Monday, October 26, 2015

Mad Science Lab

We attended the Second Annual Camp-or-Treat event at Watkins Mill State Park this past weekend. 

The Camp-or-Treat is a weekend of Halloween fun at a local state park in our area. Festivities include a Costume Contest for many divisions: canine, children and adults. There is also a Spookiest Campsite Contest.  Last year we used costumes we had made for our trip to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party where we were crayons. We attempted to add a bit of scare to those costumes and made an Evil Crayon Factory. We were not scary, but we were creative. This year we had to find a way to bring some scare but not too much scare because this is a family event and there were lots of little kids. 

I have wanted to create a Mad Scientist Lab for a while now and this event provided us with the perfect opportunity to do so. The frame of our science lab came from two easy up tents. We used shower curtain liners purchased at a local dollar store as the walls. We found that if you taped them they held together better than any other method. So we used packing tape to tape the walls together.  

Photos we found on Google Images were printed on aged looking paper were hung up as well as a replica of the Elements Chart. We added spider webs here and there as well as some black creepy fabric. We also had access to a few black lights left over from our Glow Party. They really helped add a creepy feel to everything. 

A lot of the work for this science lab started weeks before the Camp-Or-Treat. We started saving glass and plastic jars to re-purpose.  Each jar held some creepy prop for the lab.You will see many of these things in our photos if you look hard enough! Here are five ideas for props: 

1. We purchased a bunch of animals that grow in water. We grew out critters in various jars. 

2. We also soaked raw eggs in vinegar for a few days. The vinegar dissolved the calcium shell leaving a rubberized membrane sack that held the raw egg. It was creepy to look at but even creepier to hold. Word of warning: the membrane can still break so be careful or you could end up with egg all over you! 

3.  Highlighters can be broken open and you can remove the foam saturated with highlight ink and place it in a jar of water. The water will turn neon from the highlighter ink.

4. Fake blood can be made by simply mixing water, powdered sugar, red food coloring, and a little bit of cocoa. Not only does it look like real blood, but it sure freaks people out when you take a swig of it!

5. Unicorn horn dust can be made by mixing glitter with sanding sugar.

I used every vintage looking box I could find just as props. My Momma had long ago provided me with old cheese molds. My friend Angie gave me a divided box she rescued from her uncles barn. We even used a devise from the turkey fryer because it looked evil. I would suggest if you are going to make a mad science lab, start by looking around your home for things you own that might look differently if used in a different way.

As guest visited our lab they were greeted by our skeleton, Bob, and his dog, Bones. We has four tables set up and each table has something creepy going on. At the first table we had the shell-less eggs along with a pan of baking soda. Guest could add a drop of a strange liquid (white vinegar) to the baking soda for a fizzling effect!

At the second table we held science experiments. We made "lava lamps" we added dish soap to a pan of milk and food coloring, and finally we made expanding elephant toothpaste by adding a yeast mixture to peroxide and dish soap.

The third table held our sensory boxes.  Guest were given the opportunity to stick their hands into a sensory box to experience a creepy touch. Some ideas we came up with:

1. Spider Eggs - We used Foam Modeling Beads. These were a big hit!
2. Maggots - Cooked Rice mixed with Olive Oil
3. Witches Skin - A simple tortilla
4. Ears - Apple Slices
5. Worms - Cooked Spaghetti
6. Ogre Snot - Green Slime
7. Witches Teeth - dried corn
8. Princess Heart - blanches and skinned tomato
9. Spider Legs - pipe cleaners

If I were to do anything differently, it would be the sensory boxes. The kids were able to see too easily into them. Seeing a box of dried corn interfered with the visual that they were teeth. 

Our fourth and final table was set up an an operating table. We had a skeleton hooked up to a machine we built out of cardboard boxes and various items we re-purposed from The Husband's tool bench. Sadly, this operation was not successful and our skeleton looks limp and life like. 

It was a fun night. Adults walked through, kids came back multiple times. Many people asked if we were science teachers! The Judges loved us. They awarded us FIRST PLACE in the campsite contest. Unfortunately, we miss read the agenda so we missed the awards ceremony.  We were very thankful that the judges brought us the award and PRIZE (three free nights of camping) they were sure to tell us we won by a landslide and they had high hopes for us next year!

I hope you enjoyed this post about our Mad Science Lab. We certainty enjoyed making it and hanging out in it for the night.

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