Halloween is an especially fun time of year for geeks. We get to dress up as comic book characters, watch campy movies, and gorge ourselves on candy! But as adult geeks, the pinnacle of the season is the Halloween party.
When else can you throw a party where the biggest wow factor happens because of chemistry or physics? Because that’s exactly what happens when you make things glow in the dark, change color, freeze, or explode!
Check out this list of some of the coolest and most fun science-based projects to take this year’s Halloween to the next level. But remember to experiment responsibly!
1. Dry Ice Apple Cider:
Pop a tiny piece of dry ice into your holiday drinks this year. It lightly carbonates your cider while also cooling it and making it look super spooky, just be careful not to swallow the ice!
2. Tiny, Halloween Robots:
With just a vibrating motor and a button battery, you can make a miniature robot. Slap on some black pipe cleaners and some googly eyes and now what you’ve got is an adorable little spider that will autonomously crawl around your party. The best part is, it doesn’t bite! (Unlike other robots...)
3. Glow-in-the-Dark Ice:
Did you know that quinine is fluorescent? That means you can make fluorescent ice cubes that will make for some super cool cocktails. All you need is a freezer, tonic water, and a black light! Pop a couple in a glass of gin for a delicious, glowing drink.
4. LED Costumes:
Button batteries, electrical tape, and LED’s are all you really need to get this made. Well, also the patience to actually put it all together dozens of times over. Or you can add a little wiring and a switch to make it all controllable. Get on this immediately if it’s something you want to wear in time for Halloween though, that kind of fiddly wiring can take a while.
5. Puking Pumpkins:
Just add dish soap to hydrogen peroxide inside your jack-o-lantern to make this slightly nauseating effect. Try adding different colors for more fun, or even seal the ingredients in a ziplock bag inside your pumpkin to create a ticking vomit time-bomb!
6. Floating Ghosts:
Populate your party with spooky floating spirits. You can buy a machine to do this for you, or even hook together a bubble maker and a fog machine, but the same effect can be achieved with dry ice, a hose, a fan pump, and a bowl of soapy water.
7. Inverse Glowing Jack-O-Lanterns:
Grab some glow in the dark powder from your local craft store and paint your pumpkins instead of carving them. That way, your charming autumn display turns itself into a macabre hall of horrors as soon as the sun goes down!
8. Zombie-Brain Shots:
Technically this is science because it’s all about the lipids in the cream reacting with hydroxyl groups in the alcohol to make a semi-solid “brain” in the shot glass. To impress your horror-loving friends, try out the recipe here.
Cut some gummy worms in half and soak them in a mixture of baking soda and water. When the party gets going, you can show your friends your mad science cred by bringing the worms “back to life” by dropping them into a jar of vinegar. It’s ALIVE!!!
10. DIY Cryogenics:
Liquid nitrogen can be expensive, but you can achieve the same effect on the cheap. Alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than dry ice, so you can mix the two together to get a liquid just as cold as the dry ice, in which you can freeze just about anything for some great, creepy effects.
11. Alien Eggs:
Draw some veins on raw eggs with a sharpie then let them sit in the vinegar for 12 hours. The acid dissolves the shell leaving you with some truly unnerving décor. Extra points for adding a touch of food coloring to the vinegar.
12. Magnetic Slime:
Just add some iron oxide powder to your favorite SLIME recipe and you’ll have a creepy mass of seemingly sentient goo. Try to hide magnets in the gloves of your costume and impress everyone with your ability to animate the blob!
13. Exploding Pumpkins:
The easiest way to carve a pumpkin is clearly to use calcium carbide to generate a small amount of acetylene gas which, when ignited, will cause the pre-scored design to burst out… okay well maybe it’s not the easiest, but it’s definitely fun! Check it out!
14. Sci-Fi Jello Shots:
Take advantage of tonic water’s natural phosphorescence in another way by mixing up your gelatin with it. (Pro-tip, the green Jell-O works best). Under a black light, it will look like you and your friends are about to hulk-out when the party really gets started!
15. Fake Blood:
No Halloween list is complete without BLOOD! You can achieve a pretty good effect with corn syrup, corn starch, food coloring, and water- but the best recipe is this: blend about two cups of water with a whole box of powdered sugar and about an ounce of red food coloring, add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and blend again. Voila!
Now you’ve got edible, and very convincing fake blood that can be a trick or a treat! Meanwhile, if you loved this list, you may also want to check out our options for the best Halloween gifts for geeks.