The shelves are bursting with all sorts of candy corn confections this time of year. The mellocreme pumpkin is a treat made of honey and sugar, simply ripe with scientific possibilities. Grab your little goblins for this ghoulish experiment: dissolve candy pumpkins in different liquids. Stand back to watch the magic!
This is an experiment of testing hypotheses. What does your little scientist think will happen in each liquid? Will the pumpkins float? Sink? Dissolve? Stay in tact? What happens if you add a little heat? Let’s find out!

Supplies:

  • Candy corn pumpkins
  • Clear glasses
  • Water, warm and cold
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Milk
  • Microwave
  • Timer

1. Label your clear glasses for each liquid. Fill your glasses about half full.

2. Drop in each pumpkin. Observe for any immediate reaction. Grab your timer and begin to measure your observations in five-minute increments.

3. 5 Minutes: There was lots of bubbling in the warm water and little difference to the other liquids.

4. 10 Minutes: The cold water and vinegar liquids began to turn orange as the sugar “skin” of the pumpkin began to shed, but not much change for the pumpkin in milk.

5. 15 minutes:The cold water, warm water, and vinegar pumpkins all began to shed their “skin”, providing a spooky element to the experiment!

6. 30 Minutes: At last! The theory that the pumpkins might float comes true, as the pumpkin’s sugar skin lifted it up to the top of the glass. This might provide giggles, as your experiment now looks a little haunted. Who invited the ghost?

7. After 30 minutes: With the exception of the oil, all of the liquids had turned orange. The pumpkin in milk was on its way to be dissolved.

8. To add a little interest, put the oil pumpkin in the microwave for 20 seconds. You’ll find it will bubble and then completely flattened out.

9. Have an adult fish the flattened pumpkin out. You will find it is very pliable and is almost like plastic-like in consistency. Your little scientists might be taken aback that this is in fact something we can eat!

Findings: The milk broke down the sugary pumpkin over time by dissolving it. The warm water made the reaction happen slightly faster, but the two water temperatures and the vinegar broke down the candy first, creating sugar “ghosts” from the outer coating. And while the oil had little affect on the pumpkin when resting in the liquid, adding the heat made the real reaction occur.

 

It was decided that time was the real factor in this experiment: the more time the pumpkins sat in the liquids, the more changes to observe!