"Undead" beings have fascinated humans since the first time anyone came up with the idea of an afterlife. Similar creatures appear in the folklore of many cultures, but the word "vampire" did not appear until the late 1600s. Details vary with time and place, but a vampire is usually the restless spirit of some deceased person. The spirit returns, inhabits a body (their own or that of someone else), and feeds upon the living. In many legends, the vampire feeds on blood. In some it feeds on life energy by causing a disease such as tuberculosis, then called "consumption."
Do vampires actually exist? No human knows for sure. For obvious reasons nowadays, vampires try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. So, in whatever era they lived, they wore the same kind of clothing as ordinary people.
The earliest European folklore described vampires as hideous. Their bloated faces had reddish or dark purplish skin, and they wore a linen burial shroud. They couldn't help doing what they did, and also couldn't hide their existence. If you want to be a scary, creepy vampire, that's the way to go. Our "night fiend" and Nosferatu costumes and masks would give you this look, perhaps with the addition of a hooded robe or cloak.
Our modern image of a vampire originated in the Gothic-style horror literature of the early 1800s. The pale, slim, well-dressed, elegant aristocrat culminated in Bram Stoker's classic 1893 novel Dracula. Such fictional vampires as Lord Ruthven and Count Dracula could, and did, join in society and interact with humans. They wore the fashions of their day. For these Victorian era vampires, that meant trousers, shirt, waistcoat, cravat and frock coat.
Actor Bela Lugosi brought this image to life when he played Dracula on stage and screen in the 1920s and 1930s. We have several men's vampire costumes that will give you that look.
The capes and fangs were touches added by Hollywood. A 1920s costume designer suggested the long opera cloak with a wide collar, as a simple way to make Lugosi seem to disappear. A makeup artist in the 1950s added the fangs, when Christopher Lee played Dracula.
Female vampires have been portrayed as seductive femmes fatales since Theda Bara played one in a 1915 silent film. That's where the word "vamp" comes from referring to a seductress. They, too, wore the fashions of their day and participated in society.
Vampires of modern fiction wear ordinary human clothes most of the time. What sets them apart is their pale complexion, fangs, and their posture and manners. You can achieve the pale complexion with one of our easy-to-use vampire makeup kits. And the fangs are part of our vampire accessory kits. For your posture, you should be sure to stand up straight--don't slouch! It's part of the carryover from past ages.
Vampires are immortal, and some of them are hundreds of years old. That's why most modern vampires show traces of earlier eras in their manners. They're a bit more formal, traditional and polite than modern humans. A movie heartthrob vampire asked his beloved's father for permission to marry her. Most humans don't bother with that anymore. He also refused to consummate their relationship before the wedding. That's almost unheard-of these days!
In order to attract victims or "donors," vampires have to be charming, and most are also physically attractive. Their vampire form becomes taller, thinner and paler than their human form. Nobody quite knows why, but it seems to be something about the change of state from human to vampire. So if you're going to be a vampire, practice your most elegant manners. If you're partying with humans you'll want to blend in, so go for a subtle look. If it's an all-vampire gathering you can go all-out and show your true nature.
You have a lot of options if you want to become a vampire. Choose whether you want to be a historic vampire or a modern one, a specific fictional character or your own concept. To be a suave, debonair or glamorous historical vampire, choose a costume inspired by formal wear. Any of our Victorian vampire costumes would be great. Add accessories such as a cane, a ring or medallion with faux gems, and vampire fangs. To become a modern, fierce vampire, choose a sexy or menacing costume and add gory fake blood to your pale makeup. We have fangs that appear to drip blood--those would add a bloodthirsty touch to your look. We also have a wig that can give you the same hairstyle as that movie heartthrob. For even more realism, enjoy a dark-red-colored beverage, and serve it in an elegant crystal goblet.