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"Undead" beings have fascinated humans since the first time anyone came up with the idea of an afterlife. Similar creatures are described 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 (its 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 picture of a vampire as a 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 even 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.

HalloweenCostumes.com How To

Vampire Costumes

How to be a Vampire

Is there anything more enticing than transforming into a vampire for an evening? Admittedly, the old-timey ones were kind of creepy, but all of the modern depictions are pretty awesome. And really, if you think about it, you grew up with them (so they feel a little cozier than, let's say, zombies)! It all started with Count Chocula breakfast cereal while you got your Count von Count (Sesame Street) fix on Saturday mornings. In the 90's we had Buffy (and Angel), the rerelease of Anne Rice's novels (along with Tom Cruise's Lestat) and Blade (the superhero vampire). Most recently, shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries have kept the millennials entranced on these fanged fiends' frightening folklore, proving that vampires are just as appealing with brooding sensibilities and distressed jeans. Vampires have style and hundreds of years of built-up character—which makes them so charming, you won't mind that they are the answer to what goes bump in the night. A more philosophical storyteller may touch on the fact that vamps possess traits humans yearn for, like eternal life AND eternal youth, but we think vampires are beloved because they're a lot like us. They have vices (blood, mostly), weaknesses and they're always down for a good time. Let's also not forget that they tend to be way better looking than their undead alternatives.

How to pose as a Vampire

Acquiring a dark and mysterious getup is as simple as visiting HalloweenCostumes.com... or raiding the "goth phase" section of your attic. But to really embody a vampiric character, you must first learn to act like one. It's more than mimicking mannerisms; it's about putting yourself in a vampyre's well-polished shoes. And while you may not actually have their same thirst for blood, these tried and true poses are proven to be convincing enough to join the likes of any coven.

Frightening Fatale

Vampire Frightening Fatale Pose

Ominous music, dark corners, shaky camera angles... There's always that one scene in a good horror movie where the main neck biter lunges from out of the shadows and latches on to its victim. The element of surprise is a vampiress' greatest asset. Not only does it keep defenses down, it also strikes absolute terror in unsuspecting humans. What's so great about that? There happens to be a well-known fact in the vampire world that fear makes blood taste even better!

Seductive Siren

Seductive Siren Pose

A woman shrouded in mystery has a strong allure—a trait that can make capturing blood donors feel like shooting fish in a barrel. The Seductive Siren pose says, "come hither," and even with a set of fangs, it won't be hard to conjure up an abundance of suitors. As an added bonus, your undead state comes fully equipped with mind control. This makes it easier than ever to bite 'em and leave 'em.

Bloody Beau

Bloody Beau Pose

With origins on the mean streets of Transylvania's vampire district, Bloody Beau is a pose that puts a vampire on attack. You may be the nicest guy from dusk 'til dawn, but the mention of sunrise always puts you in a bad mood. When friends become foes, just raise your cape and show your fangs. It won't take them long to know you mean business (just don't break character by smiling for the camera).

Batty Host

Batty Host Pose

Why let all of your charisma go to waste? Vampires are natural hosts with the most, which makes their Halloween shindigs real scare affairs. A gothic style scepter is all it takes to invite victims guests to strike a pose, while you usher them into your lavish lair. Of course, true vampires don't have a reflection so what happens at your bash, stays there... or at least doesn't come back to haunt you on Twitter.

Find Your Fang

Demon, night-stalker, or infernal creature, however you describe yourself, there's one defining characteristic that separates the beasts from the boys (and girls!): Fangs. Blood is your life force, so you must have the right tools to make easy work of Capri Sun-ing the mammal of your choosing. This guide will help you take a bite out of the guesswork, so you can focus on finding the fangs that are right for you.

Discount Vampire Teeth

Discount Vampire Teeth

Maybe you're fresh from the grave, or even stuck posthumously paying for student loans... For vamps on a budget, these chompers fit the bill! Despite the economical price tag, the Discount Vampire Teeth serve up a custom fit and fun packaging so you get the look for less. There are fangs on the market that will have more bells and whistles, but these ol' standbys give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Retractable Vampire Fangs

Retractable Vampire Fangs

Now you see 'em, now you don't! We're not sure where "anger fangs" (fangs that pop up when a vampire is provoked) originated, but Joss Whedon is getting the credit from our not-so-credible pop culture memory. Either way, a modern vampire may find that there are times when she can let her fangs fly and other times when she needs to keep them in check. Basically, this pair is essential for vampires with any shred of restraint.

Classic Vampire Fangs

Classic Vampire Fangs

Here's something that nobody tells you about dressing up like a vampire for Halloween: A bad set of fangs makes it nearly impossible to eat or drink all night. Who wants a hungry vampire on the loose? The Classic Vampire Fangs are easy to customize, packaged in a coffin (how fitting?!) and reusable—so you can pop them out to eat, and put them back in when you want to vamp back up!

White Vampire Fangs

White Vampire Fangs

These are the fangs you were used to getting as a kid. Plastic, a little awkward, but they got the message across: I AM A VAMPIRE! As an adult, the same foldable fangs are just plain fun. When you wear them, you are essentially inaudible, drool a little bit, and you're definitely not successful at taking a sip of your drink. However, they still make it clear that YOU ARE A VAMPIRE.

Chrome Vampire Fangs

Chrome Vampire Fangs

Looking for a little extra polish? Whether you are a classic car or a classic vampire, there's nothing more impressive than a chrome grill. In an underworld filled with menacing pearly whites, we like the added edginess that these metal incisors bring to your rebellious style. Sharp, pointy teeth with the sole purpose of draining blood may not be every guy's favorite accessory, but if you got 'em, why not flaunt 'em?

