Looking to take your Halloween to the next level this year? Maybe you want to make a spooky breathing pumpkin or a mysterious witch's cauldron for extra flare. The fogginess from these fun projects is created by dry ice, an excellent tool for that spooky finesse. What is it exactly? Dry ice is a pure solid form of carbon dioxide and instead of melting like typical water derived ice, it converts to a carbon dioxide gas at warmer temperatures.

Although dry ice is fun to add to your projects, there are some safety measures to keep in mind. Exposure to dry ice on bare hands can cause frostbite that can progress to an infection if left untreated. When dry ice is kept in an unventilated room or if it is inhaled, it can cause carbon dioxide poisoning that can be very dangerous.

To keep your Halloween fun and safe, here are some simple DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to dry ice.

DO DON’T
Prevent frostbites by using tongs or wearing protective gear like leather gloves. Touch with bare hands or swallow the dry ice.

This could lead to skin and mouth/throat burns.

Store dry ice in an insulated container, such as a Styrofoam cooler.

This will help slow down the rate at which dry ice becomes gas.

Store your dry ice in a freezer.

Its extreme temperature may do some serious damage to the thermostat in your freezer.

Prevent breathing too much carbon dioxide by getting plenty of fresh air.

Seek fresh air IMMEDIATELY and call 911 if your lips or fingers turn blue or you feel drowsy, nauseous or a headache.

Store ice in an unventilated room or area.

Appropriate ventilation is important as excess carbon dioxide can pose significant health risks for individuals with existing health issues.

If any skin burns occur by touching the dry ice, handle it in the same manner of a heat skin burn. Notify your doctor is you see any blisters on your skin. An antibiotic ointment and bandages may be necessary to prevent further damage or infection.  Call 911 if you or someone you know experience difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness as a result of exposure to dry ice.

For additional on safe use of dry ice, visit the University of Vermont's safety review sheet. If you have any other questions or concerns, you can always call your Poison Control Center 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222.

Mia Jung, PharmD Candidate from Temple University College of Pharmacy, wrote this in conjunction with the Poison Control Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.