background img

How to Make Ghostly Dry Ice Bubbles and a Dry Ice Crystal Ball

Bubbles are fun anytime. Fog is a necessity for spooky Halloween effects. What if you combine them and make smoke filled bubbles? Then bounce and play with the super bubbles and you will be the hit of your Halloween party.

Touchable Boo Bubbles


  • Two liter bottle
  • Dry ice (ask the front desk at your local grocers)
  • Heavy-duty glove
  • Funnel
  • Strip of cotton fabric
  • Rubber tubing
  • Dish soap
  • Utility blade (box cutter)
  • Small plastic portion cups (2 oz works best)
  • Towel
  • Bubble gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Adult supervision

Dip the free end of the rubber tubing into the bubble solution to wet the end of the tube. Remove the tube from the bubble solution with one hand while covering the jar with the lid in the other hand. This will take a little practice, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. The goal is to blow a bubble filled with fog. When the bubble reaches the perfect size, gently shake it off of the tubing and it will quickly fall to the ground (it’s heavier than a normal bubble because the bubble is filled with carbon dioxide gas and water vapor). When the bubble hits the ground, it bursts and the cloud of fog erupts from the bubble.

Purchase a pair of inexpensive children’s gloves from your local department store (100% cotton gloves also work well). Blow a bubble about the size of a baseball.

Bounce the bubble off of your gloves. Try bouncing the bubble off of your shirt or pants. As you’ll soon see, some fabrics work better than others. Try bouncing bubbles on a hand towel.

For more information on how to make Boo Bubbles, watch this video.

Dry Ice Crystal Ball

bubbleFor your Halloween science dry ice extravaganza finale, you have to make a Crystal Ball Bubble. Create a soap film on the rim of a bucket. As the bubble expands, it fills with water vapor and carbon dioxide. When the giant bubble bursts, the cloud of “smoke” falls to the floor. This, like the Boo Bubbles, will take some practice to perfect.

Select a bucket or container that has a smooth rim and is smaller than 12 inches in diameter. Cut a strip of cloth about 1 inch wide and 18 inches long. An old t-shirt, strip of cloth or a fat shoelace works well.

Soak the cloth in a solution of Dawn dish soap or use your favorite recipe for making bubble solution. Make sure that the cloth is completely soaked. Fill the bucket half full with water. Have tongs or gloves ready to transfer the dry ice to the bucket.

Place two or three pieces of dry ice into the water so that a good amount of fog is being produced. Remove the strip of cloth from the dish soap and carefully pull the strip across the rim. The goal is to create a soap film that covers the top.

It also helps to have the rim wet before you start. This may take some practice until you get the technique mastered. Remember that a bubble’s worst enemies are dirt, oil, and rough edges. Your patience will pay off in the long run.

If you accidentally get soap in the bucket of water, you’ll notice that zillions of bubbles filled with fog will start to emerge from the bucket. This, too, produces a great effect. If you want to go back to making Crystal Ball Bubbles, you will need to dump the water, clean the bowl and start over.

Place a waterproof flashlight in the bucket along with the dry ice so that the light shines up through the fog. Draw the cloth across the rim to create the soap film lid and turn off the room lights. The crystal bubbles will emit an eerie glow and you’ll be able to see the fog churning inside the transparent bubble walls. Take your bows as the audience erupts in a chorus of ooohs & ahhhs!

For more information and to watch a how to video, check out the Steve Spangler Science website.

Guest blogger Susan Wells is the mom to two girls. 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.

Make Bubbling, Spooky Halloween Cauldrons with Dry Ice

I have never been much of a Halloween fan, but after working with Steve Spangler for more than eight years, Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays. I had no idea you could have so much fun with dry ice and warm water. If you are planning a Halloween party this season at home or helping plan a school party, dry ice is a must to create oozing and bubbling fun.

I have brought the following demonstrations into my daughter’s classrooms and performed them at Halloween parties for the past few years. I love to do these activities to watch the excitement and wonder in the children’s eyes. Okay, I also love it myself. The kids give me the excuse to play.

First, some background information on dry ice.

dryiceWhat is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It doesn’t melt; it turns, instead, into carbon dioxide gas. Dry ice is extremely cold – 110F (-78 C). It can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with skin, so make sure to use gloves or tongs when handling it. When dry ice is dropped into water, carbon dioxide gas and water vapor are released as the dry ice “melts” in the water. The gas you see are tiny water droplets.

