You’ll be able to turn your front yard into a crazy laboratory, or even your house for your kids to play and experiment to their heart's content.
Turning Into a Mad Scientist
It’s always fun to try and pick a halloween costume and theme, and every year people choose Frankenstein, or Dracula, but the mad scientist is under represented, and yet they are one of the most influential people in horror, concocting all the deadly potions, and bringing creatures to life. Not to mention they mostly always have a hysterical laugh, so you’ll have to perfect that yourself, there isn’t any tips I can give you on that. Trick or treaters will love your spooky science laboratory, and with some easy home chemicals, and things you can buy all from your local supermarket and online, you can have the craziest spooky laboratory that will be the talk of the neighbourhood long after Halloween has finished.
Mad Scientist Outfit Accessories
Lab Coat: You want to buy a knee length white lab coat. Preferably one that has been used and has creases in it. If it’s dirty, that's even better, and to add that extra touch, you can buy fake blood, and add spots of it to the coat.
Hairstyle: You should use lots of gel or hairspray, and also color your hair if you can. The wackier the better really. If it’s possible, hire a Van de Graaff generator to make your hair stand on end, and then add the hairspray.
Gloves: Gloves are what makes the ingredients to your mad laboratory look dangerous. All those acid dissolving liquids that your handling (hehe). The visitors to your laboratory will think twice about touching anything if they can see your wearing a pair of gloves, and this illusion of danger will help them earn their treats better.
Eyewear: Goggles are a great way to give your costume that stand out edge, and you can even buy a pair that has the eyeballs on springs to make you look officially cuckoo!
If the worst comes to the worst, you can just pick up a plain old pair of safety goggles from your local DIY store.
Creating the Scene of Your Laboratory
Just like batman's batcave, a mad scientist’s laboratory is usually hidden away in a cave, locked in the top of a castle, unreachable by a deadly moat, or in an inconspicuous house basement. These are the type of lairs that a mad scientist will frequent, so you have to turn on the ghoul factor to charm your way into the hearts of the kids in your neighbourhood.
If you think, well my average suburban yard can’t fit a moat, then don’t worry, I'll explain some great ideas to help you write the book on some of the maddest scientist laboratories.
The Depths of your Laboratory
In the movie Frankenstein, the mad scientist Dr Frankenstein has lots of accessories in his lab, including flasks and beakers. Now if you pop by your local chemical or hardware store, you’ll be in for a price shock. Buying a load of these will cost you an arm and a leg, and those are not things you can grow back, no matter how good a mad scientist you are.
You can however keep your budget low, by purchasing a couple of second hand chemistry sets, or using old vases that you have. You can even pick up strange and unique vases as second hand shops, thrift stores, or even garage & yard sales. You will probably have some of the essentials already in your home, such as thermometers, and measuring jugs, as well as timers, and large bowls for mixing. Anything that looks like it could be used for your maniacal escapades in the front yard with lots of science goodies.
You can also search out toy stores, and plumbing sections of the hardware stores. They may have extras such as petri dishes, and droppers, as well as long rubber tubes that you can stick into your liquids. You can specifically look for coiled ones to place between your beakers and jars, to give your laboratory setup that extra authenticity.
You also want to pick up from your local Walmart or superstore food coloring. This is widely available, and is all you need to add to water to give your liquids the look of something sinister that will have their fingers melting. You can use the test tubes from chemistry sets, and then arrange them in a little stand, all with different colors to give your setup great authority over the other mad scientists that might be operating in your area. If you want to go one step ahead, and create some fluorescent liquids, then follow this easy step by step video to create them, and give your laboratory the ultimate spooktacular look.
A Laboratory Swamp
If you want to create an oozy muddy mushy and mucky swamp idea, then you’ll need a kiddie swimming pool. Partially blow it up, so the rims are not high, and people will not be afraid to step into it, and then cover it in tarp, or black bags. Any type of plastic, including car protectors will do, as long as it’s dark. Make sure you pour a little water into the pool, and also place a few sponges inside, so they sometimes feel something really squishy like a dead animal in it, or something slimy. They won’t ruin their costumes either, they might get their feet a little wet, but that's it. Also pepper your swamp with fake rubber spiders, and any ghastly soft toy creatures that you can find.
