Rising ghosts halloween experiment : Fizzics Education


Rising ghosts halloween experiment

Rising ghosts halloween experiment

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need

  • A balloon
  • A pen
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Paper towelling (for variable testing; try coffee filter paper, wrapping paper and regular paper too!)
  • Woollen cloth (fr variable testing; try cotton or satin too!)
  • A desk


Materials needed for the experiment - scissors, pen, paper, sticky tape, balloon and woolen cloth

Draw some simple outlines of ghosts on your paper towelling. Extension idea; try different size ghosts for your experiment too!


Cut out your paper ghosts and then tape them to your desk.

3 Rubbing an orange balloon on a shirt

Rub your balloon on your shirt or alternatively on some woollen cloth.

4 Paper ghosts rising towards a balloon

Bring your charged balloon towards your taped paper ghosts. Can you get them to rise? Extension idea; why not try to get them to fly up to the balloon by not taping them to the desk?

5 A television screen showing a distance educator running science experiment with a bell jar, vacuum pump and a cup of water. There is an inset of a remote class on the screen and a video conference camera on top of the television.
Live remote classes with experienced distance educators

Discover >30 virtual workshops designed to engage students isolated at home.

  • Direct curriculum links
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  • Based on 10 years of distance education experience & global best practice

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Why does this work?

Rubbing an object can cause it to build up an electrical charge. This happens because the rubbing action can make one object pass electrons to another. Which way the electrons travel is dependent upon what materials you are rubbing together.

A loss of electrons makes an object positively charged and a gain of electrons makes an object negatively charged.

Opposite charges attract, like charges repel.

So how does the balloon work? The charge built up on the balloon is the opposite to the charge of the paper ghosts.
Opposites attract!

Interactive Simulation

Check out this interactive simulation created by the University of Colorado PhET Project below.

  1. Click on the balloon and drag it around the shirt and see how the electrons interact.
  2. Bring the balloon into the clear space and let it go to see where it is attracted.
  3. Watch what happens to the electrons on the wall as you bring the balloon closer.

Balloons and Static Electricity

Click to Run

PhET Interactive Simulations
University of Colorado Boulder

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • How big can you ake the paper ghosts?
  • What happens if you use cellophane?
  • Does the thickness of the paper make a difference?
  • Try the experiment during low vs. high humidity… which works better?

Extension experiment

Sticky Static Balloons!

Sticky static balloons science experiment - sticking the static balloon to a face

Learn more!


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