Eight-year-old Windrem Smith enjoyed learning how to make slime, handle tarantulas and eat liquid nitrogen ice cream almost as much as his costume inspiration, Albert Einstein, enjoyed proving that E=MC squared.
â€œItâ€™s pretty good. I like it,â€ said the miniature scientist about the Chemistry Clubâ€™s annual Halloween Mad Scientist Event. â€œBut cross that out: I love it!â€
Colorado State Universityâ€™s Chemistry Club hosted a science-filled Halloween event last Friday.
â€œItâ€™s a safe, free, and educational trick-or-treat environment for students,â€ said Robin Ward, who organized the event.
Candy and chemistry experiments were in abundance throughout the event, which featured activity booths for the many princesses, ghouls and Transformers milling about the Chemistry Buildingâ€™s main lobby.
The children had their faces painted, colored masks of famous scientists, looked at a variety of insects, observed glowing chemicals, made slime, ate ice cream made with liquid nitrogen and sipped Kool-Aid cooled with dry ice.
â€œKids love things that are messy, the parents â€” not so much,â€ said Emily Tully, who helped children make the two-parts Elmerâ€™s Glue, one-part Borax slime concoction. â€œBut some were interested. Almost everybody came to the slime booth and got some slime.â€
The event also included the Mad Scientist Chemistry Show and the Science Toy Magic Show.
One of the buildingâ€™s lecture halls was transformed into the lair of two witches and a wizard, all clad in safety glasses and bent on taking over the world with a variety of Mad Scientist demonstrations.
â€œNormal people do not light things on fire; only experts light things on fire,â€ said Kristin Olsson as her assistants David Daley and Laurel Wally created bursts of flame by lighting soap bubbles filled with flammable gas.
Later, the tangy smell of charred orange floated through the air as the scientists exploded a Gummi Bear in a test tube, a highlight of the show for Grace Carsrud, 11, although she did admit that â€œeverything else was pretty amazing.â€
Another lecture hall was filled with an eclectic mix of science-based toys from the Science Toy Magic shop in Old Town, whose manager, Matt Hannifin, put on a show to teach children a variety of scientific concepts. He kept up a constant chatter with the audience, joking with its members and asking them questions about how the toys work.
â€œThe right toys teach us science,â€ said the enthusiastic science magician as he explained how gyroscopic stability and magnetic repulsion allowed a small top to levitate above a platform.
This year the Chemistry Club invited the Gillette Entomology Club to the event to add a few creepy crawlies to the mix.
â€œWe have live bugs; the mantids are super cute and not scary, and there are scorpions and tarantulas. Kids always want to touch those,â€ said Stephanie Szostek, the Entomology Clubâ€™s treasurer. The volunteers do not allow anyone to touch the scorpion, she said, but the tarantula is used to being handled.
Ward, a member of the Chemistry Club, said about 160 families attended the Mad Scientist Halloween event.
â€œThe best part was probably having all of the different shows from Science Toy Magic and the Entomology Club,â€ Ward said. â€œIt was great to see the kids interacting with the insects.â€
Collegian writer Kate Winkle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.