Top Halloween Chemistry Projects

Spooky Halloween Chemistry

A little chemistry can add a lot of ghastly, ghostly effect to your Halloween celebration. Here's a look at some of the top Halloween projects you can do that apply your command of chemistry. The best part? You don't even need to be a chemist. These Halloween projects involve everyday chemistry that anyone can do!

This spooky Halloween pumpkin glows in the dark.
This spooky Halloween pumpkin glows in the dark. The jack-o-lantern face is formed by the areas that aren't coated with phosphorescent paint. Anne Helmenstine

You don't need a knife or a candle to create this eerie jack-o-lantern face. It's surprisingly quick and easy to make a phosphorescent pumpkin for Halloween. More »

Fake blood (stage blood) is great for theatrical productions and Halloween.
Fake blood (stage blood) is great for theatrical productions and Halloween. Win Initiative, Getty Images

I think we can all agree it's best to use fake blood for your Halloween celebration. Of course, you can buy fake blood, but if you make your own you can control the exact color and consistency (plus it's simply fun to make fake blood).

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Dry Ice Fog
Dry Ice Fog. Shawn Henning

There are a few different ways to create creepy Halloween fog. Dry ice fog is nice because it's non-toxic, doesn't have a weird chemical smell (like smoke machine juice), and billows out tons of fog that naturally sinks to the floor. More »

This festive punch has a glowing hand and gives off lots of fog.
This festive punch has a glowing hand and gives off lots of fog. It tastes great, too!. Anne Helmenstine

If floating a candy eyeball in a punchbowl is a little too tame for you, try making Glowing Hand of Doom punch. This punch is fizzy, glows, and produces fog. What more could you ask for? It even tastes good! More »

This Halloween jack-o-lantern is filled with green fire.
You could put a simple candle inside your Halloween jack-o-lantern, but filling it with green fire is much more fun!. Anne Helmenstine
Putting a tealight in a jack-o-lantern produces a nice, cheery glow. If you really want to scare away the evil spirits, don't you think a burst of green fire would work better? I thought so, too. More »
Use chemistry to turn a liquid into 'wine' or 'blood' and back to water again.
Use chemistry to turn a liquid into 'wine' or 'blood' and back to water again. Tastyart Ltd Rob White, Getty Images
... and then back into water. This is a classic color-change chemistry demonstration that you can use as a holiday pH indicator demonstration or as a really cool effect at a Halloween party... or both. More »
You can make this non-sticky, edible slime from two easy-to-find ingredients.
You can make this non-sticky, edible slime from two easy-to-find ingredients. It can be used as ectoplasm for Halloween costumes, haunted houses, and Halloween parties. Anne Helmenstine
Ectoplasm is that goo left behind when ghosts interact with the realm of the living. This stuff is relatively non-sticky, so feel free to decorate yourself with it, your home... you get the idea. More »
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Homemade Face Paint

Skeleton Halloween Makeup
Skeleton Halloween Makeup. Rob Melnychuk, Getty Images
You can avoid potential toxins and allergens by preparing your own Halloween face paint. This face paint recipe produces a creamy white face paint, which you can use as it is or color to suit your needs.
This is a dry ice bubble.
If you coat a container of water and dry ice with bubble solution you will get a bubble that sort of resembles a crystal ball. Anne Helmenstine

A real crystal ball is pretty cool, but I would argue this dry ice crystal ball is even cooler because (a) it's literally icy cold and (b) it contains swirling whorls of fog, which you just don't see in a real crystal ball unless maybe you're psychic. You could make the effect even more spectacular by placing a small LED light into the container. More »

I put a cup of water inside this Halloween jack-o-lantern and dropped in a piece of dry ice.
I put a cup of water inside this Halloween jack-o-lantern and dropped in a piece of dry ice. Carbon dioxide fog sinks, so if you want smoke to come out of the eyes and nose, use a tall cup so the fog can spill down. Anne Helmenstine
If you stuff your jack-o-lantern with smoldering leaves, I am sure it will produce a lot of attractive smoke. However, it will smell like fire and I think most people will assume you are using a defective candle rather than trying to achieve a spooky effect. On the other hand, filling your pumpkin with dry ice fog will be eerie and spooky. More »
Here's what happens when you light a smoke bomb inside a Halloween jack-o-lantern.
Here's what happens when you light a smoke bomb inside a Halloween jack-o-lantern. Anne Helmenstine
If dry ice is too tame for you (or you can't get any) light a smoke bomb inside of a Halloween jack-o-lantern. The effect doesn't last as long, but it's a lot of fun and you get a ton of smoke. More »
You can make non-toxic fake organs and flesh using kitchen ingredients.
You can make non-toxic fake organs and flesh using kitchen ingredients. While the flesh looks gross, you could actually eat it. Anne Helmenstine

Chocolate-flavored fake organs, anyone? You can adjust the color and consistency of the edible fake flesh and organs to make shiny fresh-looking organs or dark crusty-looking fresh. This is any extremely easy way to make fake body parts.

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It's easy to make a chemist Halloween costume.
It's easy to make a chemist costume, which you can use as a chemist Halloween costume or for any costume party. Anne Helmenstine

If you're going to do chemistry projects for Halloween, maybe you should look like a chemist while doing them... or a mad scientist or evil genius:

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You can perform a safe chemical reaction that will make you foam at the mouth.
You can perform a safe chemical reaction that will make you foam at the mouth. Anne Helmenstine

Perhaps your Halloween costume involves foaming at the mouth rather than blood. If so, here's a quick and non-toxic way to create that rabid look. More »

These drinks flame and glow in the dark.
These drinks flame and glow in the dark. The fire is from igniting 151 rum on the surface of the drink. The glow comes from safe fluorescent chemicals in the cocktails. Anne Helmenstine

Halloween is the perfect occasion for flaming or glowing party drinks! Drinks you set on fire will contain alcohol, since that's the fuel for the flame. You can go either way with glowing drinks, making them for kids or for adult celebrations. More »

It's easy to make glowing gelatin.
It's easy to make glowing gelatin. Just substitute tonic water for water in the recipe. You can cut it into shapes if you like. Ultraviolet light makes it glow, like from a black light. Anne Helmenstine

Are you looking for an easy-to-make spooky treat for Halloween? How about glowing gelatin? You can make any flavor of Jell-O glow in the dark or you can add the glow effect to unflavored gelatin for decorations. The gelatin is safe to eat -- it just looks creepy.

Step By Step Glowing Jell-O Instructions
Glowing Jell-O Video Tutorial More »

Grow crystals onto a paper form to make a crystal skull.
Grow crystals onto a paper form to make a crystal skull. Anne Helmenstine

Grow a crystal skull to use as a spooky Halloween decoration or simply to give your home a Goth or Indiana Jones flair. More »

Flaming Jack o Lantern.

Why use a wussy tea light to illuminate your Halloween jack o' lantern when you can apply a bit of chemistry to make a flamethrower jack o' lantern? Although this pumpkin looks intimidating, it's actually a lot safer than you'd think.  More »

Make a paper ghost dance in the air as if by magic! This is a great educational Halloween science project.
Make a paper ghost dance in the air as if by magic! This is a great educational Halloween science project.

Make a paper ghost dance around in the air, as if by magic. Of course, it's really a matter of science. Electrons are the magicians in this simple trick. More »