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Use chemistry to create creepy looks for halloween

This article appeared in the October 25, 2013 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise

For a little chemistry fun, try making an all natural face paint for your Halloween festivities this year with simple materials your probably have in your kitchen right now.  You will need: 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, 5 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon flour, 3-5 drops glycerin.  You can find liquid glycerin at most drug stores.

Glycerin absorbs moisture from the air, so it helps keep your face paint moist so it doesn’t dry out.  The cornstarch will help hold all the ingredients together.  Plus, if you don’t want to look shiny, you can dust on some extra cornstarch like powder.

This recipe will make a basic white face paint.  Then you can add fruit juice, powdered spices or food coloring to make any color you want.  Just be careful to avoid pigments that can dye your skin.

Start by mixing the cornstarch and flour together, then use a fork to blend in the shortening.  You should have a lumpy paste.  Slowly add a couple of drops of glycerin and mix until you have a creamy, blended face paint that will be easy to spread on your skin.

If you want to make different colors, separate your paint into different bowls and make as many colors as you like.  Use a brush or sponge or your fingers to paint your face, but be careful not to get the paint in your eyes.  When you’re ready to take off your face paint, wipe it off with a paper towel and then wash your face with soap and water.

If you want to add some special effects like blood for a scarier look, try this recipe as an addition to your face paint.  You’ll need: ½ cup white corn syrup, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, a small amount of water, a few drops of food coloring.  Combine the corn syrup and cornstarch, then slowly add a little water until it’s the consistency you want.  

Then experiment with food coloring.  Green with a little blue can make an awesome slime.  Or red with a drop of blue or green can look like dried blood.

Once you’ve perfected the perfect Halloween look with your all natural, home made face paint, come show it off at Explorit’s Spooky Science Nights!  And you don’t even have to wait until Halloween.  Spooky Science Nights will be open Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26 plus Halloween night for some shocking good times.

Your ghastly good looks could even win a prize at our costume contest on Halloween night!  Bring the whole family for a night of gooey, creepy fun.  Spooky Science Nights are appropriate for all ages.  Tickets are available at or by calling Explorit at 530-756-0191.


Explorit Coming Events

- Bring the whole family for Spooky Science Nights at Explorit on October 25 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., October 26, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. or Halloween night, October 31 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Tickets are $7.00 per person and children age 2 and under are free. Call 530-756-0191 or visit to purchase your tickets.


Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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