Speed Reads

Drunken Pumpkins

Riot police quell bedlam at New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival

Police in riot gear used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse thousands of people who ran amok Saturday at the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire.

Police said a large crowd composed mainly of students grew unruly at the town's massive fall gathering, tearing up street signs, hurling bottles, and flipping at least one car. The event, which last year set a world record with 30,581 carved jack-lanterns in one place at the same time, attracts thousands of tourists from around the region every year.

Students from colleges around New England flocked to Keene for this year's event and packed parties held in conjunction with it. But the parties quickly grew violent and uncontrolled, leading police to swarm the streets overnight and into Sunday morning to control the mayhem.

"There were about 4,000 kids in this backyard, and it almost felt like a war zone," Ellery Murray, a Keene State student, told The Boston Globe.