Does your child love doing science experiments in the bathroom? Is she a huge Doc McStuffins fan? Or does he long to be a doctor when he grows up? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this 15-minute costume has you covered for Halloween.
Even better, it involves things you probably already have around your house. (In other words, it can cost you as little as ZERO to make!)
For the basic costume itself, you need only three items: a white plastic trash bag, a pair of sharp scissors, and a black permanent marker. Beyond that, you can accessorize however your child wishes, depending on which look they’re going for.
(Because of the plastic bag, this costume is best for kids ages 3 and up, and should go with a safety talk about not having plastic bags over one’s face. For kids under age 3, see the “Final Tips” section at the end.)
I got this idea from my friend Keisha, when I helped out with her boys’ science-themed birthday party a few years ago. Since the party involved actual scientific experiments (and the corresponding potential for mess), I made each child a “lab coat” out of a white trash bag. Each lab coat took only a few minutes, especially once I got the hang of making the cuts.
15-Minute Costume for Scientist/Doctor/Vet
1. Making the Lab Coat
The basic lab coat is actually more like a 5-minute job than a 15-minute costume; I added in the extra 10 minutes for accessorizing. If you don’t have white trash bags, you could also use an extra-large white shopping bag, turned inside out and with the logo-printed side on the back.
Once you have your clean white kitchen-sized trash bag, a sharp pair of scissors, and a black permanent marker, the steps for the lab coat itself go like this:
- Fold the trash bag in half vertically, with the closed end at top and the open end at the bottom.
- Make a diagonal cut several inches long along the closed end of the trash bag, starting at the crease and ending at the closed bottom seam of the bag. (This will make a shallow V-shaped opening for a head hole in the bag.)
- Make two shallow C-shaped cuts, one on each side seam of the bag, near the closed end of the bag. (These are the arm holes.)
- Spread the bag out on a flat surface, with the head hole (bottom seam of the bag) at the top. (If there’s any faint writing pre-printed on the bag, put that side face-down.) Using the marker, draw avertical line from top to bottom in the center of the bag.
- Draw small black circles, spaced several inches apart, along one side of the vertical line you drew in the previous set. (These are the “buttons” of the lab coat.)
- On the right side of the bag, draw a pocket with a tab at the top. Draw several “instruments” sticking out of the pocket (pens/pencils etc). Across the tab of the pocket, write “Dr.” and your child’s name.
2. Accessorizing your 15-minute costume
How you accessorize your child’s trash bag lab coat depends in part on what look they want to achieve. Here are just a few ideas, based on things you probably have around your house:
- Safety goggles or safety glasses
- Rubber gloves or long safety gloves
- A test tube, beaker-shaped glass, or similar lab accessories
- If you’re going for an Albert Einstein look, you could also add a bushy white wig and a white fake mustache (tape a few cotton balls over your kid’s upper lip)
- A face mask
- Vinyl or latex gloves
- A stethoscope, and/or a toy medical kit, such as the Fisher-Price Medical Kit
- Vinyl or latex gloves
- A stethoscope, and/or a toy veterinarian’s kit (here are several options under $25!)
- A stuffed animal or two
- If you find you’ve made one of the holes too big, no worries! Just gather up under the armpit/at the back of the neck, and use a piece of tape to hold the excess together.
- This costume will look best with a muted solid-colored shirt and solid-colored long pants underneath, NOT the hot-pink top and tie-dye T that Kimmie and Essie were wearing the day they modeled their lab coats for these pics.
- Want to make this costume for a toddler, but worried about having them put a plastic bag over their head? Just find an old white button-down shirt from a thrift store or Daddy’s closet, roll up the sleeves enough to work, and use that as your “lab coat” instead.
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So that’s it! What is YOUR fastest/easiest/lowest-cost DIY costume ever? Or can you think of even more inexpensive costumes to create with this basic white coat idea?
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36 thoughts on “Halloween DIY: 15-Minute Scientist/Doctor/Vet Costume (Cost=Free!)”
I love a good DIY halloween costume! This year might be a bit different but costumes like this make things just as fun 🙂
Agreed! My kids will ONLY be doing our church’s trunk-or-treat this year because I’m on the committee ensuring the safety protocols, so they will still need costumes – just not for door-to-door 🙁 .
Creative and affordable. Even if you have to buy just the Dr. kit! Good idea!
Glad you like it! And the doctor kit is of course useful well beyond Halloween 😉
Wow who knew a plastic bag and a sharpie could do so much 😉 Thanks for this amazing DIY!! Will save for next year!
i am going to save this for my daughter for next time.. she loves making/putting together her own costumes and has one already for this time
What cute ideas! I’ll have to show these to my niece, she loves science!
how simple and easy! I refuse to buy a store bought costume unless it’s something my kids will wear all day and even at that, won’t buy new. I love fun ideas like this. Makes it more personalized and creates memories for our little ones!
Absolutely to ALL of this – I couldn’t agree with you more!
I don’t have a costume yet for this year, maybe I’ll make one of these!
SO quick and easy 😉
This is very creative and affordable. I like that items found in your home can be used.
I’ve been thinking of DIYing my Halloween costumes, that would be super cool. Love the ideas.
What a great halloween costume idea – and so cheap and easy to make too! I love it!
This is such a great idea! I love how easy it is. I would have never thought of this.
Okay this is brilliant. I think it would be a fantastic way to keep kids clean especially when doing experiments! Will have to keep it in mind when my nephews come over!
I love all of your awesome DIY costumes. It seriously saves so much money!
What a great idea when you’re in need of a last minute plan.
So glad you liked it, Jennifer!
This is so cute! What a great idea!
*thanks,* Claire – so glad you like it! 🙂
These are a great idea for last minute costumes or anyone that loves DIY! I could see my son wanting to be a vet with all his stuffed animals lol. Great ideas! Thank you!
You’re more than welcome, Darcy – here’s to an easy vet getup for you if you can convince your son to go that route 😉
Soooo cute! I can’t wait to implement something like this when my boys are a bit older!
*Thanks* Natalie – glad to give you some food for thought for the future! 🙂
These are such nice ideas for costumes and they look fun and easy to make.
Thanks so much, Cecil – they really were quite easy (not to mention FAST and FREE!) 🙂
These are really great! I love how quickly and easily they come together and they look really good! Great ideas!
*thanks* so much, Mary Leigh – they look even better when your kiddo isn’t wearing hot pink or tie dye underneath (oops!), but this is one of the good things about trick-or-treating generally taking place after dark 😉 …
this is so stinking cute!
i love how easy it is, and cheap! but also still adorable and definitely not hard to understand!
*thanks* Joslynn – my kids think it’s so cute, they even dress up like this around the house sometimes 🙂
Do it yourself Halloween costumes are the best, in my humble opinion. They are always more original and creative (and frugal, too!)
I couldn’t agree more, Cat – not to mention way more fun! 🙂
Love this idea! Great that it’s so versatile you can use it for multiple professions! Homemade costumes always turn out the best.
Fab post. Great ideas! Always handy to know these tips for last minute costumes, too. I have three boys =) Thanks for this 🙂
*Thanks* Stacey – so glad you liked it! 🙂