Bucknell Chemistry Club Set for Halloween Show Oct. 25

October 11, 2022

by Katelyn Collins '23

Professor David Rovnyak (right) and Chemistry Club students perform “fire-breathing pumpkins” during the 2018 show. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

The Bucknell University Chemistry Club will offer the local community a Halloween treat again this year with the in-person return of its annual Halloween Show on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. at McDonnell amphitheater.

In addition to the show, there will also be activity tables for children and families starting at 5:30 p.m. on Swartz Hall patio, near the amphitheater. The event will give participants a chance to get their hands dirty and learn more about the chemistry behind the tricks they'll see on stage.

The event is an annual tradition for the Lewisburg area, but has not been held in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's been a tough few years for everyone, and it is very meaningful to all of us to work on this again to bring back some smiles and fun," says Professor David Rovnyak, chemistry

Chemistry faculty and students hosted virtual shows the past two years, but Rovnyak says doing the demonstrations for a live audience and seeing onlookers react to the booms and flames is a very different experience. 

The show will bring back past crowd-pleasers such as "puking pumpkins" and "fire-breathing pumpkins," while also debuting new chemistry tricks, including a segment called "devil's toothpaste." The show will be interactive with opportunities for members of the audience to get up close and involved with fun props and Halloween science. 

As always, the show is being organized by the Chemistry Club student leaders and some chemistry faculty members. Club members said they are happy to be performing before a live audience again. 

"I am super excited to see the show come back in full swing because it was one of my favorite events of the year," says April Hurlock '23, a chemistry major and president of the Chemistry Club. "Not only does it bring together the department, but we get to share our love of science with the community. Hearing the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' and cheers from the kids during our demos makes all of the hard work and planning that went into the event worth it."

Hurlock participated in the last in-person show as a first-year student, and is back to help lead this year’s show as a senior.

Professor Sarah Smith, chemistry, who is the faculty adviser of the Chemistry Club, adds that the show provides "an opportunity for students to interact directly with kids and families in the community, sharing their love for chemistry and explaining some of its fascinating possibilities."