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Spooky Science experiments on pumpkins, slime

The "Spooky Science" attraction is under way now through Oct. 31 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
The "Spooky Science" attraction is under way now through Oct. 31 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The pumpkins won’t make it out alive.

Visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry this month will smash, carve and even blow them up ... all in the name of science, of course. (Just tell that to the pumpkins.)

The activities are among those offered as part of a “Spooky Science” attraction under way now through Oct. 31 at the museum.

In its fourth year, existing exhibits have been modified and new ones added to attract fans of all things Halloween.

“It’s a really fun way for guests who haven’t been to the museum before, but really like Halloween, to come check it out,” said Meredith Black, the manager of specialized experiences at the museum.

“For guests who do come all the time, it gives them a different twist on all the things we have to offer,” she said.

A twist and maybe a terror or two.

Older guests, those ages 12 and up, can venture through a Haunted Coal Mine and the Haunted Zephyr train.

For the younger crowd, the museum offers the chance to make slime, build pyramids in a Mummy Tomb and create sound effects for the original 1910 silent film version of “Frankenstein.”

They’ll become Foley artists, the people who created sounds – “the clip clop of someone walking down a hallway or opening a door,” Black said – during the silent film and radio era.

“I think kids are going to love that one,” she said. “We have a lot of fun stuff for them to play with. It’s all about fun and doing hands-on science.”

Yet, by far, the most popular attractions always seem to be the Pumpkin Smashing and Pumpkin Pyrotechnics exhibits.

The Pumpkin Smashing is fairly self-explanatory. Does a pumpkin bounce? You’ll find out when you drop one off a balcony.

Messy, yes. But it’s a learning experience (and mom doesn’t have to clean up the mess).

“Kids get an opportunity to learn about gravity,” Black said.

As for the pyrotechnics, “Chemistry gets infused with pumpkin explosions. We light pumpkins on fire and turn them different colors. It’s pretty cool,” Black said.

In all, she said, there’s something for everyone.

Ever want to dissect a cow eye or learn in detail how your Halloween candy gets digested from the mouth to your stomach and, yes, beyond? (You’ll get some special eyeball candy during that first attraction, but you might not want to eat it before that next one.)

This is your place to be.

“Those are some of the programs we kind of reinvent for Halloween to make it kind of fun and take advantage of all the great spirit of Halloween going around these days,” Black said.


If you go

What: Spooky Science

When: Now through Oct. 31.

Where: The Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Cost: Most events included with general admission.


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