Count Popula

It's Halloween - meaning it's time for bubbling brews and spooky science. We had a ton of fun putting chemistry to work to create our own bubbling brew that blew up a balloon. Putting a special Halloween touch made it that much more entertaining. Can you blow up your own balloon Dracula without touching it?

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    Acids (like citric acid) and bases (like baking soda) do something special when they’re combined in water. In water, their molecules (the smallest piece of a substance) are free to float around and react with each other. This chemical reaction creates something completely new: carbon dioxide gas! That’s what will bubble up and create all the foamy fizz in your bottle. And once you stretch the balloon over the bottle’s mouth, you create an airtight seal. Then the gas flows up into the balloon, causing the balloon to inflate! If you want to learn more about launchers, watch our video: How do Launchers Work?

  • Step 1

    Let's start by making Dracula. Using black, white, and red felt, make an outfit for your Dracula. We cut out a cape out of black felt and glued it to the back of the bottle. An oval of white felt became a shirt. Then, a small red bowtie glued onto the shirt was the perfect accessory.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Draw Dracula's face onto your balloon with a black permanent pen.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Using a funnel-rolled piece of paper, add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to the bottle. Next, use the funnel or rolled piece of paper to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the balloon.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Done!

    Stretch the balloon over the mouth of the bottle and let the baking soda fall into the water mixture in the bottle. Watch your Count Pop-ula expand! What's happening? Baking soda plus the citric acid mixture creates a gas, carbon dioxide, which fills the balloon.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

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