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Grizzly Bear | Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Get into the Halloween spirit at the zoo's annual Pumpkin Bash

If you’ve never watched a bear play with a pumpkin, you’re not living your best life. Don’t worry – it’s easy to get your life back on track.

Visit Woodland Park Zoo on Halloween weekend (October 28-29) for the annual Pumpkin Bash, a weekend-long Halloween celebration. There are activities for people of all ages, and tons of pumpkins for the animals to enjoy.

Pumpkin fun

It wouldn’t be a Pumpkin Bash if a few gourds didn’t get mashed around, and the animals at the zoo are only too happy to oblige. At different times, animals ranging from hippos to penguins will get pumpkin treats to play with.

Sometimes the animals eat the pumpkins, and sometimes they smash them, stomp them, scratch them up and roll them around. If you’re always watching funny animal videos on your phone, put your phone down and see some live-action animal antics at the zoo! See the whole list of animals lucky enough to get pumpkins here.


Kids can come in costume and collect candy from various stations around the zoo. If your little one will be dressing up as an animal of some kind, snapping a pic of them next to their inspiration is an incredibly cute way to capitalize on the festivities.


For the Pumpkin Bash, Zoomazium, the zoo’s indoor nature play space, will be transformed into Boomazium: a headquarters for Halloween hustle and bustle. Little ones can enjoy not-so-scary storytelling, costumed puppet shows, games and other fun activities. Purchase Halloween-themed treats at The Rain Forest Pavilion, including cupcakes and cookies (yum!).

Spooky Science

Mad Science will put on a show at The Rain Forest Pavilion on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. featuring dry ice. Spectators will see shivering cold coins, Boo Bubbles, dry ice burps, fog effects and a bubble shower. Mad Science presentations are known to get kids excited about the wonders of the natural world, and frankly they’re pretty fascinating for adults too.

A Scary Good Deal

The entire event is free with zoo admission, and during the event, one child 12 years and under in costume is admitted into the zoo FREE with a paid adult. If you’re looking to save a few dollars while giving your kids a chance to explore all of the awesome exhibits at Woodland Park Zoo, this is a great opportunity.

A Word of Warning

Don’t worry – there aren’t monsters behind you – but there is cause for concern. Because so many people purchase candy for Halloween, the zoo has a timely message to share.

Many confections include palm oil, the bulk of which is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia. To produce palm oil, tropical rain forest and peat swamps are often converted to agricultural land. This confines the animals that live in these areas to much smaller habitat patches, making them susceptible to poaching and intensifying their competition with other animals for increasingly limited resources. For animal lovers, this narrative is anything but sweet.

To take a stand against habitat destruction, buy candy that’s on the zoo’s wildlife-friendly Halloween candy list. The companies listed use certified sustainable palm oil that is not produced through deforestation. Choosing to buy candy made from certified palm oil helps protect the animals that depend on these forests like orangutans, pygmy elephants and Sumatran tigers.

If you’re ready to go a little wild with your Halloween celebration, make sure to stop by Woodland Park Zoo’s Pumpkin Bash. Not only can you watch bears and other fascinating animals have fun with pumpkins, you can have fun learning, playing and trick-or-treating with your own little goblins and ghosts.

Ready for this monstrously fun event? Avoid lines by purchasing your tickets in advance at