Red Sunset

The reaction of sodium thiosulfate and hydrochloric acid produces colloidal sulfur which clouds the solution. As the sulfur concentration increases, shorter wavelengths are scattered and longer ones pass through, this causes an increase of reddish color to appear on the overhead.
Na2S2O3 + HCl → 2NaCl + SO2 + S + H2O

Colored Flames

manganese strontium sodium copper potassium salts burning in ethanol

When different ionic compounds are heated, electrons around the metal atom become excited and jump energy levels. When the electrons fall back to ground state they release light and heat energy. The amount of energy released determined the wavelength and color of the light released, resulting in different colored flames.