Making Mardi Gras Costume Magic Yourself: Do-it-yourself Ideas to Get You Started

Mardi Gras costumagicmes range from the minimal shorts and halter tops popular with young revelers to the intricate beauty of the handmade Mardi Gras Indians’ attire. Many people attending parades on Carnival Day dress somewhere in between the two extremes. When planning a costume, take the weather forecast into consideration. The best choices for costumes can withstand rainy or cold conditions without destruction.

Playing Cards

Use a white background to create a reproduction of a playing card. Paint the card on the front and the back of a white garbage bag with holes cut for the wearer’s head and arms. Or create a sandwich sign by drawing the card on two pieces of poster board and attaching wide ribbon straps at the shoulders and ties at the sides.

A group can dress as different cards in a single suit or a winning poker hand. My family consisted of my parents as the King and Queen and we four daughters as the aces. Have fun choosing the card designations and get a head start on the festivities.

As an alternative, draw a domino, substituting pips for suit and number on the costume medium.


Hand stitch strips of white fake fur from the edge of the hood down the back of a solid black hooded windbreaker or fleece-lined hoodie. Hang a “tail” of lengths of black and white fake fur from the bottom back. Black and white face makeup completes the look. Carry a plastic jug of water marked “Eau de Skunk” as an accessory that also comes in handy for a drink between parades. We called ourselves “The L’il Stinkers.”


Sew a tube of gray fabric, approximately two feet long and one inch in diameter. Stuff the tube lightly with cotton and close both ends. Attach to the center top of the hood of a solid gray windbreaker or hoodie. Cut oversized ears from gray plastic or cardboard. Carry a bag of peanuts in the shell.

The Mummy

Rolls of gauze bandage come in handy to create a mummy costume. Attach the strips of gauze over tan, gray or white sweatpants and long-sleeved tee or sweatshirt. To finish the look, apply white or gray face makeup and wrap gauze around the head. Leave a few ends of the gauze protruding throughout the costume and head dress to flutter in the breeze for extra creepiness.


Make sure that any costume provides a means to eat during the day and take in fluids. Allow for bathroom visits, too.

Face paint provides a safer disguise than a mask. A mask can block vision and lead to injury.

In a pinch, wear flannel pajamas and go as a sleepwalker!