Trig or Treat

October 31, 2011 at 12:01 am 4 comments

On Mischief Night, I spent a long time explaining our Halloween decorations to my neighbor. But I understood why he was confused. After all, they didn’t look like Halloween decorations.

There was the WITCH of Agnesi taped to our front door…

Witch Of Agnesi

…the SKELETON of a cube hanging from our tree…

Skeleton Cube

…and Napier’s BONES drawn on the sidewalk in chalk.

Napiers Bones

After I set our neighbor straight, I went for a walk in the woods.

I came across a mathematician stirring a cauldron in the middle of an open clearing. One by one, she added the eye of a newt, two whiskers from a black cat, a pinch of wolf’s bane, a dash of bat’s blood, three hairs from a mermaid, the ear of a troll, and finally a dollup of dragon’s breath. I asked her, “Why don’t you just add everything at the same time?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “To make an effective potion, the ingredients must be integrated by parts.”

Finally, a math equation for today:


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mr. T  |  November 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The Witch of Agnesi was my classroom’s Halloween decoration this year. It may have flown over the heads of my Algebra 1 students. If I only had a broom…
    In the spirit of humor, I also told them that it’s not very often a holiday has 5 vowels in a row. “5 Vowels?” Yep! Double-U. “That’s a stretch” Vertical or horizontal.
    I was on a roll…which led me back to the “how did they come up with that curve?”

    • 2. venneblock  |  November 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I love it! Sounds like you manage a fun classroom. I suspect your students let out a lot of shrieks and screams at your jokes — which seems perfectly appropriate for Halloween!

  • 3. Math Joke for Halloween | Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks  |  October 31, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    […] more Halloween math jokes, see Scary Math Facts for Halloween or Trig or Treat or Math Jokes for […]

  • 4. Halloween Math Jokes (Best Of) | Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks  |  October 27, 2014 at 6:02 am

    […] Trig or Treat (Halloween 2011) […]


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The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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October 2011

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