Experiment Cards

Just posted new sets of experiment cards, with one experiment on each page.  Now, if you're only passing out one kind of Halloween candy, you only need to print one set of cards to go with it.

USA Science Festival by the numbers

At the Candy Experiments booth:
*pounds of baking soda used for the Sour Bubble (Acid) Test: 5
*bags of marshmallows emptied: 15
*gallons water used: 21 1/2
*number of grams of sugar in a bottle of orange soda: 71
*number of rolls of Smarties to equal 71 grams of sugar: 10
*number of us interviewed for Brazilian TV: 2
*number of volunteers swamped on Sunday, when we had to set up an extra mini-booth in the street: 7
*baby wipes passed out for cleaning hands: 1000
*number of children who visited the booth: uncountable!

Midway Through the USA Science and Engineering Fair

*Plenty of Warheads for the Sour Bubble Test
*Plenty of baby wipes (for scrubbing hands)
*Plenty of visitors!

We had an especially successful day thanks to our volunteers who manned our booth, and the visitors who stopped by to learn about candy experiments.  We appreciate them all, and hope they had fun!

If you're in the DC area and you didn't make it today, there's still Sunday.  Join us for the Sour Bubble Test, M&M Rainbow, and Find Hidden Candy, as well as testing paper airplanes in the NASA wind tunnel, superconductors, robot soccer, and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Festival Preparation

Thanks to Terri at A+ Promotions for helping us get our t-shirts printed for the festival.  They look great, and that's one more festival preparation item to cross off the list.

Other things on our list:
--buy 24 bags of marshmallows, 5 lb baking soda, and 5 lb cornstarch
--order 50 gallons of water
--cut out 4000 chromatography papers
--arrange delivery of 100 pounds of WarHeads
--separate the brown M&Ms out of a 5 lb bag
--find 4 5-gallon buckets in D.C. (since we don't want to carry them in suitcases!)

Don't you want to come see what we're doing with it all?  Join us this weekend in D.C.  Booth hours will be 10 am to 5:30 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Candy Tax

Washington State recently expanded their sales tax to bottled water, soft drinks, and candy.  Now the American Beverage Association has spent over $14 million on ads in an attempt to pass Initiative 1107, repealing the tax.  But should we?

The ads point out the disparity between similar items that are taxed or untaxed.  It's true that the disparities get ridiculous when Snickers bars are taxed while Twix bars are exempt.  (The reason?  Foods containing flour are not defined as candy.*)  But look at some of items whose status the ads question:

--"Yogurt" covered raisins:  According to the USDA, yogurt confectioner's coating is 62% sugar.
--Fruit Snacks: most fruit snacks are made of corn syrup, sugar, water, and gelatin--the same recipe as gummy worms.
--Honey Roasted Peanuts: According the Planter's website, 28 g of peanuts contain 2 g of added sugar.  They're covered in sugar, honey, and corn syrup--i.e. candy.

The problem isn't that Washington State is mistaking these items for candy.  It's that the rest of us have forgotten what's candy and what isn't.  And that, in consequence, we might eat a lot more of it than we think we do.

*The official definition of candy, as printed in the Seattle Times: "Any preparation of sugar, honey or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients or flavorings in the forms of bars, drops, or pieces. The term candy does not include any preparation containing flour as an ingredient."

Halloween Bouquets and Other Candy Tips

You know how to turn Halloween candy into science experiments.  But did you know you can also use it in family games, donate it to local food banks, or glue it to paper flowers for beautiful Halloween bouquets? 

When our family made our own bouquet, we learned a few things:
--Use glue gun, not Elmers, if possible.  Elmer's glue takes hours to set and dissolves some of the candy. 
--Use hard candy.  Soft candy can slide right off your flower.
--To make a cone-shaped flower, cut a slit in paper circle, and pull one end under the other until the flower is the shape you want.  Fasten with tape.
Need more ideas?  Check out "How to Handle Halloween Candy" in the October issue of ParentMap.

Green Halloween's National Costume Swap Day

Recently I met the founder of Green Halloween and discussed our common goals.  The Green Halloween website has ideas for celebrating Halloween with less money, less waste, and even less candy.  One of their great money-saving ideas is National Costume Swap Day this Saturday, in which families can meet up and exchange costumes for free.

If you need ideas for saving money on Halloween or passing out something other than candy, check out Green Halloween.