Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity

How to do the Halloween Light Total Refraction Trick?

Halloween is around the corner and I want to do some special science experiment to celebrate Halloween. This Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction is good to try. I draw a pumpkin and a ghost, the pumpkin will disappear in water, but the ghost. Do you know why? Let's find out.

Age: 3+          Time: < 10mins


1. Be careful with the fragile glassware.
2. Adult supervision.

 Materials List 

Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Materials List


Step 1/4 – Cut A4 paper into the appropriate size, just to fit the size of the ziplock bag.
Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Step1

Step 2/4 – Use the marker to draw a pumpkin and ghost on the paper, then put the A4 paper into the ziplock bag and then, seal it.
Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Step2

Step 3/4 – Repeat the ghost part on the ziplock, not the pumpkin.
Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Step3

Step 4/4 – Pour some water into the beaker (deep enough to submerge the picture). Put the picture in the water. When you look at the picture from the top (This is critical. If you look from some other directions, this trick does not work. ), the pumpkin you draw on the paper will disappear and you will only see the ghost you draw on the zip lock bag. When the zip lock bag is taken out of the water, the pumpkin will appear again. Why? Check out the Scientific Description below.
Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Step4-1

Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Step4-2


Why I can still see what I drew on the paper?
—This experiment is all about the refraction, so the position we look from matters. Make sure you look from the top and the ziplock bag should be placed as vertically as possible.

 Scientific Description 

Total internal reflection, in physics, complete reflection of a ray of light within a medium such as water or glass from the surrounding surfaces back into the medium. The phenomenon occurs if the angle of incidence is greater than a certain limiting angle, called the critical angle. In general, total internal reflection takes place at the boundary between two transparent media when a ray of light in a medium of higher index of refraction approaches the other medium at an angle of incidence greater than the critical angle. When we look at the water from the top of the beaker the total reflection will occur and the light from the drawing on the paper will not enter our eyes, so the part written on the paper in the ziplock bag cannot be seen while the part written on the ziplock bag is not totally refracted so you can still see it. When we lifted the ziplock bag out of the water we can see two parts.


1. There are so many ways to play this wonderful experiment. What creative picture combination idea can you come up with?Check out our number's idea in the hope that it would inspire you. Zip Lock Bag Number Refraction Trick
2. Light refraction is a great topic for kids to explore. Check out what we have come up with this topic. 

Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Zip Lock Bag Water Refraction - Halloween Activity Reviewed by Ronyes Tech on May 12, 2020 Rating: 5


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  3. Hello Ronyes,

    Great job with the experiment! It is really cool. I was reading the scientific description but I still don't understand why we can see the black marker on the outside of the bag, but not the coloured marker on the inside. Could you possibly explain it further?

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