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Science Project: Spooky Halloween Smoke Machine

Oct 09, 2015

What is the best part about Halloween? The costumes? The candy? Getting to roam your neighborhood well into the night? Or is it the science? Maybe science isn’t the first thing you think of when Halloween comes around, but this Spooky Halloween Smoke Machine is a fun and creative way to bring some science into your Halloween.

There’s nothing spookier than thick murky smoke creeping along the ground, mainly because who knows what is lurking beneath it. To get this smoke the best method is to use dry ice.

Dry ice is solidified carbon dioxide that unlike ice, which changes from a solid to liquid by melting, dry ice changes from a solid to a gas through a process called sublimation. Hence why it’s called “dry” ice, it never gets wet.

It’s also extremely cold at -110˚ F (-78˚ C), which makes it perfect for keeping things cold when they’re being shipped or when refrigeration is difficult. Which means you can find it at some grocery stores and even some ice cream shops. Because dry ice is so cold, if you were to touch it with your bare hands you’d get instant frostbite.

You must use gloves, tongs and adult supervision when handling dry ice.

So then, how does dry ice make such a good Halloween decoration? Here’s how:


  • 5-10 pounds of dry ice
  • Gloves
  • Tongs
  • Warm water
  • Styrofoam cooler or pumpkin


  1. Using heavy-duty gloves or tongs take a chunk of dry ice and place it in your Styrofoam cooler. You could also use some organic material, like a hollowed out pumpkin.
  2. Add warm water to the dry ice. The warm water will cause the dry ice to sublimate faster and will produce more fog.
  3. To keep the effect going keep adding warm water until all the dry ice is used up.

Remember, don't touch the dry ice with your bare hands...ever!Remember, don't touch the dry ice with your bare hands...ever!

Important things to note:

Don’t touch the dry ice with your bare hands. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again.

Be aware that there will be more carbon dioxide present in the surrounding area of your spooky smoke machine, so best to place it in a well ventilated area to make sure you can breathe properly.

Lastly, have a spooky smoky Halloween!

Have Your Say

The smoke from dry ice sinks to the ground. Why do you think that is? Share your ideas in the comments section below.



latest videos


What is Dry Ice?

  • Ice that has been dried off
  • Solidified carbon dioxide
  • Ice that will never melt
  • Solidified oxygen

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