Halloween 2020 was unlike any other celebration fo the holiday unlike any other. While most states didn’t recommend traditional trick-or-treating, a group of friends got together for a safe, socially distant project to help deliver candy to children in the most effective way: a catapult.
Live for Another, “an unstoppable community of kindness,” as their description on YouTube states, built the catapult and posted a video about their experience, flinging candy in Sacramento, California, on YouTube on Tuesday. A shortened version of the video was also posted to the r/funny subreddit on Tuesday and received over 24,000 upvotes.
Executive producer Dillon Hill said while the idea was built out of some of the difficulties of 2020, it ended up being all the more satisfying. “We were disappointed that Halloween wasn’t going to be normal, but that inspired us to look for a way to make it even better. A trebuchet (catapult) let us be goofy and share some candy without having to worry about spreading COVID. Turns out it was way more fun this way,” he wrote to Newsweek in an email.
The group went with a medieval trebuchet design of the catapult. It also showed a time lapse of one of the group’s members, Joel Bringoff, and his family working to build the design. The group also showed their tests to make sure the catapult would launch candy safely and effectively, which is why they said they needed to launch candy 3,670 times “just to make sure it was working.”
Because no one in the group is an engineer, Hill said that it “took a lot of trial-and-error to figure out how the launch candy safely,” and gave Bringoff a lot of credit for researching the medieval device. “As you can imagine, this isn’t something we would have expected to do if it weren’t for 2020. There’s a lot of moving parts so there was always a risk of things snapping or just generally breaking,” he wrote.
One of their safety checks included three members dressing in costumes (Bringoff as Nintendo’s Mario, Hill as Spongbob Squarepants, and Drew Disney as Woody from Toy Story), and firing the candy at each other just to ensure that it was safe. It also appears that they launched a camera with the catapult, showing the candy’s point-of-view as it flies through the air. Hill wrote that the tests proved it safe. “It felt like you were tossing a football, so there wasn’t a lot of risk for the kids,” he wrote. “Actually, our biggest concern was the trebuchet breaking and hurting one of us. Luckily, that never happened. The worse outcome was getting candy stuck on someone’s roof.”
The group then brought the catapult and a truck, decorated in medieval fashion to an aerospace museum to demonstrate it to some children, much to the enjoyment of kids and their parents.
After the aerospace museum, the group drove to people’s homes with children who couldn’t go out trick-or-treating, who had signed up online.
Hill wrote that while 2020 hasn’t been an easy year by any stretch of the imagination, projects like this can still help lighten even tough days. “This year is doing everything it can to pull us down…we hope our video will be a small bit of light to remind people that there’s still something to smile about. Things are different, but if we get creative the new normal can sometimes be more fun!”