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Make Your Halloween Party Glow With Easy Ideas From Steve Spangler Science!

Do you love Halloween as much as I do? It is my favorite holiday…gorgeous fall weather, turning leaves, pumpkins, candy and glowing, bubbling activities.

Welcome to Spangler Science Saturdays with Steve Spangler Science at Mile High Mamas. Halloween is highly anticipated at Steve Spangler Science. We have an entire section dedicated to Halloween experiments and activities complete with how-to videos.

Today, we are focusing on 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, 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 want to have some fun with your own kids at home, here are some glowing activities you can do.

Black Lights
Who knew you could have so much fun with a black light? A black light is a must for these activities. Black light is really ultra-violet light, which is naturally present as a component in sunlight. Ultra-violet 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 ultra-violet light on fluorescent material, it lights up with a beautiful bluish-green luminescence. Black lights come in all sizes from mini hand-held to large. You can find them in Halloween stores, hardware stores or online.

Glowing Halloween Pumpkins
This activity was featured on Martha Stewart a few years ago. Instead of carving your pumpkins, make them glow. Glow powder is needed for this activity. Glow powder charges in regular light or under black light and then glows in the dark. Use contact paper and cut out face pieces. Stick them to your pumpkin. Spray the pumpkin with stick adhesive (for younger children or a less toxic version, you can also “paint” the pumpkin with Elmer’s Glue.) Shake glow powder evenly over the pumpkin to cover it. Let dry.

Go here for step-by-step instructions for this activity and information on glow powder.

Glow Powder
Glow powder can be used for craft projects in place of glitter or crayons. Use your imagination. One of my favorite activities for glow powder is decorating paper designs. I cut out pumpkins, ghosts, etc. on black construction paper. Squeeze Elmer’s glue or use a glue stick on the paper in a design to make it sticky. Make faces, patterns or whatever you want to create, then sprinkle the glow powder over the paper. Shake off the excess back into the container. Let dry. Hold the paper up to a black light or regular light to “charge” the glow powder. Then turn off the lights. My kids do this activity and then run to the windowless bathroom to check out their designs in the dark.

Under normal light, Atomic Glow turns water a cool greenish-yellow color, but under black light it glows an eerie green color that looks “atomic.” Unlike glow powder, Atomic Glow needs a black light to glow. Add it to any of your Halloween liquids and watch them glow. Just add it to water in a beaker, turn off the lights, turn on the black light and watch the glow spiral and spread through the water. Very creepy and cool!

Use cereal boxes or cardboard boxes and cut them in the shapes of tombstones. Use black or grey 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.

Atomic Glowing Slime
Slime is a must at Halloween. Atomic slime is even better. Just mix two materials together and you get an ooey gooey activity. I have done this activity with my daughter’s 1st grade class. The kids could not put it down. It oozes. It stretches. It feels kind of like play dough. If that isn’t enough, turn out the lights and watch it glow in the black light.

Go here for a homemade recipe using Elmer’s Glue.

Glowing Geysers
tonicgeyserDropping Mentos into Diet Coke has become a phenomenon on the Internet and in homes and parks across the country. There is something irresistible about creating an explosive reaction and then running for your life.

You can make your geysers glow by using Tonic water. Tonic water contains quinine, a chemical that glows under a black light. Quinine was added to Tonic water to help fight off malaria. Tonic water still contains a small amount of quinine, which makes it a perfect material for glowing geysers. Set the stage, turn off the lights, drop the Mentos and you have a glowing geyser! An amazing finale to your Halloween party.

Go here for more information on creating your own glowing geyser.

Glow in the Dark Paper
For some extra after dark science fun, check out Glow in the Dark paper. It’s actually super-durable vinyl that will stick to anything. It contains a thin layer of zinc sulfide or glow powder. The zinc sulfide molecules are energized by light and let off a bright, green glow.

Guest blogger Susan Wells is the mom to two girls, ages 5 and 9. She enjoys enriching her daughter’s education by finding the learning in everything. They especially enjoy science activities. She works as a blogger and social media strategist for Steve Spangler Science, a Colorado company dedicated to helping teachers and parents get children excited about science.

Susan Wells
Author: Susan Wells

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  1. Oh my gosh, YES! Steve Spangler’s Halloween “stuff” has been my family’s PASSION ever since we first discovered his website and his awesome “Experiment of the Week!!!”

    I mean, why CARVE a pumpkin when it’s so much cooler to make it glow in the dark? We have the coolest Halloween decorations in the neighborhood!

    Thank you for posting this, Susan. I LOVED it! Steve Spangler Science taught me more about just plain TEACHING than all those years of grad school put together.

  2. Glow powder…this might make our preschool homemade playdough assignment way more fun!

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