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Tracy Briggs, Published October 23 2013

Try these fun ideas for using dry ice on Halloween

Every year as we approach Halloween, I feel sorry for my poor husband.

I love the holiday. I geek out all over the place from making Halloween eyeballs to munch on to wearing the weirdest costume. My favorite was the year I dressed up like the leg lamp from the movie “A Christmas Story” and my poor husband was cajoled into dressing like the “Fragile” (read as: Frah-geel-lee) box.

But despite his merely putting up with Halloween, it was my husband, a chemistry professor, who inspired my latest Halloween folly: decorating with dry ice.

Dry ice is basically frozen carbon dioxide. It’s called “dry” ice because it doesn’t melt into water. It sublimates which means it goes right from a solid form to a gas. (See what you learn when you marry a scientist?) It’s been in the news a lot lately after a prankster set off dry-ice bombs at the LA International Airport.

But Halloween is the perfect time to give dry ice a little positive press. The smoky vapor is a nice addition to any Halloween party, it’s fairly inexpensive ($1 a pound or less) and you can buy it right here in Fargo (I got mine at Continental Carbonic near downtown Fargo).

But just remember it’s dangerous to consume and touch with bare hands. Always use safety glasses, tongs or gloves when handling it and keep it away from pets and children. But if used properly, it’s a lot of fun.

Top 5 Things to do with dry ice this Halloween

E Indoor Color Fog

Fill metal or plastic containers half full with hot water and a few pieces of dry ice. Place in strategic places around the room, near lamps with colored light bulbs. (Don’t try to use the fog effect outdoors. You would need a truckload of dry ice and nearly perfect conditions to give you the result you desire. It’s best to use a smoke machine outdoors.)

E Spooky eats

Make this misty buffet table by filling a shallow baking pan with hot water and dry ice. Place behind other decorations on the table and put a desk lamp with a colored bulb near the pan. Smoke will hover over the other foods for an eerie eating experience.

E A Smoking Jack

Carve out the guts of a large pumpkin. Fill an empty can half full of hot water mixed with a cup of salt. Wearing gloves, drop a few pieces of dry ice into the can. The old Jack o’ Lantern will ooze fog.

E Mad Scientist jars

Fill large canning jars with hot water. Use drops of food coloring or even brightly colored Kool-Aid (but remember you cannot drink this mixture). Place icky Halloween party favors in each jar (for example: plastic severed fingers or bugs.) Put a few pieces of dry ice into the jars, for bubbly mad concoctions.

E Witches Brew punch

This is a really fun way to use dry ice this Halloween. Any punch recipe will do, but in this weeks’ video I used Sandra Lee’s punch recipe from the Food Network and made just a couple of changes. It was a huge hit!

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com