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Costume Ideas From Countries Around the World

Updated on September 28, 2015

Dressing Up Internationally

For most of us, wearing a unique costume is extremely important, whether we're heading out for Halloween or to a friend's costume party. We want to look good and attract a lot of attention. This Halloween, or the next time you're invited to a costume party, consider all the amazing traditional clothing that people all around the world wear. These dresses, suits, and other styles may only come out on special events or dances, but they still make up a spectacular variety of costume ideas, with the added bonus of possibly educating others about another culture!

Wearing an costume from another culture is the perfect way to look good, be recognizable, attract attention, and even represent one of your favourite countries.

Wear a Traditional Japanese Kimono


I have seen lots of different costumes from other cultures on Halloween, but rarely a Japanese kimono. The simple fact is that a kimono is a perfect costume for an occasion like Halloween because it's so recognizable and easy to wear. As part of a costume, wear it with a parasol, Japanese sandals, and with your hair up in a bun.

An Authentic Japanese Kimono

Dress as a Spanish Dancer

There are tons of costume ideas from around the world, but a Spanish dancer outfit strikes me as one of the best options.

The costume is relatively simple and can be ordered online. It will allow you to demonstrate your best dance moves as everyone around you watches in awe! You and a partner can dress up as male and female Spanish dancers—one of the best costumes for the couple that loves to dance.

Dress as a Folkloric Mexican Dancer


One of the most recognizable costumes in the world is the dance dress from the Mexican state of Jalisco. This costume is known as the China Poblana and consists of an ample, brightly colored skirt. The bottom ruffle is decorated with strips of ribbons and the blouse is usually the same color as the skirt, with sleeves extending to the elbows that are also decorated with ribbons.

Mexico’s best-known music, mariachi, is strongly associated with Jalisco, although mariachi bands are popular in many parts of the country.

Traditional East Indian Couple's Costume

Traditional Indian saris and men's clothing are beautiful, recognizable, and so easy to wear. The couple above might be dressed for a fancy wedding, and not all Indian clothing is so elegant. But simple cotton or silk saris are easy to find online. These are lovely textiles you will love to own. And once you know how to tie it, you might just find yourself wearing it after Halloween!

Saris can be expensive, but you can also find inexpensive ones on Amazon for under $20. Traditional mens clothing includes a kurta, or long tunic of cotton or silk, and pants. These are also available for around $20 on Amazon.

How to Tie a Sari

Dress as a Member of an Amish Family


The Amish, or Pennsylvania Dutch, live simply without the use of modern technology. The clothing worn by Amish men, women, and children is simple and practical and is considered to be an expression of humility. With that in mind, think about dressing as a member of an Amish family. Maybe a group of friends would like to go as an entire Amish family! For this look, you'd have to hide your car keys and phone in the pockets of your long dress or pants.

Men wear traditional broad-brimmed straw hats, dark suits that fasten with hooks (not buttons), typically have beards, but not mustaches, which are associated with the military.

Women wear long dresses and aprons, black shoes, and white or black caps. They never wear makeup and pull their hair back into a simple bun.

Perfect Costume for Octoberfest or Halloween


While dirndls have yet to become fashionable outside Germanic cultural events, lederhosen have actually been seen on the runway—in women's fashion designs! More than likely, you don't already own a pair. They are available on Amazon in a range of prices, depending upon quality. Real lederhosen are made of leather, but unless you live in a cold place and plan to wear them more than once, cotton should do just fine.

Women's dirndl dresses are also available online and are actually pretty easy to make too. For an extra touch of authenticity, carry a big stein full of beer or better yet, a whole tray of them!

Gaucho Costume from Argentina or Uruguay


A man or a woman can have fun with the traditional clothing of a gaucho, or skilled horseman from high in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Clothing is practical but features certain distinctive features including knee-high pants, high boots, a wide belt decorated with coins and other metal pieces, a black hat, and a colorful bandana around the neck.

Carry a mug of yerba mate, the super-caffeinated drink of Argentina, to complete the look.

What international costume would you wear if you had to choose one?

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    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      This looks like a fabulous costume lens ... one of the most comprehensive ones I have seen on Squidoo. I think this lens has the potential to help people who need a costume for many types of occasions!

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      Great ideas to any costume party!