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The best list of Halloween activities that glow-in-the-dark!

Halloween is all about spooky, creepy things that lurk in the dark. There’s nothing better than turning off the lights and bringing out glowing, mysterious, and slimy materials to touch and watch. The kids will ooh and ahh. Whether you are planning a Halloween party, looking for unique decorations, or just wanting to have some fun with your own kids at home, here are some glowing activities you can do.


Glowing Pumpkins

If you’re a fan of Spangler Science, you know that we love exploding pumpkins… but we’ve also found that glowing pumpkins can be just as fun! Just add Glow Powder to your Halloween pumpkins and you’ll get a spooky Halloween display without all the mess of carving.


Bubbling, Glowing Cylinders

Nothing looks more like a witch’s brew or a warlock’s potion than a container full of bubbling, glowing liquid. By dropping some Atomic Glow into a container with dry ice and water, you’ll get all of the bubbling and fog effects of dry ice in an awesome liquid the glows under UV light.

Glowing, Gooey Eyeballs

Our Jelly Marbles feel eerily like eyeballs, but take them even further using Atomic Glow! These glowing eyeballs aren’t just fun to play with, because the growing polymer science behind them is just as awesome as their fluorescence!

Glowing Jars

Create your favorite Halloween-themed designs on the insides of clear jars to create glowing artwork that will impress all of the local guys and ghouls. You only need a little more than some Elmer’s Glue and a paintbrush before enjoying these amazing glow-in-the-dark jars!

Glow-in-the-Dark Paper

Our team of After Dark Scientists know that when the lights go off, the glow-in-the-dark fun begins… and they couldn’t stop experimenting with our Glow-in-the-Dark paper. You won’t believe your eyes as you write with light, freeze your shadow, or even capture a picture with this sticky-back adhesive paper.



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How Does It Work?

Before you get started, you must understand the difference between the Zinc Sulfide Glow Powder and Atomic Glow Concentrate, or the terms fluorescence and phosphorescence.

It’s also important to note that not all zinc sulfide glows, but luminous zinc sulfide does glow!

This type of luminescence occurs when some form of radiation, such as light, causes an object to glow. For example, fluorescent papers and poster boards glow in the daylight. They glow even brighter under black light (ultraviolet light). Ultraviolet light is a component in sunlight. Ultraviolet wavelengths are very long with a very high frequency and can be used to detect fluorescent material that would remain invisible under normal conditions. When you shine ultraviolet light on fluorescent material, it lights up with a beautiful bluish-green luminescence.

In either case, as soon as the light is removed, the glow stops. Fluorescent things do not glow-in-the-dark all by themselves – they require some other form of energy such as ultraviolet light to “excite” them.

Under normal light, Atomic Glow will turn water a cool greenish-yellow color. Under a black light, the goo actually glows an eerie green color. Atomic Glow is fluorescent and needs a black light to make it glow.

Parents – also note that Atomic Glow will stain.

Phosphorescence is just like fluorescence, except that the glow continues even after the light used to excite it is removed. “Glow-in-the-dark” toys phosphoresce brightly in total darkness after being “charged” or excited by ordinary white or ultraviolet light. Glow Powder works by absorbing surrounding light energy and then releases that energy when the lights go out. It’s called a phosphorescent.

So, how does zinc sulfide work? Imagine that an atom looks something like our solar system. The sun would be the nucleus consisting of positive charges called protons and neutral charges called neutrons. The planets spinning around the sun would be similar to the electrons of an atom in orbits around the nucleus.

When the electrons in the atoms of special molecules like zinc sulfide become excited, they move farther away from the nucleus — into higher or more distant orbits. In order to become excited, the electrons must take on energy. In this case, light provided the required energy to cause the electrons to move to a higher energy level. It’s as if Earth were to move farther away from the sun into the orbit of Mars or Jupiter.

The electrons will remain in the excited state as long as they receive light to energize them. But, when the light used as an exciter is removed, the electrons will slowly return to their original lower orbits. As they do so, they give up the energy that excited them in the form of light.

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