Spooky squash: 5 times pumpkins made Halloween headlines

Halloween is here, and there is perhaps no more recognizable symbol of the spooky season than the humble pumpkin.

Pumpkins have repeatedly graced the odd news headlines for breaking records, becoming boats, providing snacks for animals and, occasionally, making trouble for wildlife.

Here are some of the highlights.

Minnesota man’s 2,560-lb. pumpkin wins championship

Travis Gienger of Anoka, Minn., carted his massive pumpkin across the country to the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif., where it was confirmed as the largest pumpkin in U.S. history.

The pumpkin, named Maverick, was then brought home to Anoka, where it was carved into the image of an eagle in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest jack-o’-lantern.

Alligators chomp pumpkins at Florida theme park

The Gatorland theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando, Fla., went viral this week when it shared video of its resident alligators using their powerful jaws to destroy pumpkins.

Park officials said the pumpkins made for healthy snacks, as well as enrichment for the gators and the park’s other animals, including capybaras, birds and wild cats.

Man paddles 38 miles down the Missouri River in a hollowed-out pumpkin

Duane Hansen of Nebraska celebrated his 60th birthday in August by paddling 38 miles down the Missouri River in an unusual boat — a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Hansen’s journey broke the Guinness World Record for longest journey by pumpkin boat, which was previously set at 25.5 miles by North Dakota man Rick Swenson in 2016.

Bear struggles to steal large pumpkin from Ontario porch

A hungry bear was recorded by Sudbury, Ontario, resident Ashley Larose’s security camera in October last year when it attempted to walk off with a large pumpkin she had placed on her porch for Halloween.

The video shows the bear struggling to carry the pumpkin using both its paws and its mouth. Larose said the bear eventually found the pumpkin to be more trouble than it was worth and left the gourd behind.

Deer spotted in Michigan with plastic pumpkin stuck over its face

The Cascade Township Fire Department in Michigan said a deer was repeatedly spotted last November with a plastic pumpkin stuck over its face.

Firefighters were eventually able to track down the animal and remove the candy container. Firefighters said the incident should serve as a reminder of the danger the discarded buckets can pose to wildlife.