Tag Archives: halloween

How to Make Glow in the Dark Blood

Make your own non-toxic glowing blood for a Halloween costume or for a party or theater production. (Timothy Allen)

Make your own non-toxic glowing blood for a Halloween costume or for a party or theater production. (Timothy Allen)

You can make glow in the dark blood for a Halloween costume or just because you want to decorate yourself with glowing blood. Here are several recipes for non-toxic glow in the dark blood.

Glowing Alien or Radioactive-Looking Blood

Mix equal parts white corn syrup and clear non-toxic school glue (the kind that washes off with water). Add liquid from a highlighter or some glow powder or paint from a craft store.
If you use liquid from a highlighter, you’ll get blood that will glow the color of the highlighter under black light. Not every highlighter glows, so test it before using it. If you use glow powder or paint from a craft store, your glow in the dark blood will glow when the lights are off, providing you “charged” the blood up by shining a bright light on it first. Glow powder typically glows yellowish green.

I had great luck with this glowing blood. It was very bright and washed off easily with warm water. It likely will stain clothes, so watch out for that.

Glowing Bright Blue Blood

Petroleum jelly, laundry detergent, and tonic water glow bright blue under a black light. The easiest way to make blue blood that glows under a black light is to drizzle liquid laundry detergent on yourself (which is not edible, so avoid getting this into your mouth). Tonic water with corn syrup will make a thin blood. You can tint the blood with food coloring, if you like. Petroleum jelly can be applied as a thick, non-dripping blood.
Glowing Red Blood

You can make red blood that glows red under a black light by either mixing pink highlighter liquid in with any of the fake blood recipes or by adding chlorophyll to a recipe. You may be able to purchase chlorophyll, which fluoresces red in ultraviolet light, or you can prepare it yourself by grinding spinach or Swiss chard with a small amount of alcohol (e.g., vodka) and pouring it through a coffee filter to get chlorophyll extract (use the part that stays on the filter, not the liquid).

Fire Breathing Dragon – Halloween Pumpkin

This carved Halloween dragon pumpkin breathes real smoke and fire. Photo Credit: Anne Helmenstine

This carved Halloween dragon pumpkin breathes real smoke and fire. Photo Credit: Anne Helmenstine

Carve a dragon jack o’ lantern for Halloween and make your pumpkin breathe real smoke and colored fire. The fire breathing dragon is easy to do and quite spectacular.

Dragon Pumpkin Materials

  • real pumpkin (fake might catch fire!)
  • dragon pattern
  • knife
  • red sparklers or emergency flare

Carve the Dragon

  1. Cut around the top of the pumpkin, slanting inward so the top of the pumpkin won’t fall inside the jack o’ lantern.
  2. Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin If you like, bake the pumpkin seeds as a treat.
  3. Print out the free pattern and tape it over the pumpkin. It’s easiest to stick the tape if the pumpkin skin is dry.
  4. If you are a pumpkin carving master, carve away! Otherwise, it’s easier to prick the outline of the pattern into the pumpkin using a knife tip or toothpick. When you complete the outline, remove it and carve the face. To really make the features pop, go back and carve away a little pumpkin flesh from the edges of the dragon. Light can pass through the thin sections, so the design will show up better.

Make the Dragon Breathe Smoke and Fire

You can put a red glow stick or regular pumpkin light inside the candle to get a nice rosy glow, but when you’re ready to kick it up a notch, it’s easy to make this dragon breathe fire. The red fire comes from heating a strontium-based salt, which emits crimson light. Although the photo was taken in my living room, it’s probably a good plan to complete these steps outdoors. Either sparklers or a flare will evolve a lot of smoke. You can:

  • Place a red sparkler (or a few) head-down in the pumpkin. Use a long-handled lighter to ignite them. This is a relatively short-lived effect, but you can always add more.
  • Place an emergency road or boat flare in the pumpkin and light it. This effect can last for quite a while, depending on the flare. It’s very bright.
  • Break open a flare and pour a small amount of the powder inside the flare. Ignite it to get smoke and red fire. You can mix the flare with another fuel (e.g., wood chips) to dim the brilliance of the flare and extend the life of the display.

