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9.5 Last-minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Science Lovers

Are you ready for Halloween?

We rolled up our crafty (or nerdy) sleeves to bring you easy, fast, and environmentally friendly Halloween costume ideas for scientists and science lovers. Bonus- none of these costumes involves you with a lab coat.

Here are the 9.5 Last-minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Science lovers!

1. Operation Man

HalloweenIdeas_operationman1

Great for anatomists, surgeons, and medical students.

Time: 1 hour

Budget: <$10

HalloweenIdeas_operationman2

Materials:

  • 2 pieces of red felt
  • 2 pieces of white felt
  • scissors
  • velcro (optional) You can use the same kind used to hang posters
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • long sleeve tshirt

Instructions:

  1. Cut out the exterior shapes in red felt
  2. Cut out the interior shapes in white felt
  3. Attach velcro on the white felt and attach to red felt
  4. Using a pin or thread/needle, attach the red felt to the shirt

Extra notes:

Optional: cut out a piece of red felt and tape it on your nose, or go look for some red light-up nose things. Find a large set of forceps or tweezers and challenge your friends to play.

2. Immuno-goblin

HalloweenIdeas_immunogoblin

What did the antibody dress up for Halloween? Immuno-goblins!

Time: 1 hour

Budget: $2-$10

Materials:

  • Running sleeves, knee-high socks, or sleeves from old long-sleeve tshirts
  • 1 pieces of red felt
  • scissors
  • long sleeve tshirt (blue recommended)
  • black electrical tape or strip of fabric
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • Goblin ears or Yoda ears

Instructions:

  1. Pin or sew the extra set of sleeves to the blue shirt parallel to the sleeves (You will have “double” arms)
  2. Cut the red felt lengthwise in 3 inch strips
  3. Wrap the red felt around the cuff of both sleeves
  4. Put on some goblin ears (or Yoda ears)
  5. Place the black tape or fabric strip down the middle of your shirt

Extra notes:

For maximum effect, hold your arms in the Y formation for the entire evening.

3. Pumpkin Pi

HalloweenIdeas_pumpkinpi1

Everyone loves the classic autumn dessert and of course, our favorite irrational number.

Time: 10 min.

Budget: <$5

HalloweenIdeas_pumpkinpi2

Materials:

  • 1 piece of black felt (you can get self-adhesive ones)
  • scissors
  • Orange shirt
  • safety pins or some needle and thread

Instructions:

  1. Cut a “pi” letter out of black felt (pattern download here)
  2. Sew, pin, or stick the letter pi onto the most orange shirt you can find

Extra notes:

For extra pumpkin-ness, you can wear a green hat. If you don’t have a plain orange tee, you can turn it inside out.

4. Jellyfish

HalloweenIdeas_jellyfish1

For all our animal-loving friends. Also, did you know that the jellyfish is taking over the world as we speak?

Time: ~30 minutes

Budget: <$10

HalloweenIdeas_jellyfish3

Materials:

  • 1 clear umbrella
  • 2 pieces of mesh body wash (spa puffs)
  • scissors
  • string – shoelaces, old scarves, balloons
  • clips or clear tape
  • 2-3 twist ties
  • optional: glow tubes

Instructions:

  1. Cut the string tying spa puff, revealing a long strand of mesh
  2. Wrap/hang the mesh inside
  3. Clip/tape/attach any strings you have on the outer rim of umbrella
  4. Place glow tubes on top, fasten in place with twist ties

HalloweenIdeas_jellyfish2

Extra notes:

I have lots of those conference name badges saved up from various meetings. Look to see if you have the black kind with metallic clips. Those work really well. This one is really useful for a rainy Halloween, or for house parties without superstitious friends.

5. Streptococci

HalloweenIdeas_cocci_streptococci

Bacteria in chains:

Time: ~30 minutes if you have excellent lung capacity

Budget: <$5

HalloweenIdeas_cocci1

Materials:

  • 1 bag of balloons (kind for water balloons)
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • 4-5 feet of scrap thread or yarn

HalloweenIdeas_cocci2

Instructions:

  1. Blow the balloons (around 10)
  2. Tie the mouths of tied balloons together in a chain using the string
  3. Wrap the string of balloons around your torso

Extra notes:

You can repurpose your balloons to make a nice vase or juggling balls.

5.5. Staphylococci

HalloweenIdeas_cocci_staphylococci

Time: ~30 min.

Budget: <$5

HalloweenIdeas_cocci1

Materials:

  • 1 bag of balloons (kind for water balloons)
  • safety pins or some needle and thread

Instructions:

  1. Blow the balloons (around 15)
  2. Carefully, pin the mouth of the tied balloon to your shirt
  3. Repeat ad nauseum until you feel like a staphylococci

Extra notes:

You can repurpose your balloons to make a nice vase or juggling balls.

