October brings crunchy leaves, pumpkin-flavored everything, and most importantly to kids … HALLOWEEN! Check out these fun STEAM activities to get the whole family in the Halloween spirit.


  1. Rotting Pumpkin

What happens to a pumpkin as it rots? This experiment teaches the scientific method: define the purpose, make a prediction, test your prediction and gather data, analyze the data, draw a conclusion and communicate the results. In this simple experiment, the scientific process happens naturally!


Leftover jack-o-lantern

Tray or plate

Paper to create a homemade journal



Place your jack-o-lantern on a tray or plate to prevent rot from getting on household surfaces. Next, make a journal to record your findings.


Begin by having your child predict what will happen to the pumpkin. Then, periodically inspect the jack-o-lantern for changes and record them in your journal. Encourage your child to draw what he sees and to add some simple written observations.


What’s the Science?

This activity introduces kids to the concept of decomposition – the process by which things are broken down into a simpler form of matter.


Extend the Learning

When the experiment is over, say goodbye to your now unrecognizable friend and have your child share what he learned. Was his prediction correct? What surprised him the most? Continuing the conversation invites even more learning!


  1. Expanding Ghost

This fun experiment teaches about carbon dioxide with common household supplies. Kids love watching the ghost inflate right before their eyes.


Empty water bottle

White balloon

Small funnel

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 cup vinegar

Permanent marker


  1. Using the permanent marker, draw a ghost face on the deflated balloon.
  2. Pour the 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bottle.
  3. Place the funnel into the open end of the deflated balloon and pour in the baking soda.
  4. Secure the open end of the balloon onto the top of the bottle, being careful not to drop any baking soda into the bottle.
  5. Hold the balloon upright, letting the baking soda fall into the bottle and mix with the vinegar.


What’s the Science?

When vinegar and baking soda mix, they create carbon dioxide, which causes the balloon to inflate.


Extend the Learning

Experiment with different amounts of vinegar and baking soda to see the effects. If you add more of the ingredients, take the experiment outside and wear safety goggles as the balloon could explode.


  1. Halloween Shooters

This part-craft, part-experiment activity is super easy to make and even more fun to play with!









  1. Cut a piece of paper – about 2 inches by 1 3/4 inches.
  2. Wrap the paper around a straw, leaving about 1/2 inch of paper above the straw. Wrap the paper snuggly, but not so tight that it won’t be able to launch off of the straw.
  3. Compress the paper at the end. Then fold it back onto the straw and tape it down.
  4. Using another piece of paper, draw a small Halloween character.
  5. Cut the character out and tape it onto the paper around the straw.
  6. Blow into the end of the straw and watch your character fly!


What’s the Science?

Halloween shooters introduce the concept of aerodynamics. Air blown into the narrow straw travels to the end where the force of the air takes the shooter with it.


Extend the Learning:

Introduce the concept of trajectory, or the angle at which your shooter is aimed. Does the trajectory change how far the shooter flies? You can also experiment with different size and shape characters.


  1. Fire Snake

What is more exciting than watching a pile of sugar and baking soda transform into a large, black snake right before your eyes?


Dry sand

Baking soda


Small ceramic plate or bowl

Measuring spoons

Lighter fluid

Long lighter or matches

Bucket of water or hose


  1. Fill a plate or bowl with sand.
  2. Have an adult soak the sand in lighter fluid.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 4 tablespoons sugar.
    4. Pile the mixture on top of the sand.
  4. Use long matches or a lighter to ignite the lighter fluid.
  5. Stand back and be patient. The reaction may take some time to start.
  6. Once the flames have gone out, wait 10 minutes. After an adult checks the temperature, allow your child to feel the snake’s texture.
  7. Douse the snake and sand in water before throwing away.

What’s the Science?

As the sugar and baking soda mixture burns, it creates gas bubbles. The bubbles become trapped, resulting in the black “snake” structure that rises out of the flames.

Extend the Learning

You can change this experiment by altering the ratio of the ingredients, or by substituting powdered sugar. You might also experiment with changing the shape of the pile.


Alison Bogle is an Austin-based freelance writer, mom of three and can be seen on FOX Good Day Austin every Thursday morning sharing AFM editorial content with viewers.

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