7 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes For Science Lovers

It's not too late to upstage those smug Doctor Who fans.

Tired of sci-fi, but still want to embrace your inner geek? We’ve got you covered with these super-last-minute ideas that distill scientific concepts, people, and creations into wearable form. After all, if there is a holiday that allows—even encourages—oversimplifying complexity, it’s Halloween.

Higgs Boson

Modify your Greek god costume using hot glue to secure small pieces of particleboard to a sheet. Fashion the sheet into a toga, and don a wig fit for a god. (Unless you’re naturally gifted with such god-like locks.) You’re the god of particles—the God particle.

What you’ll need: small pieces of particleboard, hot glue, sheet, white wig, thunderbolt, crown

Dark Matter

While proving its existence is difficult, dressing up as dark matter isn’t quite as tricky. Gather as many dark-hued mats as possible (door, place, yoga, car, floor—to name a few) and wear a name tag with the name “Matt” on it. Wear all black and affix said mats to your person. (This is what you get for waiting until the last minute.) Before you head out for the night, read up on the hunt for dark matter and impress trick-or-treaters with your knowledge of theoretical physics.

What you’ll need: several dark mats, name tag

Particle Collider

You know those giant underground rings that accelerate hydrogen molecules to near-light speed, only to slam them into each other? Well, they’re basically the same thing as a hula-hoop. OK, not really, but on Halloween, your hula-hoop becomes the Large Hadron Collider and the beads inside become hydrogen molecules. Wrap it in tinfoil or wires to give it that experimental look, and use string to keep it around your waist at all times.

What you’ll need: hula-hoop, wire, tinfoil, string

Water Molecule

This ubiquitous three-atom substance is an easy group costume for the scientifically inclined family of three. Each parent plays the roll of a hydrogen molecule, wearing matching shades of light blue (or any color of your choosing, but since this is water, after all…). Dressed in a darker shade of blue, a child or pet is the oxygen to which the two hydrogen bind.

What you’ll need: two matching blue outfits, child or pet


This once-dominant smartphone brand is now all but dead—perfect for Halloween. Draw the BlackBerry logo onto a shirt, paint your face with zombie makeup, and add blood for effect. It might be dead, but all good Halloween costumes are.

What you’ll need: old shirt, permanent marker, zombie makeup, fake blood

Marie Curie

She is one of the most famous scientists of the early twentieth century, and her study of radiation paved the way for countless subsequent advances. It was Marie Curie’s dedication to science–and prolonged exposure to radioactivity–that likely killed her. To emulate Curie, dress in a modest, simple dress, wear a lab coat, and carry glow sticks in your pockets to represent the test tubes of radioactive isotopes. If you want to go all out, you can apply glow-in-the-dark face paint or nail polish.

What you’ll need: lab coat, glow sticks (Optional: face paint, nail polish)

Red Tide

Caused by the sudden population boom of reddish-brown algae, this phenomenon occurs both naturally, and in recent years from human activity. Agricultural runoff is one of the main sources of red-tide-producing algae blooms. Dress in all red and wear the Tide detergent logo on your chest. If you want to wear a blue or red cape to add some motion to your ocean, go ahead.

What you’ll need: red clothing, printed or cutout Tide logo (Optional: red or blue cape)