Luther College Society of Physics and Chemistry Club hosts annual Haunted Lab.


Decorah community members interact with demonstrations in the Haunted Lab held by Luther students on October 28. Photo courtesy of Bao Nguyen (‘26)

On October 28 and 29 Luther College Society of Physics and Chemistry Club collaborated on their annual Haunted Lab event in the basement of Valders Hall of Science. Members of the community of all ages were invited to experience Halloween displays, demonstrations, and illusions made by physics and chemistry students.


“Our chapter here started in the 1980s,” Associate Professor of Physics and adviser to Luther College Society of Physics Jim Perez said. “For about 20 years we’ve been putting on this haunted lab along with the Chemistry Club.”


Filled with displays, the Haunted Lab exhibited multiple eye-catching physical and chemical experiments that allowed  attendees to directly interact with scientific phenomena. Members from both the Society of Physics and Chemistry Club encouraged the event-goers to try different experiments and enjoy their visual effects.


“The demonstrations are anything: electricity and magnetism, light, optical illusions,” Perez said. “Students put up the decorations and manage the demonstrations when people come through, so they can explain what’s going on.”


Not only did the event attract Luther College students, but families from the Decorah area also were in attendance. For Chemistry Club Executive Emma Prostine (‘24), this is an important opportunity to inspire others to learn more about science.


“I think it’s really important to reach out to the community and bring them in because there’s a lot more than school,” Prostine said. “We get wrapped up in our schoolwork, but honestly, it’s about connecting with the kids and just kind of showing them that science is fun. It’s not all stressful.” 


Kids weren’t the only attendees leaving the event inspired. Jessica Olson (‘23) found the event very interesting and noted how it encouraged her to try more as an allied health science major.


“This lab is just really fun and I think a lot of what I’m seeing here is amazing in a really cool way,” Olson said. “As a science major, it’s encouraging because it shows that there’s still a lot more I need to learn.”


While the Halloween events may be over for the year, the involved student organizations have more interactive events planned. In December, the Chemistry Club will be holding their annual soap making event with more details to come.