Halloween is sneaking up! The yearly excuse to dress up exactly as you like (with no judgment) has many of us bubbling over with excitement. Feel the need to sport a Tarzan look? Want to dress up like Marge Simpson? Get ready to be the hit of the party.
Halloween is celebrated so enormously in the U.S. that it has become—according to millions of Americans—the “greatest celebration of the country.” It has a subculture unto itself. Americans of all ages wholeheartedly participate in Halloween, with 86% of households decorating their homes and an average spend (on costumes, candy and décor) of $75 in the last week of October. Candy sales in the country amount to more than $2 billion (more than 600 million tons of candy).
And now, over the last 25 years, Halloween has become increasingly popular around the world.
Whether you’re looking forward to the Jack-o-lanterns, scary movies or the costumes, Halloween is a fun event to get creative. How about that costume party? Or how about taking your kids trick-or-treating? If you don’t already have the perfect costume picked out, we have a list that might surprise you.
Last-minute costume crunches can spoil some of the fun of Halloween. You want your costume to be as awesome as you are—and that doesn’t generally happen the night before you need a costume.
Below, we’ll share some inspiration for fun and creative Halloween costumes with a touch of lab wear. Have you stopped to think how many pop culture doctors, mad scientists and fan favorites there are? Keep reading to see which labcoat-wearing characters you can be this year.
P.S., Halloween is not just for Americans
Before we get too deep into costume ideas, let’s be clear: Halloween is going global. First of all, Halloween started in Ireland and Scotland. And second of all, with all the Halloween movies and pop culture references, you’ll find trick-or-treaters and Halloween parties today in every corner of the world. For instance, in 2016, 46% of U.K. residents spent a total of £310 million on Halloween costumes, candy and the like.
Even if Halloween isn’t a long-standing holiday where you live, you can make an event of it. Here’s your snapshot of Halloween history to get started:
- Halloween is celebrated on October 31st and is one of the world’s oldest holidays
- Its origins (about 2,000 years ago) date back to the Celtic festival of Samhain
- The holiday was celebrated in an area spreading over what is is now Ireland, the U.K., and northern France
- The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, and the belief was that the night before marked when the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth
- To satisfy the spirits, the Celts would build huge bonfires and wear costumes, typically made of animal parts
- In 43 AD, the Romans invaded Celtic territory, and Samhain was complemented by adjoining Roman festivals
- By 1000 AD (and with the spread of Christianity), the Celtic rites were replaced with Christian celebrations, for instance All Souls Day on November 1st, also known as All Hallows Eve
- It wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century that Halloween became widespread in America
- In the last 25 years, Halloween has been gaining steam ground all over the world
How to look good in a lab coat with these Halloween costume ideas:
Now that we’re done with our history lesson, it’s time to dive into some creative Halloween costume ideas. Our suggestions will revolve around popular and beloved movies and TV series characters who were either doctors or scientists—good guys, bad guys, you name it. We’ll top it all off some general science costume ideas, too.
Dr. Dana Scully: The X-Files
Dr. Dana Scully is a FBI Special Agent, a doctor, and a scientist. Besides being an incredibly smart, capable and honest woman, who could deny that stylish and sophisticated look when she wears the white lab coat and puts extraterrestrial science to the test?
To dress up as Dr. Dana Scully, you will need a lab coat for women, a faux scalpel, a test tube and some science glasses. If you want to dress up as Scully in her first years in the series, a voice recorder should accompany your outfit.
Robert Neville: I Am Legend
Dr. Robert Neville is anything buy your ordinary scientist. He is a virologist that uses his expertise to conduct experiments to cure the Krippin Virus. What makes him more than an average scientist is his skill with choice weaponry. Though, when he is inside his underground lab, wearing his doctor jacket and conducting experiments on Darkseekers, no one can deny that he looks like a pretty typical scientist working for the greater good (although, at that point in the film there aren’t too many humans left to help).
If dressing as Robert Neville is your pick for Halloween, what you’ll need is a doctor lab coat, white latex gloves, a syringe, and perhaps some accessories like a watch to know when it’s time to search for survivors (Neville was broadcasting every midday to find survivors).
