How To: The Age of the Viking
What do you think of when you picture the Vikings? They were the rulers of the sea, daring to go further into the cold, wild ocean in their expertly-built boats than anyone had gone before. Not only did they have deep ships for long distance voyages but they had innovative shallow ships that allowed the Norse to raid inland cities by following a river, something no one else had done. No wonder that they quickly made a name for themselves throughout Europe! While the Vikings had a bad rap for their violent ways (they were no angels, that's for sure!) the main idea was to find new lands to settle and more people to trade with. It's understandable, after all: it’s a hard life in the cold mountainous lands of Scandinavia! So, whether you’re looking for a tried-and-true Nordic warrior costume or you’d like to look like a dignified Viking age earl, we have something for everyone, even armor for your warriors in training!
With their intense lifestyle and the cold climate of their home country, Viking clothing was all about heavy fabric, embroidery, leather, and fur. Cloaks were popular as they could be worn over a coat or used as a makeshift blanket. The key was to make clothing lightweight and versatile while ensuring the wearer was nice and cozy. Keep accessories in mind as you’re picking out your Viking Halloween costume, make it memorable with one of the wild Viking hairdos, some battle scars, and maybe even a few missing teeth!
Which came first, the barber or the barbarian? Umm, that would be the barbarian, have you seen that wild hair? While some might think the word “barbarian” comes from the wild beards the Norsemen had, it was actually a word the Greeks invented for anyone who didn’t speak Greek. Nothing to do with hair at all! Yeah, we were disappointed, too. That doesn’t mean this Barbarous ensemble is any less cool! In fact, it would work for other Northern Tribes who were brave enough to stand up to Roman invaders. So if you’re looking for a tough Celtic warrior look, this costume will work perfectly. With a fur vest, tough leather accents, and fur boot covers, you’ll be ready to intimidate your more civilized (and well shaven) neighbors. Just be sure to include some epic facial hair and a few memorable battle scars for a realistic Barbarian look!
The key to believable Viking warrior costumes? That would be leather and fur. Studded leather, of course, would be important for surviving the intense hand-to-hand combat that the Vikings excelled at. The fur? Well, life at sea and even at home was typically pretty chilly. But with this costume’s fur-lined shin guards, arm gauntlets, and rich red cape, you’ll be ready to rule your home base or invade the shores of a new conquest. All you need is your shield and weapon and you’ll be ready for anything!
Let’s get down to business. The business of expanding the land ruled by the Norse, that is. With their groundbreaking (or wave-breaking in this case) ship designs, navigational tools, and fearless attitudes they discovered plenty of new lands. New to them, that is. They discovered Iceland, Greenland, even North America, though they didn’t stay in America for long. Pre-colonized America was a little too far from home for the burly explorers. If you’re heading out for an adventure, this Viking Explorer costume is layered for the cold nights at sea, hot days exploring new islands, and armored for battling unforeseen forces lying in wait!
When you’re ruling a Viking kingdom big or small, you not only have to be strict, wise, and powerful, but you have to look it. A king would have plenty of metallic braiding woven by dutiful subjects, and fur and gold accent pieces. A man wearing this ensemble would drink only the finest mead, eat the tastiest pickled herring, and wield the finest sword. This elite costume’s golden fabric would make any Viking king hold his crowned head high. The velvet is rich under a dark cloak, perfect for communicating your imposing image to those restless peasants.
Women’s Viking Costumes
The docile princess image of the Medieval era didn’t apply to free Norse women. Women were featured as powerful goddesses and spirits in mythology. They ran earldoms and farms when men were away and were allowed to own property and run their own businesses, unheard of in other European locations. They learned self-defense and were often as educated in the ways of war as their men were. When planning your women’s Viking costume, be sure to accessorize in powerful away with long hair and gorgeous weaponry to make your ensemble legendary!
Shield Maiden Costume
We love the Vikings because men and women worked together to both protect and expand their lands. Women were trained in fighting to defend the farm until the warring troupes returned or they joined the famous (or infamous from the Saxon’s point of view) shield wall. The women that joined the wall were called shieldmaidens. They were excused from raising children and treated as equals both on sea and land. This costume includes tough leather accents, a cozy fur top, and fur-lined boot covers. To prove yourself on the battlefield, make sure you’re equipped with a good shield and weapon of choice.