Glowing Hand of Doom Halloween Punch Recipe

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

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

Glowing Hand of Doom punch is a great punch for Halloween parties or mad scientist parties. Here’s how to make a glowing hand rise from the punch, which is bubbling and producing fog.

Glowing Hand of Doom Punch Ingredients

  • disposable glove, not powdered
  • tonic water
  • dry ice
  • punch (cran-grape cocktail works great)
  • black light

Make the Punch

  1. Rinse the glove with water. Fill the glove with tonic water. Hang it in the freezer to freeze it. I set mine on a box of ice cream to suspend it, held in place with a frozen pizza on the edge of the glove. Be careful not to mash the glove when the door closes or else the hand will be disfigured. 
  2. When the tonic water is frozen in the glove, set the glove in a large glass bowl or punch bowl. You should be able to get it to stand on its own without too much trouble, otherwise you can set it upright in a glass, placed inside the punch bowl. It isn’t necessary to remove the hand from the glove. You can dribble a little red food coloring on the hand if you want it to appear bloody. 
  3. Pour your punch into the punch bowl. As the dry ice sublimates, it will carbonate your punch. Cran-grape cocktail makes a nice bloody-looking punch that tastes good carbonated. Orange-pineapple cocktail makes a nice orange Halloween punch. If you mix juice with tonic water then the punch itself will glow under a black light
  4. When it’s time for your party, add dry ice to the punch. The dry ice will sink, so there isn’t much risk of getting any into a cup when the punch is served. You can use regular ice if you want your drinks to be colder. Feel free to add more dry ice over time. 
  5. Black light (ultraviolet) will make the hand glow. Dry ice causes the bubbling. It’s perfectly safe to drink the punch, but don’t drink the pieces of dry ice (they are easy to avoid while serving the beverage).

Are Smoke Machines Safe for Pets?

As long as there is good air circulation, dry ice smoke should be safe for use around pets and kids. (photo: Rosana Prada)

As long as there is good air circulation, dry ice smoke should be safe for use around pets and kids. (photo: Rosana Prada)e

Halloween parties are the best! There are cool costumes, Halloween party beverages and spooky fog. Have you ever thought about the safety of the fog? Here’s a question from a reader that you may be wondering about, too:

… I just have one quick question that I can’t seem to find the answer to anywhere. My husband and I will be throwing a small party/get-together around Halloween and we are planning on using a Fog Machine that using Dry Ice. We have a Beagle. We want to make sure that this fog machine would not cause any issues with our dog being that she isn’t far from the ground, hehe.

My reply: It’s true that there will be a higher concentration of carbon dioxide closer to the ground, but as long as there is air circulation in the room, it shouldn’t pose a risk for your dog. If she will be present during the party, you might want to be sure she can exit the room with the fog machine at will. I don’t think it’s likely she will nap during the party where all the activity is taking place, but you might want to discourage her from sleeping on the floor near the machine. If she seems sleepy or irritable, I’d probably relocate her to a different room.

Dry ice sublimates to become carbon dioxide. The cool carbon dioxide sinks to the floor of the room, where it eventually mixes with the air. To some extent, the carbon dioxide will displace the warmer air, but people moving around will mix the fog into the air fairly quickly. Unless you are flooding a sealed room with carbon dioxide or using a whole lot of dry ice, the risk from the increased concentration of the gas is slight. It’s a good idea to keep a watch on pets or small children, since they would be breathing a higher concentration of the gas (i.e., lower percentage of oxygen) than adults. Also, people with respiratory problems may have less tolerance to the lower oxygen concentration.

Generally speaking, water, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen fog are all very safe. How do you know if there is too little oxygen in the air? The usual tip-offs would be headache, feeling sleepy, nausea, and dizziness. If someone at a party with dry ice or liquid nitrogen fog experiences these symptoms, remove him or her to an area with fresh air. You may want to increase the air circulation for everyone else, too, or stop making fog for a while, just to be safe.

Real Cat and Dry Ice Fog

As you can see, I perform dry ice projects with my pets in the room. Where you would run into trouble would be a situation where the room is filled with fog. In that case, use a fan to make sure the carbon dioxide concentration doesn’t get too high near the floor.

