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Ancient Egypt has long fascinated later scholars. When the first Europeans began exploring north Africa they saw and marveled at the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid. By the 18th century, historians and tomb-raiders began finding many artifacts. Some of those early diggers weren't as careful as modern science could wish, and damaged or destroyed many objects. But the art, writings and architecture they found gave glimpses of some of the most intriguing figures in history. Nefertiti. Hatshepsut. Tutankhamen. Cleopatra. 

At first the hieroglyphic writings were a puzzle. They were unlike any other system of writing ever known, and scholars had no way to translate them. Then, in 1799, a French soldier discovered the Rosetta Stone. The carved stone was a proclamation made in 196 BC at Memphis. It showed three versions of the same text: in hieroglyphs, in Demotic script, and in ancient Greek. Here, finally, was a translation key! Since then Egyptologists have been able to interpret most of the hieroglyphs that still exist. They can tell us a lot about how the ancient Egyptians lived.

Scholars know from their art what the ancient Egyptians wore. We carry a wide range of costumes patterned after those period illustrations, in sizes and styles for the whole family. You can become a specific historic figure, such as Cleopatra, or a generic ordinary citizen. Ancient Egyptian society was unique in its time, in that women's legal status was equal to men's. Why that was, nobody quite knows. But women could, and did, perform almost any social role. The only possible exception was in religion.

Egypt was and is a desert climate. So clothing was usually light-colored, and skimpy by modern standards. Men and women alike often went topless, especially in the lower social classes. (We don't recommend that in most situations--at least for women!) They used lightweight, often sheer, fabrics such as linen and, after the time of Alexander the Great, cotton. They knew about wool, but considered animal fibers taboo so rarely used it. Wealthy people might have had a wool overcoat or cloak, but would not have been allowed to wear it into any temple or sanctuary. The linen was most often used in its natural unbleached color, though they had plant-based dyes to produce red, yellow or blue threads. They also sometimes bleached their fabric by simply laying it out in the hot sun.

If you live in an area where Halloween is likely to be cold and you plan to wear your costume outdoors, you face a challenge. If your goal is historical accuracy, you could wear a cape or cloak. 

What if you want to be an Egyptian warrior--what kind of weapon should you choose? The primary weapons the ancient Egyptians used were spears and bows & arrows. They did NOT use long swords like the Romans and later peoples did. So if you're trying for historical accuracy, don't pick a sword. Some soldiers would carry a dagger or a "sicklesword" with a short, curved blade for close-in fighting. But in general they preferred to engage their foes from a distance, launching their arrows and spears from chariots. If your deepest desire is to wield a long sword, perhaps choose to be a Roman or Spartan soldier, not an Egyptian one.

But what about mummies? We can't talk about ancient Egypt without mentioning mummies! Though they're now the stuff of horror films, to the Egyptians they were sacred. In their religion, the pharaoh, some nobles and a few commoners could live on in an afterlife with the gods. The catch was, they could only do that if their bodies were preserved after death. The earliest mummies were probably accidental, but Egyptian embalmers developed elaborate methods and rituals. In addition to mummification, the body had to be buried along with food and household items to use in the afterlife. Only the wealthiest could afford to guarantee themselves an afterlife. Europe became fascinated with mummies when Napoleon's soldiers excavated the first ones in the late 1700s. The rise of Gothic fiction in the 19th century gave mummies a firm place in pop culture.

So, you can choose whether to be a straightforward historical Egyptian, or a horror-film mummy. Whatever your choice, we have a costume you'll love!

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Egyptian Costumes

Egyptian Costumes: Ideas, Tips & Tricks

With such a plethora of costume choices out there, it can be difficult to find the themed costume that's perfect for you. Do you want go as a famous celebrity from the tabloids, or perhaps you pick something from your favorite movie? You could always dress as a trendy superhero. Maybe you want to go with something historical, but the Renaissance just isn't your thing. Those options are all fine and good, but why not give something that's historical and turns you into godly figure from the Egyptian mythology? We think it's one of the most interesting times in history, so it makes for a unique look at your next costume party. When you choose a costume that's inspired by ancient Egypt, you get to be a pharaoh and they were often considered to be gods among men. You also get to wear some gold swag and cool headpieces while you do it! Why don't you check out some of the great ways that you can transform yourself into a famous ruler from the history books with some of the great examples below. We've got a list of our favorite rulers from history, like Cleopatra and King Tut, along with some really great costumes to represent those figures. We even listed out some must-have accessories that you can pair with your costume.