Which Dracula is Right for You?

If there's one name that is synonymous with being a vampire, it is, "Dracula." The ethos surrounding the historical horrors, as well as the seemingly endless creative reimagining, has defined a character that gets more vivid with each passing generation. It all started with the gruesome accounts of Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker's introduction to Dracula. Each incarnation thereafter has evolved his story into timeless lore. In a sense, Drac's legacy (both fact and fiction) has made him the immortal we're still fascinated by to this day. Quite possibly the hardest part of dressing up as Dracula for Halloween is choosing a favorite version.

Vlad the Impaler, Brahm Stoker's Dracula, and Nosferatu

Vlad the Impaler

Bram Stoker chose Vlad the Impaler as his muse because of his barbaric execution tactics – Spoiler alert: impaling victims was just a small glimpse into his torturous ways. Not for the faint of heart, it takes more than just a spear to complete this grisly disguise. Moral flexibility, the ability to rule with fear and an overall presence that puts people at unease — these are the character traits necessary to pull off Vlad Dracul III... a good Romanian accent wouldn't hurt either.

Brahm Stoker's Dracula

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Stoker's pal, Sir Henry Irving (a suave actor with a flair for the dramatic), didn't seem too thrilled that he was Dracula's appearance and mannerisms inspiration. Are you often described as being good-looking, enigmatic, and also having a real knack for villain portrayals? So was Irving! That means you're Bram-approved to take on the role (which, regardless of the kind words, Irving never did himself)!

Nosferatu

This unauthorized adaptation contains one of the most iconic theatrical scenes associated with the Dracula character — a hunchbacked, shadowy figure shambling up a staircase. Count Orlok strayed from Bram's tall, dark and handsome description and looked almost rodent-like. But don't let that sway you. Nosferatu is often heralded as the ultimate Dracula flick. Maybe that's why, despite all of the character and story differences, Stoker's estate demanded that all copies of the film be destroyed. Luckily one print remained to generate a cult following.

Dracula, Dracula in Istanbul and Horror of Dracula

Dracula

Bela Lugosi's mutation of Count Dracula is the most popular way the world imitates the character: Jet black, slicked-back hair, dark, lined eyes (with a glimmer of mischievous intent), an accentuated brow, and a long black cape – essential for shrouding all your dark deeds. Organize a Universal Monsters reunion and partner up with Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein's Bride and the Werewolf of London. After all, everyone knows that when monsters mash, it's a graveyard smash.

Dracula in Istanbul

As one of Turkey's first ever horror films, Dracula in Istanbul took The Count's character to the next level by baring his fangs – drawing a literal connection between the most well-known vampire and Vlad the Impaler. That makes a pair of custom fangs is essential for Atif Kaptan's Turkish Drac. You can also keep the Universal Dracula suit, but lose the hair. This particular aristocratic vamp was bald.

Horror of Dracula

Christopher Lee, who would eventually play the Dracula character more times than any other actor, gave the Universal Monsters Dracula a demonic makeover. Red-rimmed eyes and extremely sharp incisors made moviegoers hide their necks in terror. You still need a healthy dose of charm to lure your victims, but to get started, you should grab a cape and the biggest fangs you can find—Halloween signals the perfect night to paint the town red.

Count Dracula, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Dracula

Count Dracula

Bram Stoker's novel was like a guide to vampires; there are basic rules that a vampire must follow. Sun, for example, has always been a no-no (sorry Twilight, you'll have to sparkle in someone else's mythology). Up until 1970's Count Dracula, no other filmmaker touched on Stoker's reasoning for a vampire to drink blood: It gives him the ability to regain his youth! Oh, and whether it was because it was the seventies, or just a nod to Vlad, you also get to sport a sweet 'stache.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Stop us if you've heard this one: Realtor Jonathon Harker attempts to get a Transylvanian castle into escrow and finds himself held hostage inside the manor. He doesn't get a bump in his commission, but does narrowly escape with his life. Meanwhile, back in England, Drac was busy making Mina (Harker's fiancée) a vampire. Whatever happened to bro code? Sure, Van Helsing (ever the Sherlock of doctors) still works on finding the cause of Mina's illness, but in this made-for-TV rendition, Jack Palance shows us the softer, gentler side of Dracula.

Dracula

Really, this is the ONLY Dracula for an appointed "ladies man." Frank Langella's portrayal of Dracula may be solely responsible for showcasing the seductive side of this character. Many before him were sharply dressed and charming, but their movie trailer didn't come with the tagline: "The greatest lover who ever lived and died... and lived again." That's a pretty tall order to fill, so maybe just start by nailing a smoldering gaze.

Bram Stoker's Dracula and Dracula Untold

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Francis Ford Coppolla skillfully intertwined Stoker's brand of horror with unabashed romance. There are two Draculas in this flick that you can play: Old Dracula (with the awesome hair and haunting laugh) or young Dracula (the one who is most likely to win Winona Ryder's version of "Mina" back, and with the cool sunglasses). Luckily for you, Gary Oldman made both of them easily recognizable. Just watch out for Keanu... he has since learned ju-jitsu.

Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold set out to tell the origin of Vlad, the man who would become Dracula. A gloomy, historically accurate 15th century setting was the backdrop for the fictional transformation from King of Transylvania to a legendary vampire. Dragon crested battle armor (that's a billion times more awesome than any Spartan or dark knight) and a pretty serious sword make this disguise one that will set you apart in a sea of capes and fangs.