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Identity & Community

Carnegie Science Center To Get Spooky With 'Spirits And Spirits' Event This Halloween

If you’re the type of person to leave a bowl of candy on your porch and head out to party on Halloween, you may want to consider the Carnegie Science Center’s special adults-only event this Friday evening.

The center hosts 21+ events on the last Friday of each month, and this month’s Halloween theme is “Spirits and Spirits,” presented in collaboration with Wigle Whiskey, Maggie’s Farm Rum and Independent Brewing Company.

Meredith Grelli, co-owner of Wigle Whiskey, said they’ll be presenting alcohol-themed ghost stories, including stories about people who were poisoned by drinking denatured alcohol during prohibition. She said the federal government mandated that poison be added to the drugstore mainstay, to discourage people from drinking it to get drunk.

“So we thought a really fun build on that this year would be to bring some more of the history as well as the science involved in these ghost stories, like the medical effects of what’s happening to people when they’re being poisoned,” Grelli said.

One of those medical side effects is hallucinations, and Grelli said actors will re-enact the story of one man who experienced such hallucinations after drinking denatured alcohol.

“This guy … runs into a New York City hospital and he says ‘Santa Claus is trying to kill me!’” Grelli said. “So when we’re re-enacting it we’re having a man dressed up like Santa Claus running after this guy with a baseball bat.”

Other stories will have a more local connection, but Grelli didn’t want to give too much away ahead of Friday’s performance.

The center’s education coordinator of adult programs, Zach Weber, said they’ll also feature hands-on science activities with a boozy bent.

“We’ll be talking about enzymes and how enzymes are used to break down the grain when we make different spirits,” Weber said. “We’ll be talking about density and how alcohol can affect the density of a liquid and we can actually use that density to determine how much alcohol is in our spirit.”

Maggie’s Farm Rum and Independent Brewing Company will present mixology lessons, and acrobats from Iron City Aerial will perform.

Visitors can also shell out a few extra bucks to see the discounted HalloScream laser show, which Weber said will include music from Michael Jackson, Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson, among others.

Weber said they’re expecting all 1,200 tickets for the event to sell out. Advance registration is $10 and tickets at the door are $15.

Costumes are encouraged, but full face covering is not allowed, as it is a 21+ event and your face will have to match your ID.