Viking legends said that while Viking warriors were fighting their way into Valhalla (an afterlife meant only for those who passed in battle) female spirits called Valkyries were among the chaos, taking those who fell bravely to their last reward. They were messengers of Odin who would often appear at the Valkyrie's side in the form of a raven. Whether you’re serving mead in the halls of Valhalla or you’re braving the battle fields to pick up the fallen, you can be the picture of one of the heavenly hosts in this velvet gown layered in leather and fur. To take this in a more mythological direction, pair the gown with raven wings to show who sent you. In this powerful costume, you can be sure that your costume will go over well. It had better, after all, you speak for Odin!
While women rarely got the official title in the Medieval Viking era, they often maintained power by goading their husbands and sons into taking military action. With their extremely persuasive and sometimes painful techniques, noble Viking women were respected to the point of fear. So, whether or not you’re taking part in those raids, this Viking Queen ensemble will make sure those wild warriors will show the proper respect in your mead hall unless they want the same fate as the wolf who’s pelt you’re wearing around your shoulders.
You might look like a dream but you’ll fight like a nightmare in this tough but sexy Viking ensemble. You’ll feel like you’re sent straight from Valhalla in the leather corset, bracers, and the gorgeous blue cloak with its white trim. Don your helmet with its dramatic horns and prepare to conquer the night!
With minimal technology, the entrepreneurial Vikings found the populated and wealthy island of Britain. If you’re going to a Viking-themed event or maybe you’re even LARPing to act out one of the many intense battles between the Saxons and the Danes. So, whether your character is for or against the Viking’s British settlements, these costumes will make you a daunting element on either side.
Celtic Warrior Costume
Whether you’re a rogue warrior from the Scottish Highlands, the Saxon king’s right-hand man or a Saxon spy this costume will let you remain a powerful force in the shadows. You’ll be ready to take action in this dramatic black and fur cloak costume. With a leather harness, a black tunic, and a black pair of gloves, we don’t know who you’re fighting for but we sure don’t want to be on your bad side!
Women’s Celtic Warrior
Now that the Saxon king is busy with the invading Vikings, perhaps it’s time to make your move. These men from the south have had control over your home turf for long enough. Join forces with the incoming Vikings or stage your own rebellion in this women’s costume. As an earth-toned ensemble with the fur-collared cape, you’re going to be ready to battle in style!
Family Viking Halloween Costumes
The Viking family was a tight unit. Keeping close to your people meant you were safe, or at least safer in the long, dark winters. Children began learning a craft very early in life, and they were expected to know their jobs thoroughly by the time they married as early as twelve. That’s right, twelve! While that lifestyle is part of the past, dressing your children up as Vikings just might toughen them up just like those Norse kids. It’s easy to be tough when you’re wearing leather
While the men were away raiding, the women were running the farm and defending their territory. For months at a time women were planting, harvesting, tanning hides, and preserving food all in preparation for winter and the return of the warriors. Some would even take their husband’s place of power as interim Earl or Jarl. When important visitors came to call a Norse woman might wear something like this dress costume. It’s gorgeous enough to make a good impression, but loose enough to swing a sword if need be. After all, a lady’s got to do what a lady’s got to do!
Baby Viking Costume
When you’re browsing through these Viking costume ideas, we understand why you wouldn’t think of dressing your infant as a warrior right away. But it makes more sense than you know, because the Vikings started their fight training early! Honestly, we’d be the first to admit that arming Junior at this age could be seen as a little excessive but the armor on this baby Viking costume certainly is cute. While it might be a while before the little guy can hold an ax, he’ll certainly capture hearts in those Instagram photos!
Girl Viking Warrior
While plenty of little Norse girls learned housework like other little girls all over Europe, the strong ones were given weapons, especially bows and arrows, and taught to fight. Of course, it was important that they would train harder than anyone else. So if your little girl wants to be a part of that shield wall, she’d better don her armor with this girl’s Viking Warrior costume. This isn’t going to be easy but it sure will be fun!
