The Department of Physics holds an annual Haunted Physics Laboratory (HPL)as part of the NIU STEMfest. This tradition began in 2003, and was originally located at Faraday Hall on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University. Due to its overwhelming popularity, HPL was expanded in 2010 to include other STEM disciplines and became the backbone of STEMfest, which is located at NIU's Convocation Center. The HPL and related LaserFest displays are still some of the most popular parts of STEMfest which is still held in late October each year. Check the STEMfest website for this year's date and parking information. The event remains a free, family event.
Particle physics faculty initiated an outreach program in 2001 which was dubbed the Frontier Physics Program to reflect the research that goes on at Fermilab and Argonne. Activities have included visits to schools and community organizations, a Haunted Physics Lab each Fall for families, a Physics Olympics for high school students in the spring, and science camps during the summer. In 2008 this program was expanded to include other science departments at NIU.