[Image above] Credit: The Royal Institution, YouTube
Today many countries are celebrating Halloween, or Day of the Dead as it is known in Latin American countries. The ritual of dressing up in costume and going trick-or-treating from house to house to get treats from the neighbors has always been a popular ritual with children each year.
Did you know that Halloween originated in Ireland? Irish immigrants also created the tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns, initially using turnips or potatoes. When they came to America, they began using the pumpkin, which is a lot bigger canvas on which to carve a face.
And after the face is carved, we insert a candle or other type of illumination inside to show off the jack-o’-lantern.
Speaking of pumpkins, many people like to get a little more creative with them. Today we bring you two videos from The Royal Institution featuring Dan Plane, who shows you how to make a battery out of pennies and a lime to illuminate your jack-o’-lantern in the first video.
In the second, more fun video, he then demonstrates how to use calcium carbide to explode pumpkins. He even delivers a science lesson on how calcium carbide combines with hydrogen to produce a hydrocarbon, acetylene.
Whatever you do for Halloween or Day of the Dead, do it safely—and if you plan to explode some pumpkins, wear those safety goggles!