The Science Scoop: 8 ways you probably shouldn’t use dry ice

To celebrate fall, I thought it would be fun to make a video demonstrating the different ways to use dry ice for spooky party planning and celebrating the season. After finding several promising online demonstrations, a videographer and I set out to follow the suggestions we found on the internet.

Here’s what we tried to do.

1. First off, we heard you could flash-freeze food super quickly using dry ice. We assumed this would work because, as you probably know, dry ice is really cold, but it didn’t really work — at least, it wasn’t much quicker than putting fruit in a freezer.

2. According to the internet, you can make your own soda by adding dry ice to your favorite drink, which makes sense because dry ice is actually solid carbon dioxide. Surprisingly, this one worked.

The dry ice didn’t make our drink very carbonated, but we put a lid on the glass and let it sit. After removing the lid to pour it out, we heard a distinctive puff of air rush in. It was pretty cool, but if you want a soda, you should probably just go buy some from the store. Your guests might think you’re really weird for making mediocre homemade soda with dry ice.

3. We also heard that quarters shake when you put them on a block of dry ice. Go figure. We thought that this might make a good party trick or decoration to spook your friends.

However, while the quarters do shake, they don’t shake for long. Dramatically changing the temperature of the quarter is what causes the shaking, so after a short while, it stops. They do look spooky, though, might be worth the effort.

4. Did you know that you can use dry ice to self-inflate balloons? The downside is you might actually blow them up. Don’t fill your balloons with too much dry ice, or they’ll actually start popping unexpectedly, and you’ll probably scream really loud. I did.

5. Another party trick we learned is if you blow bubbles above dry ice, they will levitate and freeze. Well, they didn’t really seem to levitate, but they did freeze. It was pretty cool. Maybe you could invite your friends over to stand around a bowl of dry ice and blow bubbles. You might see something magical.

6. Do you like pranking your friends? If you do, here’s a way to get a good laugh: Crush some dry ice, sprinkle it around a candle and try to get your friends to light it with a match. They won’t be able to. What a joke!

Well, the joke here is actually that no one uses matches anymore, so the prankster gets pranked. Your friends also might find it odd to see crushed white powder circling your candles.

7. If you’re just about having fun, you can make an alien-like orb using dry ice, dish soap, paper towels and water. Just put some dry ice in water, and mix dish soap and water together in a separate container. Then, use a paper towel to stretch a bubble over the dry ice and water container. Tada! How mystical.

Also, if you are feeling really crazy and want to make a mess, drop a piece of dry ice into that soapy water solution.

8. Here is a great decoration tip: If you want to make your leftover jack-o’-lantern look like it vapes, put a cup of water and dry ice inside a pumpkin. It’s quite a hip thing to do these days.

Basically, we totally failed at making a guide to using dry ice, but it was still really fun. Just take a look at the mess we made. In the end, we decided that something cool might happen if we put everything together at once, but it was messy and sad.

We hope you have better luck. Happy fall!