Flamethrower Jack o Lantern

Flamethrower Jack o Lantern

Flamethrower Jack o Lantern

Is a wussy little tea light too tame to illuminate your carved Halloween pumpkin? Try this easy flamethrower jack o lantern. It shoots flames 2-3 feet into the air for 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You can even color the flames. Here’s what you do:

Flamethrower Jack o Lantern Materials

Be sure to use a real pumpkin or other carved fruit or vegetable. Flamethrower watermelon? Fine! Flamethrower plastic pumpkin? Toxic fumes, melting ooze, and fire.

  • carved Halloween jack o lantern
  • quart of kerosene
  • roll of toilet paper

I used the cheapest, nastiest toilet paper I could find. Your pumpkin does not need pretty scents and lotions. A small single roll of toilet paper is best. You may be able to use other fuels besides kerosene, but I like it because it does not readily burn and produces a long-lasting flame.

Turn Your Pumpkin into a Flamethrower

  1. Go outside. This is not an indoor project. Do it inside and I guarantee you’ll set off your smoke alarm and may singe the ceiling.
  2. If you follow the directions, the pumpkin will insulate the surface just fine from the heat of the fire, but if you’re a pyro, I recommend the following additional step: Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet. Find a heat-safe surface (pavement, your lawn), and set an oven mitt on the surface. Place the pumpkin/cookie sheet on top of the oven mitt. Strictly speaking, you don’t need to do these things, but if you’re doing this project, you’re likely a pyro and things will eventually get out of control, leading to a charred spot on your driveway or burnt area of the lawn. You don’t want that, right?
  3. Stuff the toilet paper roll inside the pumpkin. I usually have to remove the inner cardboard tube and sort of smush the toilet paper. If the whole roll fits, leave the tube, since it forms a nice “wick” for the kerosene.
  4. Pour the kerosene over the toilet paper. Be sure to wet it, or you’ll just burn paper, which is lame.
  5. Light the fire. It will take several seconds to really get going, so don’t be afraid it’s going to leap out and burn you.
  6. You can wait for the flamethrower to burn out, but if you need to extinguish the fire before then, just douse it with water. Usually, just putting the lid on the jack o lantern works, too.

Color the Flames

It’s actually pretty hard to color the flamethrower flames, although I have found adding an emergency flare will turn them red.

It’s easy to color the exterior of the pumpkin with colored flames. You can squirt hand sanitizer gel onto the outside of the pumpkin for blue fire. Sprinkle the pumpkin with either borax or boric acid for green fire.

Make a Rainbow Fire Jack o Lantern

See the Flamethrower Jack o Lantern in Action

Why yes.. of course I made a video of this pumpkin!

How To Make Glow in the Dark Face Paint

It's easy to make glow in the dark face paint and body paint. (photo: www.audio-luci-store.it)

It’s easy to make glow in the dark face paint and body paint. (photo: www.audio-luci-store.it)

Take your Halloween costume to the next level with glow in the dark face paint. It’s easy to make safe, non-toxic glow in the dark paint to use on your face or as body paint. While you can buy glowing paints [glowing face and body paint at Amazon], there are three big advantages to making it yourself:

  1. You can usually make it for less money than you can buy it.
  2. You can customize the colors to get exactly what you want.
  3. You control the ingredients, so you know they are safe!

Glow in the Dark Face Paint Ingredients

The exact amount of the ingredients is not critical, so feel free to experiment. The corn starch is a non-toxic binder that helps stick the paint to your skin. It also provides a reflective surface to increase the brightness of the glow. The cold cream or lotion gives you a smooth “paint” consistency and keeps your artwork flexible so it won’t crack or peel. The critical ingredient is the glow pigment, since this is where the “glow” comes from.

