13 Science-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas For 2016

Because sexy Harambe is in poor taste

philae lander

Couple's Costume: Zombie ExoMars Lander And Zombie Philae Lander

If you're going to a party with a friend, what better way to show everyone how much you love space exploration than to dress as a couple of undead spacecraft? After a botched landing, the European Space Agency's Philae lander was presumed dead (RIP). But last month, the Rosetta orbiter spotted its lifeless husk. Or dress up as the recently crashed ExoMars lander. Some well-placed aluminum foil will make you the life of the party--though you'll need a little more scorching for the ExoMars costume, as it is suspected to have exploded on impact.ESA

Scrambling for a last-minute Halloween costume? Looking for something a little more creative than that same Scream mask you've been wearing since 1996? Donald Trump wasn't a good costume in 2015, and it's a little too scary this year. Harambe and Dat Boi came and went already. But science news is always cool! So here are 13 Halloween costume ideas, ranging from darkly funny to downright terrifying, pulled from 2016 Popular Science stories.

samsung note 7

Flaming Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may not be welcome on airplanes anymore, but your flaming Note 7 costume will be a hit at the party this weekend! Its battery, deemed unsafe by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, tends to explode. And while this makes the phone a crummy thing to own, it also makes it great fodder for a topical Halloween costume. Plus, if you need to leave a boring party, you can just have a friend act like they're from the Federal Aviation Administration and escort you off the premises.Samsung
aedes aegypti mosquito

Aedes aegypti Mosquito

For a truly frightening costume, try dressing up as an Aedes aegypti mosquito, the insect that carries the Zika virus. Already a major concern in Central and South America, Zika reached the Unite States this summer. Nothing's more frightening than a burgeoning epidemic.U.S. Department of Agriculture
indian pangolin


The first three items on the list may be sad or frightening, but this one is downright adorable. The pangolin, one of the most endangered animals in the world, was recently given expanded protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. So if you're more into cute costumes than scary ones, cut out some cardboard scales, build a tail out of a stocking, and get a ridiculous manicure to mimic the pangolin's artichoke/dragon look.Wikimedia user Dushy Ranetunge
August Heat

Hottest Year On Record

If you're not into jump scares and gore, this costume will appeal to your looming sense of dread. With month after month after month after month of record-breaking heat, 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record. So why not declare it a few months early? Paint yourself like a global heat map, wear a sandwich-board line graph, or just lecture your fellow partygoers about their pollution habits for a costume that simultaneously showcases your fear for the future and your climate science savvy.NASA GISS
black holes

LIGO Detector

As if we needed yet another "I told you so" from zombie Albert Einstein, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) stations in Washington and Louisiana announced that they discovered gravitational waves in February. The waves they observed had traveled from a pair of black holes rapidly orbiting each other, sending incredibly tiny ripples through space-time as they did so. So suit up with a bunch of lasers, a stopwatch, and sit perfectly still to see if you can detect some gravitational waves at the next party you attend!Moroplogo/Sketchfab
reproducibility crisis

The Reproducibility Crisis

If you want a very spooky idea, how about dressing up as the ongoing reproducibility crisis in psychology that's currently undermining the field. Researchers have realized that many of the biggest studies in psychology can't be replicated--one notable example this past summer featured almost two dozen labs failing to verify the results of an influential study. So feel free to staple a bunch of shoddy studies to your clothes and never back up anything you say.Ainsley Seago
Artist's Concept

Proxima b

In August, researchers announced that they had discovered a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, our closest neighboring star. The planet, Proxima b, is in the habitable zone, so it could have liquid water on its surface, which is one of the reasons why some people are very eager to explore it using a swarm of interstellar robots. Since it might be difficult to dress up as an entire planet, your best bet might be to just stay home and make it difficult for anyone to get in contact with you.ESO/M. Kornmesser
Google's AlphaGo beats world champion Lee Se-dol in Go.


Earlier this year, Google's Go-playing AI, AlphaGo, defeated the reigning world champion, Lee Se-Dol. Whether you want to emphasize the exciting or terrifying aspect of this costume is up to you! Do you dress as the incredible machine that has been engineered to defeat a human at a game whose play combinations are nearly infinite? Or as the harbinger of the Singularity, the first step toward brutally cruel robot overlords that will eventually crush us all? Either way you go, this costume will be a hit!Google/ Screenshot
Juno at Jupiter


It's happened to all of us at one time or another: We want to dress up as an uncrewed spacecraft but one of our friends is already dressing up as Zombie Philae. How awkward! Never fear, though, because we've got you covered. There are plenty of noteworthy space exploration vessels, including Juno, which finally reached Jupiter this summer after nearly five years in transit. All you'll need is a wide-brimmed aluminum foil hat and three large solar panels to impersonate this charismatic space probe.NASA
uber car

Driverless Uber

Since this summer, Uber's driverless cars have been roaming the streets of Pittsburgh. What better way to demonstrate that you keep up with tech news than to show up dressed as an Uber self-driving car, equipped with a rooftop camera rig and hopefully not running anybody over. Plus, if you want to leave the party or exit a boring conversation, you can just say you've been hailed.Ray Lego
couple's costume neail degrasse tyson b.o.b.

Couple’s Costume: Neil Degrasse Tyson And The Flat Earth

How about dressing up as one of the most unlikely couples in science: Neil Degrasse Tyson and a flat Earth, inspired by the beef between Tyson and rapper B.o.B. earlier this year. Throw on a fake mustache and a smug smile, have your friend dress as a flat version of our planet, and have fun explaining the costume to everyone.B.o.B on Soundcloud
Pokémon Go Eggs

Rotten Pokémon Go Eggs

Ever since the Pokemon Go craze has died down, all those Pokemon in your phone are probably feeling lonely. When was the last time you took one to a gym battle? Or even just out for a walk with the buddy feature? Have you even checked on those incubating eggs? They're probably rotten by now. Remind everyone of the unsung victims of gaming trends by dressing up as a rotten Pokémon egg or a lonely, abandoned Pikachu.G. Clay Whittaker