The Best Costume Celebrations Worldwide

Have costume, will party.

With Halloween right around the corner, you likely have your costume (or your kids’) picked out already. But have you ever wished it wasn’t just a once a year event?

Not to fear—there are plenty of other costumed celebrations and many make great excuses to plan your next trip! As an added bonus, some provide a unique view into local cultures and customs. 

Here are some expert tips on getting gussied up for celebrations and festivals across the globe, so don your disguise and plan a trip!

Carnival costumes are all about feathers and sequins.

Carnival: Trinidad and Tobago

Sequins, feathers, jewels, headdresses… Carnival costumes are some of the most colorful and elaborate you’ll ever see! This annual street party boasts lively parades packed with decorated dancers and gives everyone a chance to flaunt their best festival dress.

One part of the festivities, J’Ouvert, takes place before sunrise and involves throwing paint and flour, so you’ll be wearing a “costume” no matter what!

Mardi Gras: New Orleans

Beads are for beginners. Real revelers will attend one of the many parades (you knew there were multiple, right?) in wigs, venetian masks, tutus, crowns, oversized bow ties, face paint, papier-mâché heads, and more!

There aren’t really many rules: Want to wear a ballgown? Go ahead. A skeleton suit? Sure! A frock coat? As long as you’re dancing. Just keep in mind that gold, purple, and green are the go-to colors.  

Leave the kids at home for this devilish festival.

Correfoc: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Not every costumed fest is a free-spirited good time—some are downright scary! Correfoc in Spain translates to “fire runs,” and there are plenty of pyrotechnics and demon costumes filling the streets for a frightening night.

It’s most celebrated on the island of Palma de Mallorca, and the city of Palma hosts bonfires and concerts in town squares. There are pointy horns, devil masks, flaming pitchforks, and fire breathers, so leave the children at home and wear something red.  

Junkanoo: The Bahamas

It may seem like Junkanoo costumes are the same as Carnival getups—they do both feature feathers aplenty. But there’s a distinct difference for this street parade celebrated throughout the Bahamas, and especially in Nassau: intricate masks.

The festival draws heavily from African culture with traditional rhythms played on goatskin drums, cowbells, and horns. And while you may pack a Carnival-esque headdress, be on the lookout for local celebrants sporting masks inspired by African tribes.

Are you prepared for a full week of pirate costumes?

Pirate Week: Cayman Islands

There’s rich pirate history throughout the Caribbean, but the Cayman Islands celebrate it more than most with a week of pirate-themed parties. Events are on land and at sea, and yarrr going to feel out of place if you don’t have the Jolly Roger on your hat or a cutlass on your belt. Hunt for treasure, dance to live music, and dress up like Captain Hook or Blackbeard.

“Cosplay” or “costume play” is on full display at Comic Con.

Comic Con: Seattle and Los Angeles

Comic book fans have always been keen on costumes. As the panels and guests have expanded to include movies (consider the many Marvel blockbusters), Los Angeles is now a top Comic Con spot. Seattle is another city that takes comic culture seriously, so whether you’re a fan of Wonder Woman, Batman, Star Trek, The Legend of Zelda, or Ninja Turtles, mark a comic con event on your travel list!

 

The halloween tradition of dressing up comes from an ancient Celtic festival.

Halloween: New York City

Last but not least, nobody does Halloween like New York City. Artists, actors, and eccentric residents have been going all out at the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade for nearly 50 years!

 Ghostbusters, giant puppets, zombie flash mobs, parade floats, ghouls, goblins, celebrities… There’s no shortage to what you may see in the Big Apple on Halloween, so bring your A game and see thousands of costumes from creative to creepy.