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Make Your Own Backyard Pumpkin Bowling


A crisp autumn day is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a fun game outdoors. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor games that can entertain both the adults and the kids in your group. Have you ever heard of pumpkin bowling? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a game of bowling played with pumpkins instead of bowling balls. Check out some easy ways to set up for an exciting game of pumpkin bowling in your own backyard!

Creating Your Alley

It takes just a few minutes to set up practically any type of alley for backyard pumpkin bowling. If you have access to some hay bales, you may want to use them to make your alley. Simply set up two rows of four medium-sized hay bales. Be sure to leave about four feet of space between the rows so there’s enough room left for your bowling pins. The hay bales keep your bowling pins contained and add to your outdoor autumn décor. Another way to create a backyard bowling alley is to set up two rows of mini garden fences. Many people use these metal mini fences to mark the edges of their garden. They’re about five or six inches tall with legs that slide easily into the ground. Use them to make your alley, and then put them back in your garden when the game is complete.

Choosing Bowling Pins

You can get plastic bowling pins at a toy store, but you could have trouble standing them up if the ground is uneven. You may want to look for some real bowling pins at a secondhand store or junk shop or even on eBay. Buying them new can be costly, so it’s worth looking for ten used pins. Or, instead of bowling pins, you could use small plastic water bottles, empty milk jugs, or discarded 2-liter soda bottles. If you want to enjoy a game of backyard pumpkin bowling at night, try putting a glow stick in each of the ten plastic bottles you’re using as pins. You’ll get a kick out of seeing a gathering of glow sticks in different colors tumbling onto the grass.

Choosing Pumpkins

Though you can make substitutions for the bowling pins, you must have a pumpkin or two to properly play this game. I suggest finding a few pumpkins of different sizes. Younger players can use a smaller, lightweight pumpkin, while older players must use bigger pumpkins. You may want to find a huge pumpkin to see if anyone has the muscles to get it down the alley to knock over the pins. If you don’t want to cut the stems off of your pumpkins, your guests can turn the pumpkins on their sides to roll them.

How to Play the Game

The goal is the same for pumpkin bowling as it is for regular bowling. The first step is to set up ten pins in a normal formation. Next, write every player’s name on the score sheet. You may even want to buy a box of the short pencils used in real bowling alleys. Each person gets a turn and must record their score on the sheet. Of course, you don’t have to keep score to have a great time with backyard pumpkin bowling.

Finally, have some treats ready to award as prizes. I suggest small bags of snack-size candy bars, canning jars full of candy corn, or gift certificates. Try pumpkin bowling this fall and have a blast in your backyard! Thanks for reading. – Alan

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