For those who enjoy warm weather in October, pool parties are a popular theme for Halloween get-togethers. Most of us let our imaginations run wild as the days grow shorter, darker, and creepier. However, don't throw caution to the wind when it comes to your pool. You can find a lot of creative smoke and mirrors on Pinterest, but not all of it will serve your pool well.
A ruined pool is the stuff of nightmares. If you're looking to frighten up your pool deck, think twice before you make these common mistakes. There are plenty of eerie alternatives to keep your guests looking over their shoulders.
1. Dyeing the Water Improperly
What's creepier than a pool of crimson water, like a lagoon of blood, in your backyard? While you can create this effect with safe and effective dyes, make sure you're using the right products and treating the pool accordingly.
Many people make the mistake of using food coloring to dye their pool water. Food coloring is cheap and readily available, but it's not a wise choice for pool dye. For one thing, it will take quite a bit of it to reach a solid red or green color throughout the pool. Furthermore, food coloring is nearly impossible to filter out of a pool. If you flood your pool with food coloring, it's likely you'll end up with stains on the tile, grout, plaster, or filter components (or all of the above).
Instead, use a specialized dye such as Party Pool. It comes in green, red, and blue, which you can mix to create unique colors. Still, even pool dyes can wreak havoc on your filter. The dye has to pass through the filter to clear out, so prepare to clean the filter components thoroughly after use. You may even need to replace them.
If you'd rather skip the hassle, try a plastic light filter over the pool lights. These come in many colors, require no cleanup, and still create a unique effect for nighttime.
2. Adding Detergents for Spooky Bubbles
One popular way to spice up a pool is to add bubbling agents for a foamy surface. Laundry soap and dishwashing detergent are common choices. However, detergents can cause toil and trouble for a pool owner.
While a bubbly substance can't destroy your pool or its components, it can be annoying. There is no standard bubbling procedure for swimming pools, so it's easy to add too much detergent and create more foam than you bargained for. In excess, detergents can leave residue on your tiles and railings. They may also prove difficult to filter out, and leave you with foamy or oily water long after the party is over.
If you want a bubbly swamp with minimal maintenance, face your return jets toward the surface. This creates several streams of natural bubbles, along with a purling sound that adds to the ambiance.
Alternatively, consider an algicide with a strong wetting agent. The most common type is a quaternary ammonia-based or "Quat" algaecide. It can froth quite a bit due to its ability to lower the surface tension of your water. A “quat-based” algaecide is safe to use and the sudsing, although harmless, will subside in a few days or you can always add a defoamer if you want faster termination of the foaming. Caution: if there is a hot tub attached to the pool system, the hot tub will create a considerable amount of bubbles!
3. Playing with Dry Ice
Another way to bubble up your pool is to throw in some dry ice. Dry ice sinks to the bottom, releases a vicious stream of bubbles, and creates an eerie white cloud over the water. As cool as this science experiment is, it comes with risks.
First, dry ice creates a safety hazard for swimmers. Dry ice is simply frozen carbon dioxide (CO2), which needs to be extremely cold to freeze solid. Touching the ice directly, even for a few seconds, can cause severe burns. Dry ice also makes it hard for swimmers to catch their breath. When it touches water, CO2 almost instantaneously changes from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas. This gas rises to the top of the water, creating a fog of noxious air.
Dry ice also affects water quality. The reaction that creates those spooky, white clouds also releases carbonic acid. This will throw off your pH levels.
You can still use dry ice to fog up a Halloween party. Simply place it in bowls of water and distribute them around the pool deck. This is perfectly safe, keeping harmful effects far removed from guests and pool water.
4. Bobbing for Jack-o'-lanterns
Did you know pumpkins are buoyant? Even a massive pumpkin will float in water. This has sparked a trend of pumpkin pool-picking parties, a refreshing alternative to old-fashioned patch picking. Some go the extra mile and fill the pool with fully lit Jack-o'-lanterns.
However, if you're going to throw pumpkins in your pool, make sure they're un-carved. When you cut into your pumpkin, you compromise its buoyancy, allowing water to seep in and weigh it down. That water – and the chemicals in it – can eat away at the inside of the vegetable. This could result in pulp floating about your pool. Plus, no law of physics states that your Jack-o'-lantern will stay upright in shifting water. Instead of a pool full of glowing faces, you'll probably wind up with a mess.
The classic jack-o'-lantern bucket is a more reliable alternative. They're also buoyant, and much more durable. Place waterproof, no-flame candles inside; then, let them float about your pool. You can even buy these buckets in different colors!
Halloween can still be a great chance to deck out your pool, but it need not bring hellacious consequences. Check out pHin for more, and have fun, but be careful and stay safe this Halloween!