Famous Kings and Queens of Ancient Egypt

Let us take you back to the ancient world of the Egyptians! It's a world of wonder, where sphinxes and pharaohs plastered the landscape, or at least their hieroglyphics were on the walls of their buildings, anyway! Just step inside of our time machine… okay, so maybe we don't actually have a real time machine (we have top scientists working on it), but just read on to discover more about the famous pharaohs and leaders of their time. Everyone has heard of King Tut, mummies and the Great Pyramids of Giza, but perhaps it's time to explore some of the other greats of their time for costume inspiration. The history of Egypt is full of great queens of renowned, along with extravagant kings! Their stories are full of intrigue, soap opera style betrayal stories, and of course, some really awesome outfits. Those kings and queens of the ancient world really did know how to dress, complete with lavishly colored robes and dazzling jewelry. Let's check out some of our favorite costumes based on those figures, from the slightly scandalous Queen Cleopatra to the stoic and long living King Ramses II.

Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti

Much about this Egyptian Queen's history is still shrouded in mystery! Archaeologists discovered her beautiful bust back in 1912, but tracking down her fate has proved to be a difficult quest. What we do know about her, is that she was immensely beautiful (her name actually means "a beautiful woman has come"), she was married to Amenhotep III's son, and according to some existing hieroglyphics, the two seemed to be very much in love. She also took over rulership of Egypt for around 14 years and she was King Tut's mother-in-law. She was definitely a very busy woman during her life! If you're planning on a dressing like a woman of extreme power, then we think that Nefertiti is one of the best ways to go.

We've selected this Egyptian Goddess costume as the perfect women's costume to represent the beautiful Nefertiti. Although it's not exactly a historically accurate representation, the look conveys a modern sense of style with a few fashion choices that are inspired by ancient Egyptian queens. The collar also resembles the necklace commonly associated with her! When you wear it, you'll definitely feel like a girl who's in charge of the world.

Queen Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra

Everyone knows of the exploits of Queen Cleopatra! She was the vastly intelligent ruler of Egypt, who married her young brother, Ptolemy XIII (that was the norm for Egyptian royalty). She wasn't very happy with this arrangement, so she tried to seize full control over the throne. Realizing she needed a little help to accomplish this task, she famously smuggled herself into Julius Caesar's place by hiding inside of a rolled up rug. She greatly impressed Caesar and the two became fast allies and lovers. Eventually, after her lover's assassination at the hands of his own allies, Cleopatra ended up with Marc Antony, the famous Roman general. Her life finally ended when Octavian declared war on her and Marc Antony. Not wanting to be captured, she poisoned herself to avoid becoming Octavian's prisoner. Now, doesn't that sound like a story straight out of a soap opera? Or Shakespeare…

Our adult Cleopatra costume inspired by the famous queen combines a regal style that combines both Cleopatra's beauty and wisdom into one Egyptian inspired outfit. We don't recommend hiding in any rolled up rugs while wearing it (historians still argue about whether or not she actually accomplished this feat), but taking a boat cruise down the Nile (or closest river) is a must. It's both beautiful AND it has a subtle sense of modesty, perfect for any woman stepping into the role of queen of Egypt.

King Tut

King Tut

Maybe King Tutankhamun could never have predicted that flappers would be doing the Charleston to a pop song about him, but then again, who knows what those crazy ancient kings thought about the future. Howard Carter found the untouched tomb in 1924 and grandiose images of the lavish king. Soon after, the entire world started going stark crazy for the Egyptian king! Rumors about a deadly curse spread through the world, even though there wasn't a single drop of proof to back it up. New music crazes popped up. People even started using hieroglyphics in their every day fashion. He may have been over 3,000 years old, but he certainly left his mark on popular culture. Seeing as he was just a kid when he rose to power, we think it's pretty fitting that he influence pop culture on his second time around through the world. Of course, he met an untimely end, which historians are still debating to this day. Some think he fell victim to a hippo attack, while others seem to believe he had a rare blood disease. Either way, our modern views into ancient Egypt have been shaped by this boy king.

This King Tut costume will help you play the role of the ancient king. Now, our model in the picture is probably a little old and a little too buff to match the original king, but we've taken a little liberty with how to portray him. And we think King Tut would approve of the artistic change we've made. If you want to rule over all of your subjects, we suggest you start here.

