Plague Doctor Halloween Cosutme Ideas

Plague Doctor Costume Ideas

Some costumes tow a careful line between being too soon and just right. One potentially controversial, but still fun Halloween costume in these trying time is the iconic medieval Plague Doctor.

• A Short History

Plague Doctors, as the name implies, were doctors, as much as the term meant anything, who from around the seventeenth century -and not the first outbreak of the Black Death several centuries before- treated victims of the Bubonic Plague.

Dressed in greased all black with a beak mask stuffed with herbs, the doctors tended to avoid catching the plague as disease carrying fleas couldn't get to their skin to feed. The doctors themselves were often failed apprentices and second rate physicians, but the stark nature of the costume, combined with its morbid nature, make it an iconic outfit for costumes, period pieces, and fantasy.

• The Costume

The outfit is an easy enough costume choice, but it will require a bit of work to pull off effectively. The mask is potentially the easiest part because finding a plague mask online or in a costume shop should prove pretty easy.

It should also be noted for Steampunk fans that a variant of the costume based on that genre is possible. Finding such a mask might be a bit trickier, but if you're into Steampunk you can probably make the needed adjustments yourself. That's part of the fun of the genre, after all.

The other important component of the outfit is a black cloak. Ideally, you would use a black oilskin duster for this. Dusters can get pretty pricey, though they are water proof, so if your Halloween leans toward the soggy you'll stay dry. That said, knock-offs can be found with some searching, and if you'd rather use cloth or other similar materials, it should do the job just fine. For a more modern look, some folks use an updated, nineteenth century outfit, with buttoned shirt and pants.

• The Accessories

Finally, don't forget the hat and boots. Black boots are great for soggy days as well, but can get expensive. Regular boots covered up by the cloak will work. As Shawshank Redemption taught us, how often do you really look at a man's shoes? The hat is easy, too, since it's a pretty basic style and can probably be bought from a costume shop. Instead of looking for plague doctor hats, though, consider a black gambler style hat. It's close enough for the job.

If you can find the plague doctor hat - its a little higher and broader, usually- then go for it. That aid, the gambler hat would work well with a more modern take on the costume, as well as a Steampunk motif with the right adjustments. Part of the fun of such costumes is making them unique so that they reflect your personality while also demonstrating your passion for the costume itself.

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