Carnival Costume Ideas

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Carnivals are an age old form of entertainment that is made more fun by dressing up as one of the performers. Whether created or purchased, carnival costumes of kings, queens, jesters, clowns and more are all part of the carnival. You can choose one of these to add to your own personal excitement and carnival experience or turn it into a Halloween or theme party costume.

The Jester

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A jester costume requires little or no sewing if you just choose the right pieces. To get started you’ll need a long, brightly colored tunic that falls to your mid thigh. Generally a jester wears purple, green and gold but you can choose the colors that most appeal to you. The jester shirt usually has a wide collar, which you can create with tissue paper that is stapled onto the shirt or by cutting a wide collar out of a colorful T-shirt and then stitching it onto the tunic. Pair this long top with black or colored tights or even tight fitting pants that match. Add colorful beads around your neck and wrists, add glitter and paint to your hair and face, and tie a couple bells onto your shoe laces. All you need now is a hat, which can be created by cutting the sleeves off a long sleeve shirt, stuffing them with the remains of the shirt and then sewing closed. Sew or pin the sleeves to the inside of a colorful ball cap and add bells to the bottoms.

The Clown

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A clown costume is easy, making it appealing to many who don’t want to have to sew to create a fantastic looking costume. Find grossly over-sized bright clothing (either borrow from a friend or buy from a thrift store). If you choose pants that are very large, consider picking up a pair of suspenders to keep them up. If you can’t find bright colored clothing, considered creating “patches” of bright colors by sewing vibrant pieces of fabric onto the ordinary clothing. Add big shoes to your baggy attire. You can buy clown shoes, wear shoes that are too big, or simply wear very colorful shoes, such as platforms. Accessorize further by adding funky colored socks, ties, bows and even belts. The more colorful and accessorized, the more fun you’ll have.

Face paint is an important part of being a clown. Usually, clowns have a white face, red cheeks and nose, high pointed eyebrows and large lips. Add colors, sparkle, and more when painting your face to give your clown look more depth and dimension. When your face is painted, finish your look off with a wig and hat. You can buy a wig at any costume shop or even in the toy department at a local toy store. Throw a hat or bow on top for a finishing touch.

King Costume

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For every queen of the carnival their needs to be a king. A king costume is really simple to create yourself. All you really need is a pair of dress slacks, dress shoes, and a bathrobe. Generally the best colors are purple, red or green. The robe can be adorned with sequins that can be hot glued on, or if you want to get a bit more colorful you can hot glue colorful pompoms on the cuffs and hems of the robe. This is a task that takes a bit of time but does not require any sewing. After this, simply shop at your local costume store and rent or buy a crown to top off the look.


Photo Credits

  • Jessica Isaac/Demand Media