No one likes them, right?
They make you sick and look so gross.
But when it comes to Halloween, it’s time to embrace all things gross and disgusting. Gross out your friends and family by making this edible bacteria candy.
This activity is perfect as part of your Halloween STEM challenges for middle school!
We did this fun STEM activity on a whim to see if we could re-create bacteria cultures growing in an ager using edible ingredients.
The kids were aptly disgusted and delighted by the combo we came up with.
These would make adorable little party favors for a Halloween party or a mad scientist party!
It’s the perfect safe bacteria experiment for kids.
What gives this particular activity a Halloween STEM activity twist is the fact that we modeled our edible bacteria after the real bacteria shapes commonly found in the wild.
It’s super gross, realistic, and the perfect blend of science and holiday fun.
Edible Bacteria Candy Experiment
In this edible bacteria candy experiment, middle schoolers (or kids in upper elementary) can explore the shape and texture of real bacteria all wall making their own germs candy!
Even though this *technically* goes against good lab safety of NEVER EATING ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF THE LAB, it’s a fun project to do at Halloween as long as children understand that actual experiments should never be eaten, sniffed, or allow fumes to get in their eyes.
We used this lesson plan on bacteria as the lesson behind our edible candy bacteria.
Bacteria Science for Kids
Here is a brief lesson plan to go along with your bacteria candy experiment.
Bacteria are microbe that have a single cell. They do not have a nucleus or membrane-bound organelles.
A single loop of DNA contains all of their genetic material. There are a few exceptions- some bacteria also have genetic information stored in a plasmid, which offers some advantages.
Bacteria can exist as single cells, pairs, chains, or clusters.
Bacteria have five basic shape groups, which are included in the germs candy experiment.
- Comma (vibrios)
- Spherical (cocci)
- Rod (bacilli)
- Corkscrew (spirochaetes)
- Spiral (spirilla)
What You’ll Need to Make Your Own Germs Candy
Affiliate links included for your convenience.
You’ll want to have these supplies on hand before making your edible bacteria candy!
How to Make Bacteria Candy
Cook your jello according to the package directions. You can make it the regular way or the “jiggler” way.
We actually made our own using food coloring, sugar, and some unflavored gelatin powder, which set up much quicker than standard jello.
After the jello dissolves and cools a bit, pour it into your (clean) pitri dishes. Let it set up for about an hour.
We stuck ours inside a casserole dish for easier transport.
When the jello starts to set up, add your candies to make your bacteria. We modeled ours after real bacteria shapes seen in a microscope (which you can see in the picture below).
We didn’t do spirochete because we didn’t have any candies that looked like that.
For mold, we sprinkled sugar on the jello. This eventually melted, but the pattern continued to look moldy.
Return the pitri dishes back to the fridge and let the jello harden completely.
The candies will soften and give the candy a feathered look, which looks even more bacteria-like.
Discuss the different shapes bacteria can have while you eat this delicious snack!
More Halloween Science and STEM Activities
Try these other spooky science experiments to complete your Halloween STEM activities this year!
Make it a Halloween science party with these activities!