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.
EYEBALLS and MASHED BRAINS
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.)
GROWING BODY PARTS JAR
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?
GLOWING TONIC GEYSERS
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!
GLOWING GHOSTLY GRAVEYARD
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.