Make sure you also place a little signup that says, “Do not enter the swamp” This will surely have everyone who visits your mad scientist lair, clambering to walk and jump in it.
A Laboratory Cave
You might think a cave will be a bit tricky to pull off, but you can use some props to create the perfect cave. If you have youngsters, you can dress up the entrance to a slide, and have the Halloween children climb up and through the cave entrance, and then slide down into the laboratory. They won’t forget your home in a hurry, and probably want a few goes. You can also have dark fabrics or curtains over any trees that are in front of your property. Kids have great imaginations, so making sure you have some swinging bats on a string, will give them an eyeful, and send shivers down their spines.
You can also buy a Halloween tent, and open up both sides so they can crawl through, and have to lift up the spookish faces to get out the other side. You can leave some sweets in the tent to ensure they don’t rush through the tent too fast, and enjoy their experience.
More Authentic Laboratory Accessories
Fog Machine: You can purchase or hire a fog machine to give you a real creepy environment, and although the kids might not be able to see your laboratory light away, they will want to investigate your front yard and find whatever is in it.
Sound Effects: You can find lots of playlists on YouTube with spooky Halloween sounds, which you can play. Best use some sort of Bluetooth or wireless speaker system, or record them onto a CD for your CD player, as your neighbourhood will be loud with kids and adults chatting, laughing, and sometimes screaming, so you want to do all you can to attract and keep their attention.
Extra creepy decorations: you can buy stringy spider spray to create spider webs, and spider trails all over your yard, and property, and cut black bin liners to hang, giving the indication of dangerous cave stalagmite teeth.
Creations in Your Mad Lab
Everything in your mad lab must evoke the senses of your guests, this includes tickling their taste buds, and making them squeal and oooh at all the lovely wonderful concoctions you have to offer.
To create an explosive fizzy brew, you can take a 2 litre bottle of Coca Cola, or any soda, and add a packet of mentos to it. Be careful though, there will be an instant huge eruption towards the sky, probably as high as your house, but the kids in your yard will be left amazed, and this is relatively inexpensive to do multiple times.
If you are a science teacher of local school assistant, then you might want to enlist the help of a gas Bunsen burner, where you can start up a little fire and add different chemicals to it, such as table salt to create a yellow flame, and then lite sale, known as potassium chloride to make a purple flame. If you want to create a white flame, ad Epsom salt. All of these you can buy online.
You can create little gift boxes that look like they are exploding. All you need is some decorative cardboard, and some time, and a few sweets, and you can create something like this video.
For an explosive acid bubble effect, you need a little hydrogen peroxide. Then you use a catalyst called potassium iodine, and just pour the potassium into the hydrogen peroxide, and expect a messy table, as what looks like acid bubbles over your beaker, with smoke rising from it too. It’s a great effect and completely harmless to touch.
You can also create an oozing pumpkin with a carved pumpkin head, and a hole through the bottom. Make sure the hole is large enough to fit over the jar or beaker you are using. Get another beaker of hydrogen peroxide. It’s a good idea to test these before Halloween, so you know how much you can expect on the night. Add in a little liquid detergent, and then pour the potassium iodine into the beaker and then quickly place the pumpkin head over it. Within seconds, you should get a lovely oozing mess coming out, and covering your table. All non toxic, and easily washable.
You can also easily create slime, and demonstrate the process at work by taking a cup of cornstarch, and a half a cup of warm water. Then add food coloring for the aesthetic and bright colored look. Just mix them until you get the desired consistency. For more help on creating slime, checkout this easy to follow video.
Hope your Halloween celebrations go according to plan, and good luck in making your mad scientist laboratory shenanigans go according to your insane plan. Muhahaha.