Spellbinding scares — and science — in Sea Cliff

MAKEshop hosts fourth Annual Spooky Pumpkin Walk


With the help of Sea Cliff’s MAKEshop, residents got into the spirit of Halloween by carving pumpkins and putting them on display at the annual Spooky Pumpkin Walk.

MAKEshop, a non-profit organization that offers science- and arts-based enrichment, hosted the event at Elm Park in Sea Cliff last Friday.

MAKEshop posted three pumpkin carving designs on its Facebook page for participants to replicate; each added an element of science to Halloween tradition. The prompts had instructions on how to enhance a jack-o’-lantern with electrical circuitry and chemicals. Each design created a unique high-tech effect to heighten the scare factor.

Residents created LED-lighted pumpkins, smoking and bubbling pumpkins (with dry ice), or “vomiting” pumpkins (with baking soda and vinegar).

“The instructions help participants ‘hack’ their pumpkins, using items like dry ice, LED lights, even Bluetooth speakers and walkie-talkies to add effects,” Sara Jones, of Sea Cliff, a MAKEshop volunteer, explained. “It’s a great way for the community to have fun with very accessible science.”

One pumpkin was rigged with baking soda “bombs.” Whenever vinegar was poured through its head, a cascade of bubbles poured out of its mouth, making it look like it was vomiting.

North Shore High School’s Art Portfolio Club coated a pod of pumpkins with glow-in-the-dark paint, and they appeared to glow under LED illumination.

The theme of this year’s walk was “The Pi-Rates of Sea Cliff,” which explained the sea monsters and ships hanging from the trees.

“This is the fourth year for the event, which means it’s tradition in Sea Cliff,” said Mayor Edward Lieberman. “The children look forward to this enchanting evening, which is made possible by the great work done by MAKEshop.”

Resident Laura Ryniker said she enjoys bringing her children to MAKEshop’s events. “This program is fantastic, and it helps show kids how much fun science can be,” she said.

Jones described the night as a localized version of Old Westbury Gardens’ Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns. “It’s a great community event that is really family-friendly, and the participants always have fun with it,” she said.