Mardi Gras Costume Ideas

01
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Long-Nosed Venetian Masks

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Long-nosed Venetian masks are a symbol of decadence without consequences. Getty Images

While all masks impart the wearer to enjoy a level of anonymous decadence, the long-nosed Venetian mask lends an additional mischievous flair. The bird-like style of this mask dates back to the wild days of Venice when citizens of all social rank mingled and gambled the night away without consequence to their reputation. Talk about the ultimate party accessory. I'm thinking that this man, photographed at the 2003 Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, is up for some decadence​

02
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Creepy Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Mardi Gras has a dark side. And it isn't afraid to party at noon. Getty Images

Mardi Gras is also known as 'Carnival', which means 'to remove meat'. Once I found that out, I stopped wondering why so many Mardi Gras decorations and themes really give me the creeps. 'Let's go to the meat removal parade!'

There is a touch of mayhem and chaos that surrounds Mardi Gras, and this mask is a good example of that. I can't help but wonder what kind of hijinks this woman got into at the 2003 Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

03
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The Colors of Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Gold, green and purple, right down the the umbrella. Getty Images

The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green. These colors show up not only in decor, but all over Mardi Gras costumes of any theme. Purple stands for justice, green is for faith, and gold, just as in finance, equals power.

Here, a man attends the 2011 Mardi Gras parade with a powerfully faithful mask that really does him justice.

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Next photo, A Fantasy Mask...

04
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Fantasy Masks

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Masks are a must if you're into mischief. Getty Images

Paper mache masks were long worn in Venice to allow society the chance to be hedonistic without affecting their everyday lives. Paper mache is an ideal medium because it can be form-fitted to your face, and takes glue, stitching and punching very well. You could buy a plastic mask... but why?

Next photo, Crazy Themed Costumes...

05
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Themed Costumes

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Buddies of a feather flock together. And don't get lost in a crowd. Getty Images

While it's always fun to see Yoda holding hands with Sarah Palin, I have to admit that the most memorable event costumes are usually those done as a theme, either as a couple or a group (it's also a great way to keep track of your buddies in a crowd).

Grab four of your friends and start talking them into matching Michael Jackson costumes as soon as possible. It looks like these two flamingos, photographed at the 2011 Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, didn't need much convincing.

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Next photo, Vintage Mardi Gras...

06
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Vintage Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
1955 parade attendees rock the party old school. Getty Images

Plastic red cups might make it easier to party these days, but that doesn't mean they didn't know how to get down during the June Cleaver era. In 1955, this group of revelers was snapped in their Spanish-themed costumes at the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. Nifty!

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Next photo, Easy Group Costumes...

07
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Easy Group Mardi Gras Costumes

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Pick a color and stick to it for an easy group theme. Getty Images

While the gold, green and purple will get lost in the crowd, try a different set of colors for an instant group costume. Here on Bourbon Street in 2005, this group of revelers put together a set of easy costumes simply by sticking to patriotic colors.

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Next photo, Gold All Over...

08
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More Gold!

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Gold is always the trend color at Mardi Gras. Getty Images

So, purple stands for justice and green for faith, that's lovely. But gold is

power

and we're talking Mardi Gras. Everyone respects gold, and respect is likely what you'll retain if you keep your gold mask on all night.

Here, 2006 Excalibur Mardi Gras parade participant Crystal Blue straps on her gold Mardi Gras mask in Metairie, Louisiana.

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Next photo, I Think it's a Jellyfish...

09
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Mardi Gras Face Paint

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Mardi Gras Makeup. Getty Images

Masks not your thing? Well, you certainly can't get away with much, but I'll suggest face painting, anyway. Face painting is a great way to transform your persona without hiding the genius behind that sharp makeup job. I'm going to guess that this party animal from the 2011 Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans was either going for a mushroom or a jellyfish.

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Next photo, Hairy Chest and a Short Skirt...

10
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Gender Optional Mardi Gras Costumes

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Dressing in drag is no big deal at Mardi Gras. Getty Images

There is a lot going on at Mardi Gras. The parades are loud, the drinks are flowing, and women suddenly rely on the world's love of boobs to supply their cheap plastic bead needs. Amongst it all, drag seems, dare I say it; mundane.

Are you a guy that's always been curious but didn't have guts to do it? Then by all means, strap on a mask and your best gal's heels. Trust me, you won't be alone out there. In this photo, a masked drag diva stuts his stuff up to the 2011 Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

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Next photo, King of the Party People...

11
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Royal Costumes for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Costume Ideas
Royal costumes are all the rage, says Rex. Getty Images

The whole atmosphere of Carnival rings with a courtly theme. There are jesters, queens (and drag queens), street performers and the old fashioned past time of drinking till dawn. In the center of the storm is Rex, King of Carnival. I like to think that Rex is to Mardi Gras as Santa is to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. He's the joyful, decadent spirit behind all the revelry.

Ol' King Rex presides over the Rex Parade, the daytime procession of over-the-top floats that delight children and often greet me in my nightmares. Try out a royal costume by incorporating crowns, capes and boots. Here, Robert Monsted, Jr. portrays Rex in 2011.

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Next photo, A Face Full of Feathers...

12
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Feathered Masks

Feathered Mardi Gras Mask
Feathers turn any plain mask into something fantastic. Getty Images

While some masks look like long bird beaks, others chirp 'party' simply by the addition of feathers. Feathered masks are easy to make, if you know how to layer them right. I've completed a set of illustrations to make it easy for you.

Make a Feathered Mask

  • Make a Mardi Gras Mask
  • Mardi Gras Costume Ideas

Next photo, A Nose for Trouble...

 

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