Open flames cause an estimated 200 residential fires in the U.S. each year around Halloween. Photograph by Jonathon Kambouris

All Hallow’s Eve is nearly upon us, but if you’re anything like this author, you’ve waited until the last minute to pick out a costume. All of your friends are dressing up as Marty McFly, Donald Trump, and Pizza Rat (or Sexy Pizza Rat), but you want to do something different and unique. Don’t worry, Popular Science has you covered. Here are 12 great options based on science and technology news covered by Popular Science this year. Happy Halloween!


A 3D Printer

Everything is being 3D printed these days, from supercars to Thanksgiving dinner. Find a box large enough to wear and decorate it to look like a 3D printer. For added effect, find some small plastic figurines or action figures and put them in a bag inside the box. Give one to anyone who challenges you to 3D print something.

The Halloween Asteroid

It snuck up on us, but the Halloween Asteroid would be an awesome costume. Throw a black sheet over yourself, sneak up behind a friend, then throw off the sheet to reveal an all-brown outfit and scream “HALLOWEEN ASTEROID!” To differentiate yourself from the other asteroids at the party, make sure to put a jack-o-lantern face on your chest.

Google DeepDream

Ever since the launch of Google’s DeepDream in July, people have turned ordinary pictures into creepy, freaky, downright horrifying visions that mirror my darkest nightmares. If you’re someone who likes dressing in scary costumes, this is definitely the one for you. Head to any store that sells face paint and find a standard ROYGBIV + white & black set. Then go nuts. Print out pictures of yourself, friends, or pets, and tape them to yourself. Paint eyeballs and green, blue, or purple streaks on the pictures and your face, arms, etc. To really go all out, buy a white t-shirt or paper jumpsuit and paint over every blank space you can find. For those more inclined towards visual effects, here’s a DeepDream makeup tutorial.

Super Blood Moon

Remember last month’s Super Blood Moon? Remember how awesome it looked (if you weren’t in an area that was cloudy – more on that later)? Why not dress up as it and remind everyone to party hard since you won’t be back until 2033? Wear an all black outfit, a red cape (because you’re super) and carry around that red kickball you’ve had since middle school. If you were in a cloudy area, cover the ball with a white sheet so no one can see it. Or better yet, carry around a fog machine with you the whole night. Nothing makes a party spookier (read: more cloudy) than a fog machine…except maybe actual fog.

Self-Driving Tesla

Earlier this month, many Teslas were given a self-driving mode upgrade, and this makes for a SUPER fun Halloween costume. Unless you have a car costume lying around, you’ll have to make your own (the internet is your friend). But once it’s done, you can run around anywhere claiming the car is driving itself and you have no control (also a great way to get out of boring conversations and not offend the other person–it’s the car, not you).

Giant Dueling Robots

Just in case you forgot, Japanese giant robot makers, Suidobashi Heavy Industries agreed to a duel after being issued a challenge from American giant robot makers, Megabot. If you’re looking for a paired costume set to do with a significant other or a friend, what could be better than dressing up as giant robots and challenging each other to duels all night long? After all, the human hand may have evolved just to punch other humans in the face (NOTE: Popular Science does NOT condone violence of any kind, except for duels between actual giant robots, not people dressed as them).


The new DNA splicing tool, CRISPR, got a lot of coverage this year, including its own joke hashtag.

Telepresence Robot

In July, Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, became the White House’s first telerobotic visitor. Telepresence robots are popping up everywhere–doctors are sending them home with post-op patients to do check ups, and there’s even one at PopSci HQ! If you’re someone who hates going out but has a severe case of FOMO, this is the costume for you. Have a friend carry around an iPad all night and enjoy all the fun of Halloween from the comfort of your home.

Coffee/Beer Drinking Psychopath

Again, Popular Science does NOT condone violence of any kind (except for duels between actual giant robots, not people dressed as them), nor do we advocate making light of mental illness. That being said, a recent study found that people who prefer bitter foods are more likely to have psychopathic tendencies than those who don’t. If you’re planning on drinking an IPA anyway, this is a really easy way to avoid dressing up.

Alien Megastructure

All everyone has been talking about the last few weeks are the potential alien megastructures circling a star named KIC 8462852. Since no one knows what these supposed structures look like, you can do just about anything you want and tell people it’s alien. You can even wear a mask or paint your face to look like something not from this world.

Facebook Universal Search

If you haven’t heard yet, Facebook just updated their search function to find everything on the web, including everything you’ve ever publicly posted. Why not remind your friends of this fact by finding the most embarrassing statuses they posted in middle school, print them out, tape them together, and wear the creation around your neck? I’m sure they’ll appreciate all the Panic! at the Disco lyrics and 133t-$p34|< statuses.

Pizza Rat

Okay, I know I started this article by saying don’t be pizza rat, but as a native New Yorker and Popular Science‘s social media editor, I would be remiss not to include a modern-day legend on this list. Plus, rats love pizza for the same reason we do–it’s delicious.