We have some Halloween enthusiasts in our Lifeology community, who love to write about spooky science and create spooky art around this time of year – just check out the community contributions to our Inktober-inspired #LifeologyDailyDraw challenge on Instagram!

But this year, artists and scientists in our community want you to participate in spooky science exploration and SciArt creation! It’s a great opportunity for us all to come together in creative pursuits at a time when many of us are still isolated due to the global pandemic. So let’s get started!

Create Halloween Nail SciArt with Luisa Torres!

Luisa is a busy science communicator at LifeOmic, but on the side she maintains a stunning hobby and gallery of science-inspired nail art!

For Halloween she created bat nail art to share the intriguing science of how female vampire bats avoid spreading disease to their fellow bats when they are sick – they social distance!! Learn about Luisa’s Halloween 2020 nail art and more from Luisa below – and try your own nail science art if you are inspired! She has some tips on how to create nail art here.

(Here’s the Halloween stamp plate Luisa used for her nail art this year. Pair it with a starter kit, some black stamping polish and scrapers from Maniology!)

Bat Nail SciArt by Luisa

By Luisa Torres

Halloween is my favorite day of the year, and few things are more suggestive of Halloween than bats.

Bats are a misunderstood and often demonized species, despite everything they do for us and our environment.

For instance, bats eliminate the need for pesticides as they feed on insects, and many plants rely on them for pollination. Some bat species are referred to as “indicators” because changes in their population can say a lot about the health of ecosystems. On the other hand, bats have been the source of major viral outbreaks including, possibly, the current pandemic. Another example is the first Nipah virus outbreak in Malaysia in 1998, which sickened pigs that became infected through contact with bats, which then sickened pig farmers and people in close contact with pigs. 

But bats are not to blame for humans getting sick. Climate change and deforestation have brought bats closer to human habitats, exposing livestock and humans to bat urine and feces, and to the many viruses they harbor.

I have been using nail art for science communication for some time (check out my Instagram account @nailsciart!), and this year I stamped some socially-distant bats on my nails. I did this to talk about a study that showed that female vampire bats spend less time with other bats when sick, which is likely how they limit spread of disease within their colony. 

As cool as bats are, we should stay away from them and respect their habitat. And if avoiding contact with potentially deadly viruses is not reason enough, remember that they are excellent pollinators, pest controllers and indicators of biodiversity!

Play Jessika Raisor’s Spooky Comparative Anatomy Card Game!

Jessika Raisor is a science artist and animator – she has created several Lifeology courses with us on various biology topics! She also recently published a skeleton comparative anatomy card game that you can download for free and play here. It’s perfect for middle and high school students, but all adults can likely learn a thing or two from playing the game! Learn more about the game from Jessika below.

Whale anatomy poster by Jessika Raisor

By Jessika Raisor

Comparative Anatomy Teaching Tools (CATTs) is a collection of anatomically correct skeleton illustrations of 5 different animals, as well as a matching card game designed to help teach kids what comparative anatomy is all about.

My goal was to make science and more specifically anatomy approachable to a younger audience. I always found the paths that evolution took very fascinating, but rarely are people aware of, say, the wide variety of pelvis shapes across the animal kingdom and how it affects the movement and stance of an animal.

I also wanted to practice being accurate but stylized in the creation of these illustrations and card game. The art of the CATTs project is not overtly cartoony but is still stylized nonetheless. But I spent months of research on these skeletons and sent sketches to experts in the appropriate fields to make sure everything was still shown accurately. The amount of chevrons on the blue whale is accurate, and the amount of toe bones in the person is as well.

Another big mission in this project was to make education accessible. The card game, the other half of this project, was made free from the start. I put a call out on Twitter and Instagram and found plenty of labs and teachers who were interested. I also got a few test prints on thicker cardstock and donated those to local educational camps around Columbus. And it is still available for free for download online! I made sure to include a pure black/white version as well, so you can still enjoy the game even without a full color printer.

Download the game, try it out, take some photos and tag @Lifeologyapp on social media this Halloween!

Color in these Creepy Crawlies and Critters Drawn by Sara Lynn Cramb!

Sara Lynn Cramb is an illustrator and designer with a love of nature, animals and travel. She creates educational work for children’s books, websites, apps and other media with a focus on engaging and educating young audiences about the natural world.

She recently created coloring sheets featuring some creepy crawlies and nocturnal critters – coloring in these sheets will be a perfect Halloween activity for you and your kids or friends! Color them in, take a photo and post it on social tagging @Lifeologyapp for a chance to be featured here on our blog!

Snakes! Download the sheet here. Crawlers! Download the sheet here. Owls! Download the sheet here.

Learn more about these coloring sheets and more from Sara below.

Stupendous Snakes activity page by Sara Lynn Cramb
Creepy Crawlers activity page by Sara Lynn Cramb

By Sara Lynn Cramb

I create free nature-themed coloring pages every month to provide parents, caretakers and educators with fun, visually appealing and educational resources to help teach kids (and kids at heart) about the natural world. I’ve been inspired by the amazing world of animals since my youth and love sharing what I’ve learned with others.

After intense bouts of brainstorming and sketching, these illustrations are created in Adobe Illustrator in grayscale to allow for easy printing. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature documentaries and things I observe on my explorations outdoors.

You can get coloring pages like these delivered directly to your inbox every month by signing up for my email newsletter!

Art of nocturnal animals on exhibit from a book Sara illustrated about zoos.

Art of nocturnal animals on exhibit from a book Sara illustrated about zoos.