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jelloWith a little kitchen chemistry, you can turn Jell-O into a mysterious glow-in-the-dark treat for Halloween. This is a safe and edible science experiment for all to enjoy during your Halloween festivities. Not only is glowing Jell-O tasty, spooky fun, but it is also quick, easy and inexpensive to make.

By following the directions on the Jell-O package, substituting tonic water for plain tap water, and adding a black light, your Jell-O will be glowing in no time. Use a Halloween cookie cutter to create your favorite shapes or characters.

Begin your edible science experiment by boiling one cup of tonic water. Mix the Jell-O packet into the tonic water, and stir until the Jell-O has dissolved. Pour in another cup of
tonic water and stir. Pour the liquid into the cookie cutter, and refrigerate until the liquid is solid.

Why does tonic water make Jell-O glow? It’s because tonic water is a carbonated soft drink in which quinine is dissolved. Quinine is the substance that gives tonic water its bitter taste, and it is also fluorescent. Quinine becomes fluorescent when absorbed light photons release photons of another wavelength. When the absorbed photons are in the ultraviolet range and the triggered emission is in the visible spectrum, quinine will glow under black light.

Regardless of the Jell-O’s flavor or color, it will glow bright blue when a black light is shone on it. To eliminate some of the bitter taste of the quinine, you can alter the recipe by using half tap water and half tonic water.

Happy Halloween!