Oct 14, 2011

Halloween Science F-U-N!

By Guest Blogger Susan Wells, Steve Spangler Science

I love this time of year. Crisp, cool mornings, colorful leaves on trees and time to pull out the Halloween science.

Here are a few, fun activities to celebrate the fall season and maybe learn a little something.

Design Your Own Glowing Pumpkins
This activity is always a hit and will work as a craft. Here’s what you will need:
·         Mini pumpkins (usually found at grocery stores)
·         Elmer’s glue
·         Glow Powder
·         Cheap paint brushes
·         Construction paper or tissue paper
·         Google eyes
·         Pipe cleaners

Mix the glow powder in with the Elmer’s glue. Paint the pumpkin with the glow glue. Stick eyes, shapes and pipe cleaners into the glue to decorate the pumpkin.

Turn off the lights. The kids will ooh and ahh at their masterpieces.

Glow Powder works by absorbing surrounding light energy and then releasing that energy when the lights go out. It's called a phosphorescent powder.

This is obviously a seasonal project so pumpkins should not be put away with the decorations for next year. If you want an heirloom craft project, use the glow powder glue to decorate trick or treat bags or plastic pumpkins. Get creative.

Halloween Papers – Glowing, Bloody Good Times
A special paper, called Goldenrod Paper has a special dye that acts as an acid-base indicator. Dip a cotton ball into a basic solution like ammonia or washing soda and wipe it on the paper. The yellow paper will turn red (bloody) where the cotton ball is swiped. Or wet your hand with the solution and slap it on the paper to make a handprint. What happens when you use an acidic solution like lemon juice? The red disappears and the paper turns back to yellow. Design jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and more on the paper. When it dries, the red stays to keep your creations.
**I like to use washing soda for this as it is more like baking soda and not toxic like ammonia. Washing soda can be found in the grocery store with the laundry detergent and cleaning agents. It comes in powder form and can be mixed with water for this activity.

Grab a few sheets of Glow in the Dark Paper and turn out the lights. Write with light, freeze your shadow or capture a picture. The sheets are actually made from a durable vinyl that will stick to anything. It is treated with zinc sulfide that is energized by light. Small black lights are a must to write secret messages that quickly disappear.

Halloween Science Decorations

Decorate your house with test tubes filled with different colored water or add plastic bugs and other Halloween trinkets to the water for added fun. If you have some cylinders, fill a little more than half way with warm water then add dry ice. They will bubble and burp. Just make sure to wear heavy-duty gloves when handling dry ice and do not let the children touch it. To step it up even more, add a few drops of Dawn dish soap to the water and watch the bubbles overflow. Just make sure to have the cylinders inside a tray or something to catch the overflow. Add a few cobwebs and plastic spiders and you have a very cool mad scientist laboratory.

Ooey Gooey Slime

It isn’t Halloween at our house without slime. Slime comes in several varieties…green, clear, glowing atomic and homemade. You can purchase slime online along with cups and a mixing kit or make your own by mixing Elmer’s glue and borax together in a bowl.

Visit us at SteveSpanglerScience.com for step-by-step directions. To step it up even more, add Styrofoam balls or plastic bugs into the slime.

For more information and Halloween party ideas visit SteveSpanglerScience.com

Susan Wells is a native Colorado mom to two girls, ages 6 and 10. She loves to volunteer at her daughter’s school as room mom, science club teacher and classroom helper. She looks for the learning in everything. In past lives, Susan has been a symphony bassist, sound engineer, news web producer and web developer. She currently works for Steve Spangler Science in web marketing, social media and blogging and blogs at TwoHandsTwoFeet.com.


rajean said...

My kids will love the slime! And I love the glowing pumpkins, but I also think I'd like to do something with their treat bags so we are better seen at night. Cool, thank you!

Lori said...

I love the glowing pumpkin. That's a project for all ages and will make great decorating fun for Halloween!