Dr. Emmett Brown: Back to the Future
Who doesn’t love Doc Brown! He’s a scientist and inventor, he names his pets after world-changing thinkers like Einstein and Copernicus, and he made a time machine out of a DeLorean. Doc Brown’s eccentric look, with his crazy hair and scientist lab coat, is a great outfit for Halloween because it is so, so recognizable.
If you want to look like Dr. Brown on Halloween, all you need is a scientist lab coat, a wig or a crazy hair look with your own locks, science goggles, lots of pens in your front pocket, and a badge holder.
Rick Sanchez: Rick and Morty
Who doesn’t remember Rick? He’s a genius scientist who has invented all kinds of crazy things, including portals to different dimensions, microverse batteries and time freezers. He is also a heavy drinker, a nihilist, is dominant over his grandson Morty, and he definitely doesn’t do well with boredom and routine. That tall, skinny old man look with gray-blue hair inside a lab jacket—holding any number of bizarre gadgets—can be a great choice for Halloween. Your mates or family members can even dress up as Beth, Summer and Morty (Rick’s family) and make up for a great Halloween set for all.
If Rick Sanchez is who you want to look like this Halloween, you’ll need a white lab coat, some face makeup to age yourself if necessary, a wig, and some futuristic gadget to hold onto. Just don’t pull a “Rick Sanchez” at the Halloween party—he really is an excessive burper.
Dr. Grace Augustine: Avatar
Grace Augustine is a scientist (specifically, a xenobotanist) in charge of the Avatar program. She is an intelligent woman who has dedicated her life to studying and eventually protecting the Na’ vi and the plants of Pandora. Her appearance emits professionalism, deep love and respect for her work and the Na’ vi, and even self-sacrifice to protect the Na’ vi from hardship and exploitation.
If you want to dress up as Dr. Grace Augustine, you’ll need a white lab coat for women, some face makeup to age yourself if needed, a red wig, some neck accessories, pens and glasses in your front pocket, a green blouse, and some gray pants or jeans.
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: The Muppets
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew—now that’s an interesting outfit for Halloween! Dr. Bunsen is our beloved scientist from the Muppet Show, and a brilliant inventor. He invented the electronic pet converter, the electric sledgehammer, the edible paper clips, and many more!
Dressing as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew is an all-time classic disguise for Halloween. It can be a great idea for couples Halloween costumes, too, if someone is up for playing Beaker.
To dress as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, you’ll need a white lab coat, a tie, glasses, and a green mask or face makeup.
Victor Frankenstein: Frankenstein
Well look at that, if it isn’t a real classic among Halloween costumes! The well-known Dr. Frankenstein (not his monster) is an ingenious scientist obsessed with the concept of reawakening the dead. This obsession—creating life from a corpse—undeniably destroys his life. Any costume can take a spin on this part of the story for an added “spooky” effect. Exactly what you need for Halloween, right?
Frankenstein's outfit has seen some great variations on the screen over the years due to different film directors’ ideas. Here, we’ll talk about the lab wear of Dr. Frankenstein. You’ll need a long white lab coat, black pants, black gloves, and perhaps a Frankenstein mask for whomever is accompanying you on Halloween night.
Q: James Bond
No list of incredible scientists in pop culture (who merit imitation by Halloween costume) would be complete without Q. His nickname stands for "Quartermaster," but by all he has be known forever as Q, the head of Q Branch—the research and development division of the British Secret Services in the James Bond series.
To dress up as Q this year on Halloween, you have some choices, because actor portrayals of him have spanned young to old. Pick out your designer lab coat and see what Bond-worthy gadgets you can carry on you to leave some lasting impressions this year on Hallows Eve.
General science ideas and costumes using lab coats for children
Have a lab coat in your closet already, or want to do something science or medicine-inspired?
Using your imagination, you can create your own custom costume with a Dr. James lab coat and draw plenty of attention while looking and feeling good this Halloween. Maybe a mad nurse costume will be the most popular Halloween costume at the party this year, who knows?
When it comes to kids, all the ideas above can, of course, work for them! Going for a famous pop character costume from a favorite movie or TV series (or an improvised costume with a science theme) just requires a children's lab coat, a few accessories, and some makeup.
Did we forget your favorite character? Let us know. And Happy Halloween!