AUSTIN, Texas - A local museum got into the Halloween spirit this year.
The Bollock Museum hosted Spooktacular, an after-hours event for children and parents to celebrate the spooky season.
The museum partnered with Girlstart, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing girls' interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs.
"We've been partnering with Girlstart for several years, one of the main reasons [is] because they do really wonderful programming with STEM activities and facilitate wonderful activities that are related to science." said Angela Kennedy, the Family Programs Manager for the Museum.
This year's theme was "Out of this world!" which encouraged guests to dress up in their best spacesuits. The event ran alongside the two "Space" exhibits currently being shown at the museum. "Cowboys in Space" and "Beyond Planet Earth" were both opened for guests to explore while enjoying Spooktacular.
Spooktacular had hands-on, fun activates that encouraged families to explore fields within STEM. Kara Torbert, the Community STEM Manager for Girlstart, believes it's important to spotlight STEM education. "We want to get more kids interested in STEM so that we can solve some of the world's greatest challenges which require STEM solutions. " Torbet said.
Girlstart focuses on getting girls engaged early in order to pique their interest in STEM. "A lot of that dropoff happens when kids go into middle school, so we really want to keep kids interested, engaged, keep it fun, hands-on and creative." Torbet said.
The various activities also spotlighted STEM. "Boo Bubbles" allowed children to experience chemistry firsthand, using dry-ice to create bubbles that would stick to their hands. Other activities focused on technology and engineering, including augmented reality and robot programming.
However, this spooky event wasn't just all about the kids. The partnership between Bullock and Girlstart also focused on engaging parents and caregivers to allow them to learn as well. "Even the parents, that's huge for us, we put on family programs. We want the parents and caregivers to enjoy or do something that they have never done before." said Kennedy.