You might want to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. Well, you’d better have strong muscles if you get one of these pumpkins. Farmers have learned how to grow pumpkins that weigh over 1,000 pounds. They do this by blocking the wind, chasing away bugs, and giving the plants lots of water. The enormous pumpkins are pretty weird-looking, so if you do figure out how to carve one, you’ll definitely scare away visitors.

*Wee ones:* Which weighs more, a 5-pound pumpkin or a 7-pound pumpkin?

*Little kids:* If you carve 1 of 7 pumpkins into a wacky jack-o-lantern and turn 2 more pumpkins into pumpkin pie, how many pumpkins are left? *Bonus:* Imagine if the smallest pumpkin you grew weighed 798 pounds. If it weighed just 2 pounds more, how much would it weigh?

*Big kids:* If 1 giant pumpkins can make 50 pumpkin pies, how many pies can 7 giant pumpkins make all together? *Bonus:* The world’s officially heaviest pumpkin ever weighed 2,624 pounds. If the biggest pumpkin here weighs 1,364 pounds, does it weigh more or less than half of that?

*The sky’s the limit:* Suppose that 7 pumpkins total 7,600 pounds; the smallest weighs 800 and the largest weighs 1,400; 3 of the remaining pumpkins have identical weight; the last 2 are identical to each other; and the 3 together weigh the same as the 2 together. What weights are the 7 pumpkins?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The 7-pound pumpkin.

*Little kids:* 4 pumpkins left, since you used 3. *Bonus:* A nice neat 800 pounds.

*Big kids:* 350 pies. *Bonus:* More than half, since half of 2,624 is 1,312.

*The sky’s the limit: *1 pumpkin at 800 pounds, 3 at 900 pounds, 2 at 1,350 pounds and 1 at 1,400 pounds. If they total 7,600 pounds, then the 5 weigh that amount with the biggest and smallest taken out (2,200), leaving us with 5,400 pounds. If then the 3 smaller pumpkins weigh the same as the last 2, then they weigh 2,700 and the last 2 weigh 2,700. That gives us 3 pumpkins at 900 pounds each and 2 at 1,350 each.

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.