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Spooky Ghost Chromatography Experiment for Kids

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Try this super spooky and creepy twist on marker chromatography when you make coffee filter ghosts using chromatography!

This chromatography experiment for kids is a blast at Halloween!

Ghost experiments to do at home are so much fun! (and you can do them in the classroom, too!)

Try this twist on marker chromatography when you make coffee filter ghosts using chromatography! This chromatography experiment for kids is a blast!

“Ghosts are spooky. I love them,” my preschooler informs me.

My daughter is a one-of-a-kind girl, and is absolutely in love will everything spooky and creepy.

She’d be just as happy to make zombie slime as she is to play with princess slime. 

In part due to my daughter’s extreme love of all things creepy, this Halloween, we’ve made it our mission to do as many fun Halloween STEM activities as possible.

How to Make Coffee Filter Ghosts

When my daughter told me she loves ghosts, I knew there was a way to make her ghostly obsession into a STEAM activity that would be both educational and adorable!

I love how the ghost chromatography experiment turned out, and it is not only fun for at-home projects, but it is also classroom-friendly!

Don’t miss the complete list of Halloween science experiments!

Kids will love transforming this coffee filter chromatography experiment into a ghostly Halloween decoration!

halloween stem challenge cards

Spooky Ghost Chromatography Experiment for Kids Science Explanation

Markers are made up of a bunch of colors, particularly black.

When you suspend the coffee filter in alcohol, it slowly separates each of the colors contained in the black ink, revealing that black is really made up of a bunch of fun colors!

Chemists use chromatography to separate colors of differnet materials and substances and also use the strips to prove what substances are made of and mixed with.

You can use coffee filters like we did, or you can purchase official chromatography strips.

There are also chromatography papers you can purchase to repeat this experiment exactly, just with the real paper!

How to Make Chromatography Ghosts

Follow along with these directions to make your own ghosts from coffee filters!

You may be surprised at what colors are hiding in a black marker!

What you will need to make coffee filter ghosts:

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  • Black permanent marker
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • White coffee filters
  • Clothespins
  • Mason jars
  • Clothespins

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If you love this Halloween STEM activity, check out this list of Halloween STEM activities for middle school!

How to Do the Ghost Chromatography Experiment

Flatten the coffee filter.

Mix Halloween and science with this fun spooky twist on the classic marker chromatography experiment! Make ghost chromatography science!

Draw several black circles around the middle of the coffee filter, but not the very middle. You don’t want the ink to ever touch the alcohol directly.

Fill a mason jar about half-way with rubbing alcohol.

Fold the coffee filters into a triangle shape with the middle pointing down.

Let the very tip of the coffee filter just graze the surface of the alcohol. Use a clothespin to hold in place.

Mix Halloween and science with this fun spooky twist on the classic marker chromatography experiment! Make ghost chromatography science!

Leave the coffee filter in the rubbing alcohol for 24 hours, or until the liquid works its way to the edge of the coffee filter.

Take out the coffee filter and let it dry.

Admire the pretty colors.

Mix Halloween and science with this fun spooky twist on the classic marker chromatography experiment! Make ghost chromatography science!

Fold the center of the coffee filter around a pom pom and twist the filter to hold the head in place.

Draw on a ghost face with a permanent marker.

Mix Halloween and science with this fun spooky twist on the classic marker chromatography experiment! Make ghost chromatography science!

Your chromatography ghosts are done!

More Ghost Science for Kids

Spooky Diving Ghost Experiment

How to Make Spooky, Oozy Ghost Slime for Halloween

Paper bag ghosts

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