Quick and dirty Hallowe’en costume for physics geeks

When I was considering with some friends what I could be for Hallowe'en this year, one of the ideas that emerged in a fit of brainstorming was "Schrödinger's cat".

To dress up as Schrödinger's cat, or more accurately, the Schrödinger cat thought experiment, you just need a cardboard box and a heavy marker. Use the marker to write "Contents: Schrödinger's cat. Warning: Do not observe." If you really want to get fancy, you can stick a cat doll inside the box to satisfy the people who ignore the warning. (Then you can scold them for collapsing the wave function.) Leave it ambiguous as to whether the cat is alive or dead.

As part of the brainstorming, I also blurted out the costume "Schrödinger's catbox". I have no idea what that would be, though. It just sounded surreal.

Ultimately, I decided that a cardboard box was simply too cheesy, so I dusted off my Nobel Peace Prize costume, which I wore this past weekend to a pumpkin-carving party.

Comments (10)
  1. Tom says:

    That reminds me of a friend’s (coincidentally also named Tom) halloween costume.  He dresed up in a burlap sack with back side painted white and the front side unpainted.  He carried a box of Frosted Mini Wheats with him, which he would eat from at various intervals during the night.  Nobody got his costume.  Some became even more perplexed when he claimed he was a cannibal.

  2. required says:

    Presumably the "Schrödinger’s catbox" is some sort of litter tray. If you could come up with one which you were never sure had been used you’d be onto a winner (somehow just putting it around a corner doesn’t seem to work, one can still smell that it has been used).

  3. anon says:

    In college, a bunch of us made up T-shirts with an entry from the periodic table on the front (so you were an "atom") and then went around as molecules by moving together in the right configurations… :)

  4. Puckdropper says:


    Now THAT is nerdy! :-)

  5. Tom says:

    I think Shroedinger’s Cat Box would be easy — does it have poo in it or not?  You have to look. :)

  6. Mike G. says:

    Go as Schrödinger’s Cat, and bring a Litterbox Cake for the festivities:


  7. Quantumghost says:

    I always envisioned a T-shirt that showed a large truck speeding away from a crushed box with a tire tread through the center and the caption: "Schrödinger’s Cat is DEAD!"  True geek humor.  I stopped telling people about it because I kept having to stop and explain exactly what Schrödinger’s Cat was and why it was such an important concept.

  8. ::Wendy:: says:

    Was Schrödinger’s Cat in Pandora’s box?

  9. ghbyrkit says:


    Even I, a 55 yr old ‘nerd’ who is rusty at his Calculus, could evaluate that definite integral without resorting to tables!

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