  • 4 tablespoons corn starch (or talcum powder)
  • 2 tablespoons cold cream or thick lotion
  • 2 tablespoons glow pigment [glow pigment at Amazon]
  • food coloring or homemade dyes (optional)

Make Glow in the Dark Face and Body Paint

  1. If you’re mixing up several different colors, stir together the corn starch and cold cream and divide it up into an ice cube tray or empty egg carton to make a convenient color palette. For a single color, simply mix together the corn starch and cold cream in a small bowl.
  2. Mix in the glow pigment bit by bit. It really helps if you have a black light or a very bright light hand so you can charge the glow pigment, turn out the lights, and see how the paint looks.
  3. Adjust your consistency. Add more pigment to get a brighter glow. Once you are happy with the glow, you can add a bit more lotion or cold cream for a smoother paint or a bit more powder for a drier and stiffer paint.
  4. Cover the glow paint with plastic until you’re ready to use it. If you like, you can refrigerate it to make it easier to apply. Use make-up sponges, fingers, or paintbrushes to apply the glowing paint.
  5. Some glow pigments are already colored, giving you a colored paint. Note the color of the pigment in normal light may be completely different from the color it glows! If you want to add color to the paint, you can add food coloring or powdered paint. Keep in mind, adding color pigment will reduce the brightness of the glow (blocks the light) and also, if you use any water-based product you can diminish the glow (most glow pigments are damaged by water). One solution? Apply regular colored face paint and then add uncolored glow paint over it. The color will still show through and the glow won’t be diminished.
  6. Ordinary soap and water will remove the glowing paint. Whether the color from dyes is removed depends on what you used.

Tips for Success

  • Your homemade glow in the dark paint is safe enough to use on your face and your bod. You could even add it to your hair. (www.audio-luci-store.it)

    Your homemade glow in the dark paint is safe enough to use on your face and your bod. You could even add it to your hair. (www.audio-luci-store.it)

    Make sure your glow pigment is “glow in the dark” or “phosphorescent”, which is different from “UV glow”, “fluorescent” or “black light glow”. Powder the truly glows in the dark will also glow under a black light, but it keeps glowing when all lights are out.

  • Glow powder comes in different particle sizes. The larger the particle, the brighter the glow, but bigger particles also mean you’ll get a gritty paint. Decide how important brightness and glow time are compared with paint smoothness and choose accordingly.
  • In addition to particle size, the brightness and duration of the glow depends on its color. Green and blue pigments glow the brightest and last the longest. Other colors fade relatively quickly, although you can recharge most of them with a black light or your cell phone flashlight (or you can just rock a black light party and not worry about it).
  • For the absolutely best and brightest glow, apply glow in the dark paint over white or silver paint. The base paint will reflect back the light.
  • Glow powder hates water! Unless you buy special encapsulated pigment (sealed against water), you’re going to lose the glow by adding water or too much water-based colorant to your face or body paint. Yes, there is some water in the lotion or face cream. It shouldn’t be a problem if you make the glow in the dark paint fresh before using it. I’d make and use it the same day.

Holiday Periodic Table Wallpapers

Add a bit of chemistry to your holidays with these holiday periodic table wallpapers. Each color periodic table contains a different holiday icon to represent the different element groups. All tables contain the element’s atomic number, symbol, name and atomic mass. Click the image to view the full-sized, 1920×1080 wallpaper.

Keep your eye on this page as new ones are added as they are created.

Valentines Day Periodic Table

Valentines Day Periodic TableShare your love of the elements with this periodic table wallpaper has different colored hearts for the different element groups.


Saint Patrick’s Day Periodic Table

Saint Patrick's Day Periodic TableShow off your green with this St. Patrick’s Day periodic table wallpaper. Each element group is represented by a different four-leaved clover. All on a green and black swirled background.

Easter Periodic Table

Easter Periodic Table Wallpaper
Hunt your favorite element with this periodic table Easter Egg Hunt. Each egg contains an element’s number, symbol, name and atomic weight.

 Halloween Periodic Table

Periodic Table of Halloween!

Periodic Table of Halloween!

Geek up your Halloween with this Periodic Table Wallpaper. Each element group is represented by a different Halloween themed icon. This table was my first holiday table and still my favorite.

 Thanksgiving Periodic Table

Turkey Periodic TableHalloween is over, change your Halloween table to a Thanksgiving themed table. Each element is represented by a colored turkey with the usual atomic number, symbol, name and atomic mass.

 Christmas Periodic Table

Christmas Periodic TableSpruce up your holiday desktop with this Christmas themed periodic table wallpaper. Each element group is represented by a different holiday icon and has each element’s atomic number, symbol, name and atomic mass.