Halloween Costumes for the Science Obsessed

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It’s Halloween! You have probably already donned a costume this past weekend, but if you are in need of a quick, witty costume for tonight (or next year – it is never too early to plan a Halloween costume), we have some science-based suggestions for you. No, we will not be suggesting Einstein or Madame Curie – notable but clichéd science costumes. Check out our suggestions below, and if you have one to add, leave it in the comments!

1. Schrodinger’s cat

Is the cat alive or dead? Or is it both? The classic Schrodinger’s cat is an easy costume. Find a large cardboard box and cut out two holes to fit your body through. Slap on a pair of cat ears, drawn-on whiskers, and a tail for good measure. Bottle of poison, optional.

2. Higgs boson

You might be wondering how a person can dress up as a hypothetical particle. Well, thanks to the particle’s nickname, the God particle, it is pretty simple. First step, dress up as God (any god you would like). Second step, either wear a hardhat with online slots CERN written across or attach images of the Large Hadron Collider to your outfit. (If you want an even lower effort costume, wear the CERN hardhat and tell people you are a physicist working on the Large Hadron Collider.)

The Large Hadron Collider/ATLAS at CERN

3. Climate change

This is a fun costume, because even if you are standing in front of people, some of them will refuse to believe you exist. All you need for this costume is a globe painted on a T-shirt (or a set of DIY globe pajamas , if you are feeling inspired). Then complain all night that you are either too warm or too cold.

4. Pavlov’s dog

Finally, a costume for those conditioned (see what we did there?) to find Halloween costumes at the last minute. Sport some dogs ears and carry around a bell, and you will be magically transformed into Pavlov’s dog, the furry subject of Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment in classical conditioning. Drooling when the bell is rung is optional. (Pairing this costume with a friend costumed as Schrodinger’s cat is the ultimate homage to famous animal experiments.)

5. Evolution

Okay, this one could be complicated. But unless you have several friends to dress up as our various human ancestors, we suggest the slimmed down costume: a Darwin-esque white beard and plenty of plastic finches. Carry around a journal and make observations on the various “species” in the room.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.