Pumpkin hunt tweaks get tested

Alessandra Vassalotti, Contributing Writer

The air was cool and crisp Oct. 25 as students hunted for pumpkins on the Pitt-Johnstown campus under a slowly setting sun.  Seven pumpkins were placed on the campus grounds around 2 p.m., with three following from 6 to 10 p.m.

Pumpkin hunt participants searched for small pumpkins containing slips of paper, then returned them to the Student Union to receive a prize.  Pumpkins were distributed later in the day so the hunt would not interfere with students’ class times.

The hunt included rules posted on the Pitt-Johnstown Twitter account.  An Oct. 23 tweet read “no bicycles or skateboards allowed”, “Do not follow…verbally or physically abuse…[or] attack the hiders,” and “Do not drink or do drugs during the hunt” in a video.

This year’s hunt had changes compared with previous years.  Pumpkins during this years’s events were distributed only Friday, as opposed to the event running all weekend.

Prizes also were different.

“[2018]’s Pumpkin Hunt features…almost $2,000 in prizes such as a Roku TV, board games and a polaroid package containing cameras and film,” said a 2018 article in The Advocate.

The 2019 hunt’s prizes included a Roomba, Skullcandy headphones, Airpods, a TV and a Nintendo Switch Lite with Mario Kart.

Another main difference is that the prize slips in the most recent hunt had a specific prize named, as opposed to denoting a group of prizes to pick from.

“Students really seemed to like the new system,” said Madison Clapsadle, Program Board President.

Despite the changes, many facets of the pumpkin hunt remained the same.  Clapsadle said that the pumpkin hiders tend to use the same locations every year.

Recurring locations for pumpkins include the Sudent Union and around the Pitt Mountain Cat statue.

There are also students commonly seen throughout the event through the years.

“A lot of people cycle through for each hunt, [along] with some new freshmen,” Clapsadle said.

“People group up in groups of two or four people to hunt for pumpkins.”

The pumpkn hunt is similar in execution to a spring event known as the Egg Hunt, in which students race across campus to find plastic Easter eggs containing prize slips.

“The eggs are the same size as the pumpkins, and have the same price range and amount of prizes,” Clapsadle said.