Fun Friday -making spooky sounds!

Keeping with the Halloween Science theme, this week I share a cool experiment perfect for the spooky season!

Make a Spooky Sound Cup!


All you need is...
All you need is…




All you need is ….

a plastic cup
a paper clip
some twine or string
a knife or scissors
a piece of kitchen paper




What to do...
What to do…

What to do

  1. Tie the paperclip to one end of the twine.
  2. Ask an adult to make a small hole in the base of the cup, using the knife or scissors.
  3. Hold the cup upside down and thread the twine through the hole. The paperclip will stop the twine from coming all the way through.
  4. Fold the kitchen paper in half and then quarter and then dip it in water. You want it wet but not dripping.
  5. Holding the cup in one hand, fold the wet kitchen paper over the twine with the other hand and hold between your thumb and first finger.
  6. Pull the wet kitchen towel down along the twine, pinching between your fingers all the time.
  7. You should notice it makes a really spooky sound.






You can try this experiment without the wet kitchen paper, just wet your thumb and finger instead; Does it make a different sound?

You could also see what happens if you use a different type of twine, or some ribbon, or use a larger cup!


So what is happening?

As you pull the kitchen paper down along the twine the friction between the two makes the twine vibrate.  These vibrations travel through the air and  bounced around the walls of the upturned cup – amplifying the vibrations so we get to hear the spooky, screechy sound!


Hope you have some Spooky Fun with this experiment.  Stay tuned for lots more over the Halloween Season!


Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

4 thoughts on “Fun Friday -making spooky sounds!

  • October 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Great I hope your girls enjoy this Sadhbh, do let me know how it goes!

  • October 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    That sounds amazing!! What a crazy noise! I’ll be honest, when I first listened, for just a second, I was convinced it was a trick and it was someone’s voice in the background!! I am definitely going to try this with my girls. Thanks!

  • October 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    This sounds like something I could just about manage to do with my kids!

    • October 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      This one is SO easy … and it always seems to delight my kids, no matter how many times they do it ;0) If you do try it out I hope your kids enjoy as much as mine!

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