As a pop culture geek who grew up in the Star Wars (original trilogy) generation, I’ve picked up some odd, geek knowledge in my youth. As a father, I never thought I would be imparting some of that odd knowledge to my own children, at least not until a recent inquiry my 7 year old son made to me. He wanted to know if the blood you see on TV when someone gets cut or hurt was real.
Now, the reason he even questioned whether it was real or not is because in our household we try to separate reality from what we call TV or movie magic. Our children know that monsters like Godzilla aren’t real (in fact, they know it’s a guy in a suit and they still love it) or that zombies are just people in make-up. We’ve been to Universal Studios to see how things in movies are made. They know that characters in theme parks are just people in costumes.
So, instead of sitting there and telling my son that it was fake blood and leaving it at that, I took it as an opportunity to educate in a fun and interesting way. I learned many years ago that makeup artist Rick Baker, who worked on Star Wars, made screen blood with Karo syrup and red food coloring.
I headed to the kitchen with my son and took went to the cabinet and pulled out some Karo syrup and some red food coloring. I placed some of the Karo syrup into a small, clear plastic container and added a couple of drops of the food coloring. I mixed it up and I could see a big grin on his face. He was impressed, especially when I put some on my arm to show him how it looks.
“Can I taste some?” he asked.
“Sure, but it is going to be very sweet,” I replied, as if that would deter him, suddenly realizing that no child would ever refuse to eat something after you’ve told them it would be sweet.
He thought that the syrup tasted like honey and he couldn’t wait to show his little sister the TV “blood” we had created when she woke up from her nap.
Sometimes as a parent, we find ourselves just telling our children why things are the way they are but many times it is great to surprise them with odd knowledge you might possess to make the answer much more interesting and fun.