- Holidays and Celebrations
How To Make a Nun Costume for Halloween!
Putting Together a Fun (or Strict) Nun Costume
I created this nun costume because I wanted to accompany my husband to a neighborhood costume party. We wanted a couples theme, but nothing risqué because there would be kids at the party. Once we came up with the idea it was so much fun to put together! At the party I wandered around the dance floor with my ruler measuring the distance between the dancing couples. This cracked everyone up!
Want to dress up as a nun for Halloween? Here is how!
LotusMalas as a Nun! Halloween 2009
What You Will Need to Create a Nun Costume
This is not a difficult costume to put together. The last video below shows all how the parts of a real nun's habit are worn; some are odd shapes, or pinned in unexpected places. But you don't have to get them all; you can suggest most of them with materials you have lying around.
At a minimum, you need a robe: a long-sleeved black dress, a choir robe, a graduation robe, or a robe you sew yourself from a pattern.
The white coif, or wimple, is descended from the medieval cap that covered the hair and the edges of the face, fastened under the chin. In medieval times, when the nun's habit originated, adult European women did not display their hair. This covered-up effect is probably the easiest way of saying "nun" in modern times. The hair covering can be suggested in very simple fashion by a glued-together strip of white cardboard making a headband around the forehead (as in the first video), or by a piece of white fabric pinned at the nape of the neck (as in the second video). You can add a band of white fabric fastened together around the face and throat (as in my picture below). In the actual nun's costume in the last video, the wimple is a specially shaped piece of white cloth with many ties, and extended by a white collar.
You will want a black veil to cover your head: this can just be a generous piece of black fabric, pinned or hot-glued to your white cardboard headband. Now you are instantly recognizable as a nun. (As a very lazy costume, a lady in this YouTube video achieves the recognizable effect by poking her head partway through a white-collared shirt and dark-colored skirt and letting them flop down over her back.)
For further authenticity you can add a cloth scapular, a sort of apron or narrow tunic that hangs down over the front and back of the body. Two bands of black fabric hung over the shoulders and safety-pinned together in a few places might do it.
Finally, you'll want to add:
a belt (a plain black rope or belt, with the fastening in back)
Accessories Make All the Difference
Add props to show what kind of nun you are: for example, a rosary (properly tucked into the left side of the belt); a crucifix; a Bible; severe glasses, if you want to look like a scary high-school teacher; a guitar, if you want to be a Singing Nun--or what have you.
Robe, Coif, Veil, and Crucifix
Contains the essential elements.
"Flying Nun" Variation: The Cornette
A starchy period headpiece can replace the veil.
Cornettes, or starched wimples bent into horns at the sides, were worn by the Daughters of Charity order founded by St. Vincent de Paul. At the time (the 15th to 17th centuries) they resembled ordinary middle-class women's headgear. The order continued to wear them long after they began to look exotic, until 1964. Cornettes were thoroughly discredited by The Flying Nun, a comedy TV show of the late '60s, in which Sally Field played a young nun unable to keep her feet because the wind kept blowing her and her cornette into the sky.
Make Your Own Nun Habit: Robe, Cardboard Coif, Veil
Pinning a Piece of White Fabric to Make a Medieval Hair Covering
Pinning a black square of fabric over this white headwrap would be enough to suggest "nun" to most people.
How an Actual Nun's Habit Is Put On
Nun Footwear! Boots, Heels, or Flats: Which is Your Pick?
You would expect a real nun to wear comfortable shoes, although Brother Dan Coggins in the video above suggests heels—low heels—with pointed toes are authentic. On Halloween, you can wear whatever kinky shoes you like—knee-length boots, dance pumps, stiletto heels—but probably they should be black.
Did you ever want a pair of Mary Janes? They still make them.
Clarks shoes are very comfortable. And, moreover, very sensible.