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How to use dry ice to make the ultimate spooky Halloween punch

If you've always wondered how to swing that witches' brew vapor effect, we've got all the tricks

You don't need eye of newt or wing of bat to brew a batch of toil and trouble this Halloween. All you need is some dry ice. This magic ingredient turns an ordinary punch bowl into a bubbling, smoldering cauldron that's perfect for parties.

More: Make this blood-red Halloween punch and pretend you're a vampire

Dry ice is basically frozen carbon dioxide. Adding water changes it from a solid into a gas, creating a dense fog. It's a cheap and no-fuss special effect. Most grocery stores sell blocks of dry ice, although some carry pellets instead. Either will work.

As long as you're careful, you won't run into any problems using dry ice. But it's about -110 degrees F, so dry ice can cause injuries if you touch or ingest it. Be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area and keep it out of reach of pets and small children.

More: Brew a dark and mysterious punch for your Halloween party

This method is safe and easy — it keeps the dry ice separate from the punch while still creating a dramatic boiling and smoking effect. You'll have the spookiest party on the block.

If you've always wondered how to swing that witches' brew vapor effect, we've got all the tricks
Image: Rowan Butler/Getty Images/design by Liz Smith/SheKnows

Dry ice punch bowl recipe

Total time: 10 minutes

Supplies:

  • Work gloves
  • Plastic or metal tongs
  • Dish towel
  • Hammer
  • 5 pounds dry ice
  • 1 large plastic or metal punch bowl (or cauldron)
  • 1 smaller plastic or metal punch bowl

Directions:

  1. Put on the gloves.
  2. In a well-ventilated area, wrap the dry ice in a towel and break it into chunks using a hammer.
  3. Use tongs to transfer chunks of dry ice into the larger of your 2 bowls, creating a flat space in the center.
  4. Place the second, smaller bowl inside the larger one.
  5. Pour your punch into the small center bowl, making sure no dry ice gets in.
  6. Fill a pitcher with warm water, then pour it on top of the dry ice.
  7. Add more dry ice chunks and water to the larger, outer bowl, being careful not to get any dry ice into the smaller punch bowl, throughout the night to keep the fog going.

More: Steal your imaginary BFF Elizabeth Chambers' brilliant Halloween party tricks

Some tips:

  • Wear thick work gloves when opening the package of dry ice. (Kitchen gloves are too thin.)
  • Place the block of dry ice on a towel. Use a wooden or plastic work surface, as dry ice can crack tiles.
  • Wrap a towel around the block, then break it into chunks using a hammer.
  • Be sure both of the bowls you use are plastic or metal since dry ice can crack glass. Put any unused dry ice in an open plastic container and store it in a cooler filled with ice. Never store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Five pounds of dry ice will last about an hour. Keeping a nearby fan on low will intensify the effect.
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