How to Use Dry Ice on Halloween, Includes How to Preserve it and Use it in Costume, Food and Drink
This is the biggest time of the year for dry ice sales!
I am all about throwing a killer Halloween party. There is something about this night that inspires a lot of fun for me. Last year I had a memorable time with a party in the backyard. My friend brought over a fire pit so we could roast marshmallows, another friend brought a fog machine, and everyone pitched in for drinks.
Aside from the amazing costumes, one of the most memorable parts of the evening was dry ice. We used it to create a freaky atmosphere, and everyone threw it in their drinks. In this article, I'll tell you everything you need to know about using dry ice this Halloween.
Dry ice is usually harmless, but incorrect use of it can cause painful burns, sickness, and it can even be fatal if it interferes with your oxygen supply! Please read this article's safety instructions, and ask for a safety pamphlet from the company you purchase your dry ice from.
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Why Dry Ice?
Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide. It is easily manufactured into little cubes or pellets. For people using it on a small scale, it is usually sold in pellets. You'll most likely find it being used to preserve food when there isn't any electricity or mechanical cooling available.
When dry ice is combined with hot water, is produces bubbling and fog. That is why it's so great for Halloween! You can create the effect of a witch's brew, a poison potion, or a foggy area.
Using Dry Ice in Water
1. Put it in a fountain. It is safe to put dry ice anywhere you have water. This can be a bird bath, a hot tub, a pool, or a garden fountain. Just don't put it anywhere with fish! The dry ice rapidly cools the water and could freeze your pets.
2. Put it in your drink. Drop a pellet or two of dry ice into your water, soda, or cocktail and it will drop to the bottom and fog for about 5-10 minutes. For best results, don't use water-ice. Don't suck on or swallow the dry ice. When it cools to the right temperature, it will gather water-ice around it and float to the top. Don't suck on or swallow this either, as it still has dry ice in the center! Just spoon it out, and start again! Also, be careful with beer, because the dry ice will make the drink very fizzy and creamy.
3. Make fog. Spread the dry ice on the ground, or set out containers or water and plop the dry ice in them for an awesome fog effect.
Dry Ice Safety
Handling. Dry ice is extremely cold and should never touch your skin directly. Wear leather gardening gloves or an oven mit when handling it. If it touches your skin for a second, it won't hurt you, but more than a second and it can cause frostbite.
Ventilation. Dry ice can be fatal if breathed in at quantities that are too high. Always use it in a ventilated area. When using it in your drink, try not to breathe it in. Small amounts are ok, but in large quantities, dry ice can cause you to get very sick. If your fingers or lips turn blue, or if you find yourself breathing heavily, leave the area with the dry ice immediately.
Burns. Aside from being painful, a small dry ice burn is usually nothing to worry about. Treat it like you would a regular burn, but it if blisters or peels, you may want to see a doctor.
Dry Ice Storage
Dry ice evaporates quickly, so pick it up close to the time you want to use it, and keep it insulated. They will usually give it to you in a styrofoam cooler. Don't store it in a freezer or airtight container, because the slow sublimation could cause your container or freezer to burst. Cover the styrofoam cooler with newspapers and blankets, and the dry ice should be pretty stable. It is best to store it outside to ensure good ventilation.
Where to Buy Dry Ice
You can find dry ice at biomedical suppliers, food suppliers, food processors, and many other types of manufacturers. Most of these places are willing to sell small amoun of dry ice to average civilians. Sometimes, even grocery stores carry it, though you should call ahead if you're making a trip out of it. Just type "buy dry ice" into google and you'll find several lists and directories of suppliers near you.
Another place to look is your local high school- they often get it in for chemistry classes, and usually have too much of.
Dry ice is a cheap, simple, and fun way to decorate for Halloween!