Historical Costume Ideas
If you’re looking to get some inspiration for your next great costume idea, sometimes it’s best to look to the past. History is bound to repeat itself, and Historical Costumes are always a popular theme no matter what year it is. Here’s a quick rundown of our favorite costumes in this theme that you can use to get the look you want.
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The Age of the Pharaohs is probably the most ancient era that gets a lot of attention in the costume department. Royal ancient Egyptians were known for their love of gold jewelry, flowing garments, and for being one of the earliest civilizations to make use of makeup – all of which make it a great theme for costume ideas. We’d also like to take a moment to share with you the greatest usage of Egyptian themed costumes ever recorded (if you know anyone who isn’t into pro wrestling, there’s no way that clip won’t change their mind).
None of our Egyptian costumes will lend its wearer the completely legitimate hypnosis skills and even more legitimate dance moves exhibited in the video above, but they all look great. Pharaoh costumes let you rule your Halloween with the might of the Great Sphinx, and Cleopatra costumes are an awesome sexy costume idea for women. There are tons of variations on this idea, too, all infinitely accessorize-able with gold shoes, asp-like armbands, and more.
Of course, Egyptian costumes are also known for their importance in the world of classic horror. The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff, was released in 1932 and gave us one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time. Linen wraps and bandages are pretty simple to imitate on your own, but there are always more complicated variations to be made, like this sexy mummy costume, for example. Cleo de Nile from Monster High is a character that combines the mummy and Egyptian queen looks into one costume.
Ancient Greek and Roman Costumes
Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome were obviously two different cultures, but there is a lot of overlap. The two did exist around the same period, circa 7th Century B.C. to 7th Century A.D., and are often grouped as the age of “Classical Antiquity.” Plus, nobody at a costume party in the year 2015 is going to dissect the historicity of your costume on that level, anyway. (We’re a costume shop, not a university.)
Anywho, we’ve found that sometimes, bed sheet togas just aren’t good enough. If you want to live the legit Greek lifestyle, you’re going to need something better. Don’t just live like a king – live like a god. The Greek goddess Athena is an excellent choice for women, and you can just as easily pass it off as Aphrodite, Hera, Artemis, or any other mythological deity. Guys can dress like the Roman Emperor Caesar, who wasn’t a god, but definitely acted like one (until the whole murder thing happened). Gladiators, Centurions, and other ancient fighters – especially that lovable Leonidas scamp from Sparta – all make excellent costumes that anyone can enjoy.
Pilgrim and Colonial Costumes
Next up in our historical costume timeline are the 17th and 18th Centuries – specifically, the American Pilgrims and the Colonial era. Obviously, Pilgrim costumes are really best suited for Thanksgiving, but there’s no reason they can’t function equally as well for Halloween. This is America, dangit. Besides, Pilgrim hats are all the rage now, thanks to Pharrell.
As for Colonial costumes, that’s more of a Fourth of July thing. Ben Franklin and George Washington were both founding fathers, but we’re really just more interested in those sweet powdered wigs. The 1700s is also the time period in which Assassin’s Creed III took place, which technically makes Connor fair game for Revolutionary War reenactments.
Also, as long we’re on the subject of the Americas, we should give a mention to Civil War costumes, too. We’re well aware that the majority of hardcore Civil War reenactors typically make their own period clothing from scratch, but these more than suffice for the casual enthusiast or for those looking for an old-timey Halloween costume. Plus, thanks to movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and just general assortments of weird stuff on the Internet, Honest Abe has been given new life as an always-applicable Halloween costume option. Zombify your Abraham Lincoln costume with some makeup and fake blood, or give the same treatment to Robert E. Lee and a horde of Confederate soldiers — that’ll really give a new meaning to “the South will rise again” (by the way, we can’t believe that wasn’t used for the Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies tagline).
Medieval and Renaissance Costumes
With summer coming up, more and more Renaissance fairs are starting to enter their peak seasons, and if you live in an area that’s pretty warm year-round, chances are you’ve already heard of, seen, or been to one around you. Renaissance fairs and Medieval festivals are the reason why Renaissance costumes are probably the most widespread and most popular time period as far as historical costumes go.
From a strictly historical standpoint, the Medieval Era (also known as the Middle Ages) and the Renaissance Era are really two distinct time periods with distinct fashions – the former consisted of the few centuries immediately preceding the latter. However, lots of Renfaires either use the two terms in conjunction with one another, or interchangeably, anyway. When it comes to just stepping out and having some fun wearing costumes, what’s a couple hundred years between friends, anyways?
Whether you’re a knight in shining armor readying to steel yourself for a contest of jousting, or you’d rather see yourself among the common folk and barmaids at the Renaissance feast, our collection of Renaissance costumes has something for you. If you want to learn more about Renaisssance faires, Renaissance costumes, and what people actually wore during the Renaissance period, we probably can’t explain it any better than we already have. This article has everything you need to know.
If you liked this post and want to see more like it, tell us which costume themes you want us to talk about next! Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @BuyCostumes, or on our Facebook page. Check us out on Pinterest for more costume ideas, too.