Set Up Your Own Scary, Spooky Haunted House

It’s a well-known fact that Halloween is our favorite holiday at Steve Spangler Science. It’s time for spooky, bubbling, oozing and glowing science. You are never too old to love a good spine tingling scare or gross out. Children also love a good startle or ick moment. Just make it fun as to not cause them childhood traumas for therapy later on in life. I love to try out my concoctions on visitors to our house and rate their heebie jeebies factor.

Maybe you love Halloween as much as I do and you are designing a haunted house in your basement, backyard or garage this season. Grab those kids and science materials and invite the friends and neighbors over for a frightfully good time. Here are my haunted house ideas for Halloween decorations, activities and props.

Black lights are essential for haunted house displays. They make everyday white items like socks and t-shirts glow in the dark. They also charge Glow Powder or zinc sulfide and Atomic Glow – perfect for all of those glowing concoctions.

The most important material for creating a spooky scene is dry ice. Wait – don’t run out and get the dry ice just yet. It has a very short shelf life and it’s something to get right before the doors open. Fill bowls, flasks, graduated cylinders, jars or whatever you can get your hands on with warm water. Drop glow sticks in the cylinders or use Atomic Glow, a liquid that glows under black light. Right before you open the doors, drop the dry ice in warm water and get everything bubbling. The sounds, smells and smoke-filled room will really set the haunted scene. For step by step instructions and ideas, read the experiment for more on using Dry Ice.

A fog machine can also create a spooky scene. You can find them at local stores.

Greet your guests at the door with a bowl of mashed brains or eyeballs. Use Water Jelly Crystals for brains and Water Jelly Marbles for eyeballs, hydrate them and place them in a covered bowl so your guests can’t see them. Then ask everyone to put their hand in the bowl. They will squish around and make sounds as they feel the brains and eyeballs in their hands. Then they will ask “WHAT is that really?” Then it’s your choice – leave them guessing or give a scientific explanation about polymers and water (make sure you are dressed as a mad scientist if you will be sharing science lessons – it’s a must.)


Make ghosts howl, thunder roar and spooky sounds fill your haunted house.
Screaming Balloons
Thunder Tube
Sound Hose

Perfect for setting the scene in the mad scientist laboratory. What would be more perfect than a floating head, hand, foot and nose in a jar?

Greet your guests outside with a spooky, glowing fountain of fun. Tonic water is the secret ingredient in making geysers glow. Tonic water contains quinine, a chemical that was originally added to tonic water to help fight off malaria in places like India and Africa. While the tonic water we drink today only contains a small amount of quinine, it’s still enough to make your drink glow under black light. Combine this with Steve Spangler’s joy of shooting off soda geysers using Geyser Tubes, and you have yourself a very cool Halloween party idea.

Bubbles are cool, but bubbles filled with fog are even cooler. How cool would it be to bounce the foggy bubbles off your arms and hands? Boo Bubbles are what you get when you fill a bubble with a carbon dioxide cloud using a little dry ice and a cloud bubble generator. It’s the combination of science and performance art!

Instead of carving pumpkins, decorate them with Glow in the Dark Powder or Zinc Sulfide.  For complete step by step instructions, read the Glow in the Dark Pumpkin experiment.

Use cereal boxes or cardboard boxes and cut them in the shapes of tombstones. Use black or gray spray paint to cover them. To make the writing on the tombstones glow, use Elmer’s Glue to write what you want the tombstone to say, then sprinkle Glow in the Dark Powder or Zinc Sulfide over the glue letters. Shake the excess off. Charge the letters with a black light and watch them glow. Add borders or designs around the tombstone for an added effect.

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Comments (7)

  • bailey Reply

    thhese vidios are amazing exspecuily the soda pop can!!i love alllll of these great amszing vidoes lovebailey

    October 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm
  • kelly armstrong Reply

    I love the soda pop can i tried it at home. I also liked the Halloween ideas there great i’ve done the grave one. More people should comment on your experimants because there great and by the way my teacher is mr pickering from kelly Armstrong bye

    October 20, 2010 at 9:03 am
  • shading of indigo Reply

    awesome ideas i will scare the pants off all of my trick-or-treaters. happy halloween!!

    October 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm
  • RubixCube5000 Reply

    So cool! ?

    January 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm
  • bill blac Reply

    Wishing all a Happy and Safe Halloween Season.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm
  • DIY Inspiration: How to Set Up a Hallowe'en Haunted House | DadditudesDadditudes Reply

    […] Set Up Your Own Scary, Spooky Haunted House – from the Steve Spangler Science Blog – learn ways to make things like bubbles that contain fog, glow-in-the-dark pumpkins and more. […]

    April 15, 2013 at 7:22 am
  • Shabooyah Reply

    I just read www and I think that the ways to turn a house into a haunted house ideas are brilliant!!!??

    October 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm

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