6. Streptobacilli

HalloweenIdeas_bacilli

Time: 30 min.

Budget: <$5

HalloweenIdeas_bacilli2

Materials:

  • 1 bag of balloons (kind for making balloon animals)
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • shirt

HalloweenIdeas_bacilli3

Instructions:

  1. Blow the balloons (around 3)
  2. Twist them into thirds
  3. Carefully, sew around the twist onto your shirt
  4. Repeat ad nauseum until you feel like streptobacilli

Extra notes:

You can make a balloon sword with the leftovers. Challenge your friends to a light sabre/sword fight.

7. Schrodinger’s cat

Time: 30 min

Budget: <$5

Materials:

  • 1 cardboard box
  • 1 stuffed cat (or cat costume)
  • 1 coin

Instructions:

  1. Dress up as cat and hold box, or put the stuffed cat into box

Extra notes:

Flip your coin whenever someone talks to you. If it’s heads, do nothing; if it’s tails, pretend to be dead.

8. Designer Genes

HalloweenIdeas_designerGenes2Time: ~1 hour

Budget: <$10

HalloweenIdeas_designerGenes

Materials:

  • 1 roll of solid colored ribbon 1/2″ thick or an old tshirt cut up spirally. ~6 feet
  • scrap pieces of fabric or pieces of felt
  • scissors
  • glasshead pins for temporary placement of the helix
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • pair of jeans

HalloweenIdeas_designerGenes3

Instructions:

  1. Divide the ribbon into two and twist it clockwise (the correct way) 4-5 times
  2. Lay the ribbon on jean leg and tack them to place using glasshead pins
  3. Sew or pin the helix in place
  4. Insert ladders and pin/sew them into place

Extra notes:

Make sure to try on the jeans to make sure the helix stays flat before you sew them on. Try to sew where the helix cross and also the parts furthest away from the cross.

9. “Unzipped” DNA (for couples)

Time: ~1 hour

Budget: $2-$10

Materials:

  • 2 rolls of solid colored ribbon 1/2″ thick or an old tshirt cut up spirally. ~20 feet
  • scrap pieces of fabric or pieces of felt
  • scissors
  • glasshead pins for temporary placement of the helix
  • safety pins or some needle and thread
  • 2 long sleeve tshirt

Instructions:

  1. Divide the ribbon into two and twist it clockwise (the correct way) 4-5 times
  2. Lay the ribbon on shirt sleeve and tack them to place using glasshead pins
  3. Towards the cuff, increase the space between the ribbon
  4. Sew or pin the helix in place
  5. Insert ladders and pin/sew them into place
  6. Repeat with second shirt

Extra notes:

You can be extra sweet with matching base pairs.

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Now, here’s what I want you to do:

Do you have other fun ideas? Tell us in the comments! If you end up with a scientific costume, share your awesomeness via twitter or facebook. If you like this post, please consider subscribing to get notifications for future posts and updates.

Now that your friends know all about your love of science, it might be beneficial to learn few tricks to explain your work better to your friends, family, and colleagues.  Here are some useful tips for a more professional PowerPoint Presentation, and Fonts that will add professionalism to your work.

Happy Halloween!

Special extra thanks to Asher for all his help putting the post together!

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Ikumi Kayama specializes in working with researchers, doctors, teachers, and publishers to create custom illustrations that makes modern science accessible and relevant. She also gives PowerPoint Design Tip seminars for the scientists and various illustration technique courses for the illustrators.

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More posts:

PowerPoint Tips for the scientist

5 Fonts that add professionalism to your research

8 Comments

  • elockettliz
    Posted 10/25/2013 11:16 am 0Likes

    These are fabulous!! I may go to our halloween event tomorrw as a streptobacilli.

    • ikumikayama
      Posted 10/25/2013 12:30 pm 0Likes

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like them. For the streptobacilli, you have to sew the twist onto a shirt otherwise they come untwisted. Let us know how it goes!

  • Julia
    Posted 10/25/2013 4:39 pm 0Likes

    I’m going to use the jellyfish one at the SVP costume contest. We can split the prize if I win!

    • ikumikayama
      Posted 10/26/2013 9:00 am 0Likes

      SVP has a costume contest? That sounds awesome. Good luck with the jellyfish costume =D!

  • Scott Jamieson
    Posted 10/26/2013 12:32 am 0Likes

    Operation Man is especially good if your Hallowe’en plans end with you passed out on the floor!

    • ikumikayama
      Posted 10/26/2013 9:01 am 0Likes

      I love it! You will probably end up with all the pieces taken out by the end of the evening.

  • wendymerron
    Posted 11/01/2013 10:40 am 0Likes

    I love the pumpkin pi!

    • ikumikayama
      Posted 11/01/2013 10:54 am 0Likes

      Thank you so much! I got few Halloween costume photos from my readers, so hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you. =)

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