• 4 Cool Science Magic Tricks to Put the "Trick" in Your Halloween Trick or Treat

    Your trick-or-treaters are sure to howl in delight!
  • Photo by Hannah Swithinbank/Flickr

    You have all of the family's costumes prepared. You've bought all the treats you could get your hands on. Your front gate is decked with spooky ghosts, monsters, cobwebs and pumpkins. But, have you asked yourself. “Where’s the ‘trick’ in my Halloween trick or treat?” 

    Well, look no further! We’ve got the tricks you’re looking for. What’s even better is that these are science magic tricks! You’ll not only wow your trick-or-treaters, they’ll howl in delight too. So get your instruments ready, head to the nearest mad scientist’s lab and get cracking with these science tricks.

    Fair warning, you will need that mad scientist to help you out; unless, of course, you're a mad scientist yourself.  

    Trick #1: Fire-breathing Bubbles  Screengrab from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/Youtube.com

    What you’ll need:
    Bowl of bubble solution
    Beach ball
    Tube (has to fit into the beach ball)
    Gas stove lighter
    A candle
    1-meter long stick
    Protective gear
    The secret ingredient: hydrogen gas

    What to do:
    Set up

    1. Fill the beach ball with hydrogen gas.
    2. Insert one end of the tube into the opening of the beach and clip or attach the other end to the bowl of bubble solution. The end of the tube must be submerged into the solution.
    3. Attach the candle to the stick. Light your candle.
    Perform
    4. Hold the candle at a height, about 2 ft. higher than your head, above the bowl of suds.
    5. Slowly squeeze out the gas from the beach ball. This will cause bubbles in your bubble solution. The hydrogen gas bubbles that you’ve made will accumulate and will start to lift away from the bowl.
    6. Watch as the bubbles magically float away! And, once they come close to the candle you're holding above them, they will...


    GIF via GIPHY

    7. Ignite! The science here is simple: hydrogen gas floats because it's a lot lighter than the air around us. It ignites because it's flammable.


    Trick #2: The Dutchman's Flying Ghost Ship
    Screengrab from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/Youtube.com

    What you’ll need:

    A clear tank
    Water
    Pitcher
    Dry ice
    Tin foil
    The secret ingredient: Sulfur hexafluoride gas

    What to do:
    Set up

    1. Fill the tank with sulfur hexafluoride gas.
    2. Fill your pitcher about 1/4 of the way with hot water.
    3. Make a boat-shape with the tin foil.
    Perform
    4. Put a few blocks of dry ice into your pitcher of hot water. Be careful when handling dry ice!
    5. The dry ice in hot water will create a fog in your pitcher. Pour this fog in your tank. You’ll notice that the fog will only glide on top of your tank of sulfur hexafluoride gas creating a beautiful water-like waves effect. 
    6. Once your tank is looking like a transparent ocean with a sea foam fog, place your boat on top of the gas, push it gently across the tank and watch as your ghostly ship glides on air! 

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    GIF via GIPHY

    The ship will be able to float on the transparent gas because sulfur hexafluoride is much heavier than air and can therefore support the weight of the boat.


    Trick #3: Monster's Growl: Voice Transformation
    Screengrab from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/Youtube.com 

    What You'll Need:

    Balloons
    The secret ingredient: sulfur hexafluoride gas

    What to do:
    Set up

    1. Inflate your balloons with sulfur hexafluoride gas.
    Perform
    2. Take a balloon and inhale some of the gas through your mouth.
    3. Say “Welcome! Welcome!” in your best Dracula impression.

     
    GIF via GIPHY

    Your voice will sound deeper because it has to pass through the heavy sulfur hexafluoride gas. With helium, it’s the other way around. Because helium is lighter than air, sound passes through it quickly making your voice sound high-pitched in the process.


    Trick #4:  The Disappearing Act
    Screengrab from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/Youtube.com 

    What you'll need: 

    Bucket
    Hot water
    Protective gear
    The secret ingredient: liquid nitrogen

    What to do:
    Set up
    1. Pour liquid nitrogen into a bucket; the more liquid nitrogen, the more fog.
    Perform
    2. Dump all the hot water into the bucket. Be prepared for a giant explosion of fog right before your eyes! 

     
    GIF via GIPHY

    3. While the fog is thick, quickly run from the scene to complete your disappearing act.

    Nitrogen has a boiling point of -196°C. The rapid temperature change brought by the hot water will cause the liquid nitrogen to boil. This will then turn water into tiny droplets which we see as mist.


    Watch all the tricks in action in the clip below from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon with guest science expert Kevin Delaney. Video from Youtube.com

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