King Ramses II

King Ramses II

Revered as one of the greatest men to rule over Egypt, Ramses II enjoyed a reign of over 60 years. Yes, this was a man who lived a long and full life, and one of the few people who can really say that he did it all. Don't believe us? Well, just look at some of his accomplishments. He successfully defeated sea pirates in a naval battle. He commanded various campaigns of war during his rule. He experienced the Sed festival, an ancient rite that transforms a pharaoh into a living god after 30 years of rule. He built statues and monuments all over his country. He changed the capitol city. He had many wives and kids. He made Egypt rich. Some people even think that he was the biblical character from the Exodus story, but there's no historical evidence to back that claim. If you want to be the greatest king that Egypt has even known, then you probably want to be Ramses II.

We've picked out this King of Egypt costume to represent the enlightened ruler. This one comes with shimmering gold accents along with various small touches that we think Ramses might have worn, were he around today. Of course, not everyone has the bank roll of a pharaoh, so this uses faux gold and jewels in its jewelry and accessories. That means you don't have to spend every last penny to make yourself look like a ruler of the ancient world.

Egyptian Costume Accessories

Old pharaohs knew about swag. After all, they built those giant pyramids just to make sure the world would keep remembering how awesome they were, thousands of years after their death. Their desire for gold and jewels didn't stop there! They (at least the ruling class) were known for wearing ornate headpieces, golden jewelry and tons of other great accessories. If you plan on being an Egyptian king or queen, then you'd better have some really great swag to go with your costume. We've included a list of our four favorite pieces of swag to add to your look. From staffs to jackal shaped masks, we have an item for any look.

Egyptian Staff

Egyptian Staff

Ruling all of Egypt takes a little more than just royal bloodline and strong leadership skills. You need a symbol of your absolute power, like this Egyptian staff. This costume accessory incorporates the ankh into its design, which is a symbol often associated with life. We have to say, we're pretty big fans of life and Egyptians were too. They liked life so much, they went through the process of embalming their bodies so they could reunite with they body for an afterlife. This staff is something we imagine a king, a queen or a great priest would carry around their temples. This staff probably won't grant you any sort of eternal life or anything, but it does look great with any of our Egyptian costumes.

Gold Snake Armband

Gold Snake Armband

Snakes were all over the place in Egypt. We can only imagine what Samuel L. Jackson would have to say about that. It should be no surprise that this golden snake armband has a very "ancient Egyptian" feel to it. If you plan on ruling over the masses, then you need to have your fair share of bling. That's a fact that hasn't changed much throughout the years! From Queen Cleopatra, to modern day pop culture moguls; they all were some shining jewelry to round out their look. That's why this snake armband makes for a great look to any regal style involving the ancient Pharaohs. Its shimmering gold look is sure to make you look a step above the rest.

Anubis Mask

Anubis Mask

In ancient Egypt, Anubis was the god of the dead. He was the guy you need to talk to after you kicked the bucket, so you could successfully pass on to the afterlife. He was also in charge of guiding souls, weighing the heart and he was strongly associated with mummification. Even the ancient embalmers used Anubis masks during their ceremonies in preparing dead bodies for the afterlife. We also happen to think he's one pretty cool guy, since he's part jackal, part god. This Anubis mask we have might not be quite the same as the ones worn by the old embalmers, but we think this one might be a little more comfortable to wear while attending parties! It's easy to take on and off, easy to breath in and, most importantly, you can enjoy drinks and snacks quickly by taking it on an of. We think the ancient embalmers would have enjoyed one of these.

Egyptian Khopesh Sword

Egyptian Khopesh Sword

Tons of cultures associated the sword with royalty and, unsurprisingly, ancient Egyptian rulers had their own take on the sword. It had a slightly hook shape and is thought to have evolved from the Egyptian axe known as the epsilon. The Egyptian Khopesh saw some use, but rose to become a common symbol of the Pharaoh. Most leaders were buried with a ceremonial or ornamental version, which wasn't used for battle as much as a cool symbol to be buried with. If you plan on solidifying yourself as the undisputed Pharaoh of the party, then you may want to consider bringing one of these along with you. You could even have it buried with you when you enter the great beyond, but we'll leave that decision up to you. Oh, and one last thing. Remember that this thing is ceremonial, so don't go around thwacking your subjects with it!

Famous Egyptian Quotes

"I will not be triumphed over." -Cleopatra

"To be satisfied with a little is the greatest wisdom." -Pharaoh Akhenaten

"Examine what is said, not him who speaks." -Ancient Egyptian proverb

"So let it be written. Let it be done." -Ramses II in The Ten Commandments