Now, we’re not sure when Viking boys started growing their beards but we’re sure it had to come in full throttle around the age of four. No, we didn’t read a study or anything, we just like to imagine a group of little Viking boys with full blown beards. In this Viking outfit, a young boy would have to be the son of a Jarl, or at least an earl. With precious metals accenting his fur and leather armor, he’s bound for good things!
When Vikings began to attack the British Isles, they were shocked to find knights and soldiers wearing fancy metal suits. While they were a little jealous at first, they found that they were able to move faster and more easily in their light leather and fur wear. They even used their own beards and long hair to protect their faces and necks. Those thick braids weren't just for looks! Their fighting tactics were plenty effective but weapons aren’t enough: even the most intense soldiers need some protection.
Shields came into play in a pretty intense way when it came to fighting in hand-to-hand combat. Vikings would make a wall with their shields to defend against the spear-wielding enemy army, and then go on the offensive with their shorter axes and swords. To make a long story short, shields were an important reason why the somewhat simply-dressed Viking was able to claim so many monumental victories. Use this faux wood shield to complete your Viking ensemble, and you’re sure to be on your way to victory yourself!
At the time, other European cultures were beginning to use metal for everything. Using a base of chain mail over wool or leather, then fitting their armor over that, the Vikings stuck with what worked while allowing for movement and breathability. These leg warmers, made of fur, leather, and metal would have been worn while waiting around a fire on shore. So when the enemy came along, all they’d need to do was reach for their sword and shield! Unlike the knights they were fighting, they didn’t have to take an hour to don their armor, they were ready to go!
Ah, the Viking helmet. It's the subject of much scrutiny over the years due to the modern tendency of adding horns. Research shows that they didn’t really go in for helmets that often (again, that preoccupation with traveling light and always being prepared to fight). It makes sense that the head gear was rare, iron was hard to come by! When a helmet was constructed it was passed down from generation to generation, sometimes for more than a hundred years. The most popular construction was like this battle helmet, with a bowled metal head, cheek guards, and a nose guard. They didn’t worry so much about the lower face, those beards did a great job of keeping them protected! If you want something with more pomp, consider one with wings or horns. While they weren’t used in battle they were used as ceremonial wear. Quite a nice look for when you’re paying tribute to Odin!
When you’re getting into full shieldmaiden regalia, this halter would not only give you some warmth as you’re sneaking around the borders of the enemy’s base camp, but it also lets you tuck weapons into the straps and protects the neck and chest while keeping any additional armor in place.
Viking Costume Accessories
Studded leather armor and helmets weren’t the only accessories that were popular with the Vikings. As raids became more successful, jewelry became common, getting passed down from generation to generation. Both men and women wore jewelry, the men favoring gold bracelets, especially for special events. They also styled their hair and beards and made sure to wear plenty of warm furs.
Women’s Viking Costume Boots
While these costume boots wouldn’t do very well in battle, they’ll sure look great with your Viking Halloween costume. You won’t need your ax to conquer the party scene, in these boots you’re already killing it.
Sure, you’ve got the fur cloak, the leather armor, and the sword and shield. but do you have that Viking hair? Glorious, full, and luxurious hair. Yep, the Vikings liked to grow it out. On their faces. On their heads. It kept their necks safe in battle and their bodies warm in winter. If we’d live back then we’d be growing it out as much as possible too, after all, we get chilly just sitting in air conditioning! But you can add just add this wig to your costume to avoid the long hair hassle!
Sure, life for the Vikings was hard. They didn’t have a lot of objects of value that weren’t weapons. So, when a lady got a golden collar necklace such as this one, she would have been a pretty important woman. It would have been passed down from generation to generation or buried with her and the rest of her beloved objects. This accent necklace will set off your ensemble perfectly. Whether or not you’re planning on handing it down to the next generation this piece will take you from everyday Norse woman to powerful Viking!
Whether you’re toasting in Valhalla or a simple drinking hall, you need the right vessel to drink from. When you're lifting your glass to the last victory granted by the wrathful Odin you’ll look right at home with a horn full of mead, or apple juice. Really, you’re allowed to drink whatever you want in this Das Horn drinking vessel, it’s even dishwasher safe so you can use this time and time again. Perfect for those endless nights of feasting in Valhalla!