet. The zoo posted footage of elephants Chendra, Rose-Tu, and Rose-Tu’s five-year-old daughter Lily playing with and eating their new toys, and you can literally hear the sound of the pumpkins splitting as the elephants apply what looks like the teeniest amount of pressure.
If you look closely, you'll notice at least one more hulking elephant in the background of the video, although it's unclear whether he or she also took part in the Great Pumpkin Massacre of 2018. Overall, a gourd time was had by all — and we can thank Larry Nelson, the farmer who grew the giant pumpkins, for that.
Squishing of the Squash 2018
Thanks to giant pumpkin grower Larry Nelson, the elephant family had a very gourd time this morning 🎃Posted by Oregon Zoo on Friday, October 19, 2018
As seen in the clip, once the elephants have cracked open the gourds, some put the pumpkin guts straight in their mouths, while others continue to pulverize the very defeated-looking squashes just for the heck of it. If you think about it, these elephants are kinda like kids — but seven-feet tall and 6,000 pounds.
“The tradition goes back at least to 1999, when Hoffman’s Dairy Garden of Canby [in Oregon] dropped off a prize-winning 828-pound pumpkin for the Asian elephants,” Oregon Zoo spokesperson Hova Najarian told WomansWorld.com in an email. “Local farmers would often donate their overstock Halloween pumpkins for use in the zoo’s then-groundbreaking, now world-renowned, environmental enrichment program.”
Cleaning up pumpkin insides is objectively the worst part of carving a pumpkin, so we don't envy whoever had to clean up after the elephants had their fun. It really is just like taking care of little kids.