BELPRE - It began with the chant, "We want pumpkins."
Then one by one a variety of packages, each containing a pumpkin, were hurled off the roof of Belpre Elementary School Thursday evening for the annual Pumpkin Drop.
Every year, each class at the school packs a pumpkin in an assortment of packaging; some packed in boxes with a lot of packing material and others with parachutes attached.
Belpre Elementary School teacher Adam Greene tosses a package, containing a pumpkin with a parachute attached, from the roof of Belpre Elementary School Thursday evening. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)
Many of the school's students wore Halloween costumes, and watched to see if their class' pumpkins could survive the 40-some-foot toss from the roof.
Parent Tara Powell said everyone was having a good time.
''It is fun for the kids,'' she said. ''It is fun for me too because I am enjoying it.''
Parent Ashley Young said there was an excitement to it that everyone was enjoying.
''The kids are enjoying it because they are all competing, class against class and boys against girls,'' she said. ''It is a lot of fun for them.''
With concessions sold by the Lady Eagles Basketball Team, it was a fun evening for the whole family as well as the community, organizers said.
Principal Bernie Boice said it is a time for the students and parents to come to the school to enjoy themselves.
''Every year I am always amazed at the number of people who come out just to have fun,'' he said.
People are sometimes surprised when he tells them the event is about throwing pumpkins from the roof.
''This time of year, it is just a neat thing to do,'' Boice said. ''The kids just like this concept.''
The kids try a variety of tricks and ideas to keep the pumpkins in one piece.
''Every year we get some creative entries,'' Boice said. ''I think the kids in the classroom get into the whole competition on whose pumpkin looks better or which one will make it.''
The pumpkins were donated to the school by Bob's Market in Belpre.
''The pumpkins are a little bit bigger this year than they were last year,'' Boice said. ''Not as many may make it as have in the past. We will see.''
Art teacher Chad Stevens and second-grade teacher Adam Greene have been tossing the pumpkins off the roof for several years.
For many, it is the pure joy of watching things smash hard onto the ground that draws them to the event, Greene said.
''I think the kids like seeing all of the work they put into it and see if they can slow it down enough for the pumpkin to survive each year,'' he said.
It seems the event continually gets bigger every year with more people watching, Stevens said, adding the warm weather this year made it more enjoyable for everyone.
This year they had about 45 packages going off the roof, averaging to about two pumpkins a class.
''It is real exciting for the kids when they get to see their pumpkins flying off the roof,'' Stevens said. ''You hear a lot of screaming and cheering.
''They are excited about seeing their creation and wondering if it is going to survive or not. They always enjoy that. It makes it worthwhile.''