Want to show off your Halloween spirit and that you are hip to the latest and best science news? Inverse is here to help, with the unequivocal list of top seven science costumes to wear in 2015, in no particular order:

  1. Water on Mars
  2. Homo Naledi
  3. Exploding Falcon 9 Rocket
  4. Zombie HitchBOT
  5. Matt “Tacky Hawaiian Shirt Rosetta Comet Guy” Taylor
  6. Lucky Palmer on the cover of Time
  7. The Epigenome

But, for you, the discerning trick-o-treater, which is the cream of the crop? How do you pull off this Sophie’s choice of festive science attire? Let us argue it out for you:

Ben Guarino: I vote for Zombie HitchBOT as best science costume. A vote for Zombie HitchBOT is both a vote for humanity’s irrational fear of things they do not understand, as well as for zombies. Plus, its little yellow galoshes are just so fucking stupid they’re adorable. I mean it was an immobile robot with rainboots. It deserved to die, and now it deserves to be remembered as an undead android.

Andrew Burmon: I respect Zombie HitchBOT because it’s also a subtle protest against the city of Philadelphia and the battery-throwers that live there. But I have to speak up on behalf of Matt Taylor. The reason I’m pro-Taylor is that the costume would be really comfortable. You can just buy the shirt here. And when anyone asks what’s up and you tell them, they’ll be like: “Oh, yeah, that was a thing.” Then they’ll think about how much time they spend online and get super sad. It’s haunting in an existential way.

BG: What I like about Taylor is that you can play it perfectly straight and no one will really know what you’re up to. Do you spend a lot of time sticking it to misogyny on Twitter? Are you pro-freedom of shitty sartorial taste? Did you just want to buy a weird, off-putting shirt? You could be all or none of these things.

Yasmin Tayag: Yeah, but good luck getting any girl to talk to you if you manage to find that godawful shirt, even if you do explain who Taylor is. Tits and firearms and science rarely a good conversation make.

Neel Patel: Every argument that isn’t for Water on Mars is just plain wrong. This was the Year of the Red Planet. Seriously people — NASA CONFIRMED FLOWING WATER ON MARS. You don’t get any bigger news than that, not to mention it’s probably the only costume on this list most people will “get” without a tiresome explanation of science that will undoubtedly put the room to sleep.

Even more importantly, this costume sets the stage for a Halloween favorite: aliens. Water on Mars means the possibility of life on Mars. So gather a bunch of your shitty friends around and make them dress up like extraterrestrials in whatever shape or form you want them too — they could actually just be big globs of green bacterial goo or whatever the fuck else you guys are into.

AB: Okay, Neel. I respect where you are coming from, but let’s talk logistics. Describe your costume.

BG: Neel. What’s there to “get” about Zombie HitchBOT? You are a dead robot. You are wearing yellow gloves and matching booties. Water on Mars is the type ofcostume that would get you a high-five from fanfic enthusiasts.

NP: Ben, you must be a hit at Halloween parties. Andrew, this is where Water on Mars gives you some degree of creative freedom. It can be a solid sphere made of construction materials; it could be a large red sweatshirt with blue strings attached; it could just be you holding up a red kickball with the word “Mars” taped on the front, and little blue streaks symbolizing water running down the sides; you could even just paint yourself red and apply water regularly.

BG: Color yourself red and apply water regularly? Nothing screams “yeah, you’ll definitely be invited back next year” like going as Carrie by accident.

YT: Real talk Neel. Water on Mars is exciting and all, but Homo naledi was a pretty huge discovery. And, it’s like, the easiest costume ever for hairy motherfuckers, or a really good excuse to skimp out on manscaping. You hardly even need clothing. All you need to do is stoop a bunch (but never on all fours — Naledi was probably bipedal) and occasionally hang from the ceiling. Maybe figure out how to pop bottle caps with your toes. Life of the party!

AB: Will anyone speak on behalf of Falcon rockets? Will anyone show sympathy to a wayward space mobile?

YT: I mean, you could go for the obvious: Wear silver lamé, cover yourself in burn marks, and drag a bunch of debris behind you. But going as Elon Musk and burning up wads of cash like you DGAF would pretty much the same thing, with a weird accent.

Winston Cook-Wilson: Look, I just wandered in here and know nothing about science, costumes, or even fun, but I think it’s clear that we’re in need of some mixing and matching here. If you asked me (a definite idiot) to pull something together, I would certainly rock with a Homo Naledi version of Matt Taylor, or just sit on my porch firing exploding fake zombie robots on rockets at trick-or-treaters as they toddle up my front path. You can cop everything you need at your local hobby shop (I don’t know if those still exist, but it’s all good). You want to be really creative? You have to think outside your rational scientist boxes and get it going with some cool, confusing mash-up costumes that will really repulse and irritate people.

AB: So, Palmer Lucky right?

YT: Mars water-soaked, Naledi-nude Palmer Lucky.


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