Where Can I Buy Dry Ice?

Before you can do any of the activities, you need to head to your local grocery store for dry ice. Not all grocery stores sell dry ice, so you may need to call around. Take a cooler and gloves with you to transport the dry ice home safely. Dry ice sells for around $1 a pound. If you are going to do several demonstrations, plan to purchase around 5 to 10 pounds.

Dry Ice Storage and Safety

Store the dry ice in your cooler, not fridge or freezer. It is at a lower temperature than your freezer and can lower the temperature in the freezer causing it to shut off. Or the dry ice may turn into a gas. The gas can build up inside the freezer and will eventually pop the door open. When doing your demonstrations, keep the dry ice in a closed cooler. I like to keep it on the floor behind my feet. The children (and any adults) will rush the table you are working on and do their best to be the closest to the demonstration. When I have done these activities for my daughter’s classes, I have been surrounded every time. It’s important to keep the dry ice in a safe place. Also keep a small hammer on hand to break apart the blocks of ice.

Disappearing Dry Ice

This is a good demonstration to show why it’s called dry ice. Take two plates, place a regular ice cube on one, and a piece of dry ice on the other. Keep both plates out of reach of the children. Ask the children what they think will happen to both ice cubes if left out. Check back in about an hour. The water ice cube will be a puddle of water. The dry ice cube plate will be empty. What happened to the dry ice? It’s made from some of the air that we breathe… it’s frozen carbon dioxide. The dry ice turned into invisible carbon dioxide gas that disappears into the air.

dryice1Smoking, Bubbling Spooky Fun

You will need a bowl or tall glass filled with warm water for this activity. I like to use graduated cylinders. They are tall, durable and not wide enough to allow a child to put their hand down inside and accidentally touch the dry ice. This is important, as the children will want to touch the water and vapor. Using gloves or tongs, place a piece of dry ice in the warm water. The dry ice will begin to turn into carbon dioxide gas and water vapor. The cloud is safe to touch, just don’t allow the children to put their hands near the dry ice. When the water cools down and the smoke slows down, replace the cold water with warm and add more dry ice. And yes, you will get cheers of “do it again!”


  1. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap like Dawn or Joy to your warm water and dry ice concoction. The soap in the water traps the carbon dioxide and water vapor in a bubble. The children will erupt into oohs and ahhs when they see the bubbles climb out of the cylinder of warm, soapy water and explode with a burst of “smoke” as they crawl over the edge. The children won’t be able to keep their hands away.
  2. Add a squirt of food coloring or tub tints to the water to make the demonstration more colorful. I love to do this. I set up three or more cylinders with different colors and let them go. This helps if you have a larger group allowing for 3-5 kids at each cylinder. Just make sure you have adult supervision at each station so cylinders do not get dumped over.
  3. To give the water an eerie glow, add a light stick in the water and turn off the lights.
  4. Put the dry ice and warm water in a dish and set it inside your jack-o-lantern.

Carbonate Apple Juice for Witches’ Brew

Fill a bowl or cauldron with apple juice. Use gloves or tongs to add a few large pieces of dry ice. Let the children watch the mixture bubble and burp as it gets carbonated by the dry ice. Wait until the dry ice is completely gone before serving the apple juice.

For more information on dry ice and for more activities head over to Steve Spangler Science.


// Bookmark and Share

Spooky Halloween Slime Recipes

Welcome back to Spangler Science Saturdays in October. Halloween just isn’t Halloween at my house without a huge batch of slime. At this time of year, my daughters’ friends hang out at our house begging me to make slime with them. It’s sticky. It’s icky. It’s gooey. It’s a must-have at Halloween.

Making slime is also a great way to teach about the properties of a polymer… or a long chain of molecules. The molecules start out as a liquid in this slime recipe but are quickly hooked together with the introduction of the Borax. The Borax solution is the “cross-linker” in the creation of the Slime polymer. Borax molecules are like tiny paper clips that hook together the long chains of molecules making a slippery, gooey concoction known as Slime. Slime can either be made using Elmer’s Glue or a liquid called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).

Click here for more information on the science of slime.

Elmer’s Glue Slime