The interactive program “Things That Go BOOM! in the Night” has been held at King’s College for 21 years.
Image by Evan Collins

The staff and students of the King’s College Department of Chemistry and Physics participated in the explosively and interactive “Things That Go BOOM! in the Night” event.

The Halloween-themed show, now in its 21st year, is held every year at the end of October. Elementary-age students and their parents packed the auditorium as students and faculty presented experiments filled with laughs, chemical reactions, and most importantly, explosions.

Fifteen experiments were performed over the course of the hour and thirty-minute show, starting with an introduction by Dr. Gerardo Giordano dressed in full pirate garb.

The young crowd was involved all night, from assisting on stage to responding to jokes from the presenters with cheerful remarks.

During an oscillating reaction experiment, as a solution in a beaker repeatedly changed colors from blue to yellow, the audience swayed their arms when the liquid turned yellow, and clapped and stomped when it became blue.

Dr. Trent Snider, dressed as a plague doctor, hosted many of these experiments, inviting children to the stage to assist in mixing chemicals and igniting balloons.

“The best part of doing this show is interacting with the kids” said Snider.

“We see this event in the department as a community outreach, to bring children and their parents in to have fun and see science in action,” he continued.

To conclude the show, Snider announced that the final experiment would be an exploding pumpkin outside of the auditorium.

Outside of the McGowan School of Business, the crowd looked on, making sure not to blink, as the open-top pumpkin was lit. A chemical powder lined the inside of the carved pumpkin, and combusted into a vertical column of flames seconds after being lit.

Local area student Ben Field was one of the many young science fans in attendance, and was mesmerized by the experiments that went on through the night.

“My favorite was the exploding pumpkin!” exclaimed Ben.

When asked if he had a good time, he yelled “yes” enthusiastically while jumping up and down.

The show was organized this year by Dr. Julie Belanger, who dressed as Pikachu from “Pokémon.”

“This event would not be possible without the help of our staff and students. Every year we ask students if they’d be interested in doing the show, and every year many come out and do it,” Belanger said.

Senior biology major Joe Cirilo was one of the presenters during the show, face painted grey and costumed as a vampire. Cirilo demonstrated how to make a pumpkin bleed, and how to make the blood disappear using sodium thiocyanate, iron chloride, and sodium chloride.

“I saw the experiment on Facebook, and thought it would be really fun to do it for the the show this year. I really enjoy doing this show, it’s an excellent opportunity to show the sciences” said Cirilo.

This event was just one of many activities put on by clubs and organizations at King’s College for the Halloween season. Others include a number of film screenings, and the Trunk-or-Treat activity on Halloween night.