Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Races – Sunday, Oct. 28th

Pumpkin RacesThink Pinewood Derby. But with pumpkins.

What began as just something to do at a small birthday party in 1990 has become an annual event that, as of last year, had 850 attendees and 122 competing pumpkins, always at the same house at 1602 8th Street.

Now the event has a slate of sponsors including Skechers, AVP, and Ralphs, and is a registered non-profit with proceeds going to six different charities, The Surfrider Foundation and and Autism Speaks among them. To accomodate its growth, this year the event is moving to the Manhattan Beach Pier, coinciding with the Manhattan Beach Downtown Halloween Festival on Sunday, October 28th.

Anyone can bring their own pumpkin racer and compete for free, or, for $20, pick up a pre-carved pumpkin and “kit, including wheels, on at the festival. While there are rules and regulations, in true trick or treat fashion, cheating isn’t entirely frowned upon.

The penalty for racing a cheater Pumpkin RaceCar is instant destruction by a large wooden mallet, administered by the Head Race Official. It is important to note that several race entrants routinely enter “cheater pumpkins” with full knowledge that their Pumpkin RaceCar will be smashed to bits for all to see and cheer.

The official website includes a history of the race (and a legendary cheater), along with video of past races.