NIU Chemistry Club hosts night of Halloween-themed demonstrations


Senior chemistry major Harrison Kuras demonstrates how gun cotton reacts differently than regular cotton when placed to an open flame.

By Lauren Dielman

The NIU Chemistry Club teamed up with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to present a night of explosive demonstrations.

The club presented “A Halloween Demo Night” last night in Faraday Hall room 143. The demonstration consisted of 13 Halloween-related demonstrations, each of which showed off different chemical properties. The Chem Club tries to put on a similar demonstration each semester, said Kate Powers, Chem Club member and junior chemistry major.

An audience favorite was the “Oozing Pumpkin Brain,” in which hydrogen peroxide was added to the inside of a pumpkin and the pumpkin’s “brains” flowed quickly from the face of the pumpkin to the ground below.

Another demonstration that surprised the audience was the “Volatile Grain Silo,” where the mixture of sawdust and fire produced an unexpectedly large flame.

Laura Janota, English major at Loras College, said she loved seeing how excited the young girl next to her was when she was chosen to make “Halloween Silly Putty.”

“My favorite part was the kids’ reactions,” Janota said.

Powers said she enjoys being in Chem Club.

“We’ve been planning for one month,” Powers said. “My group practiced three to four times. We try to do stuff with the community, and the kids get really excited about it.”

Even though the demonstrations were intended for fun, the chemistry behind them wasn’t forgotten.

“[This presentation] makes you think about the hidden properties in the world,” said Matt Dreisilker, senior electrical engineering and technology major.