Strange Halloween tradition sees competitors race giant 1,000lb pumpkin ‘kayaks’

With Halloween just a few days away, fans of ghost and ghouls are coming out from the woodwork to show their darker sides.

But in one part of Belgium, some people are going into giant pumpkins.

The strange goings-on happens in Kasterlee, in the northern part of the country, and sees competitors using the giant 1,000lb pumpkins to win a race.

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But the race is in a lake and the pumpkins are used a giant orange, round, vegetable kayaks.

It all started in 2008 when local growers decided to find a different use for their huge vegetables rather than just turning them into soup.

The chairman of the local Pumpkin Society, Paul Boonen said: “The reason why we started is that years ago, we started competing to grow the biggest pumpkin and after the competition, we were stuck with huge pumpkins.

“So we started thinking about what we could do with them and we found out that in the US they were boating with pumpkins.

“We decided that we could do this, as well, but instead of using one or two pumpkins like in the US we boat with around 20 of them.”

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The winner doesn't actually get anything, other than a medal and a warm fuzzy feeling in their stomachs for managing to win such a mad competition – which also sees some of those taking part don fancy dress, such as sharks.

One of the competitors, Jonas Verbuggen said that this year's race saw issues with pumpkins leaking too much water.

He said: “Racing the huge vegetables takes some skill.

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“When you paddle, it doesn't move forward but starts spinning.

And Oscar Guell, a Spaniard living in Brussels, told Reuters News that the experience was "dirty, sticky and oily", but something he'd happily do again next year.

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