The blue woad-painted Celtic Picts of Scotland, Ireland and Wales are portrayed well in the 2004 movie “King Arthur.” Keira Knightley plays a blue woad painted Guinevere and Stephen Dillane plays Merlin like “a woad,” as Arthur (Clive Owen) and his friends call these oppressed people. The movie is full of great Celtic Halloween costume ideas.
Get some blue hair paint and spray yourself blue–your face, hair and all the body parts that show, anyway. Do the spraying outside. I sprayed myself blue in the bathroom (in 1982) and the landlord was not too happy.
For a more Druidic costume honoring trees (or just to look like you slept in the forest), wear a long wig which you have liberally coated with glue and then run through a pile of fall leaves. Take care not to lean your head back, or you will crush the leaves. You could use artificial leaves, but natural leaves really do authenticate the costume.
For any Celtic costume you can wear a peasant renaissance fair costume–most Celt lovers have one or can borrow one. Mostly you just need the ratty looking chemise and breeches or two long skirts layered over each other.
If you can’t get your hands on renaissance fair costume parts, watch the 2004 movie “King Arthur” and imitate how the Celtic woad people just basically tie rags around themselves. This is not an outside at night Halloween costume. It is more of a work or party costume. I worked all day at Sears painted blue! It was one of my favorite Halloweens ever.
All your rags and clothes need to at least look like natural materials found in the Roman period in Scotland, Ireland and Wales: raw leather, home-spun linen. Remember they could weave plaids, but they could not make printed patterns. Soak your Celtic costume in coffee or tea overnight if it is too bright or too new looking–as long as it is yours and not borrowed, that is.
Here is some background on the Celtic blue woad Picts, so that you can answer people’s questions about your costume:
The existence of blue woad painted Picts or Celts is controversial, as is which plant or mineral they used to paint themselves blue. They use Woad in all the tales, but it might have been some other plant. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar wrote about blue-colored British people in “The Conquest of Gaul,” and Pliny the Elder wrote about women painting themselves blue before funerals.
A body named “The Lindow Man,” found in a bog, had colored his body with copper and iron, which can make blue pigment. Roman Claudius Claudianus wrote a poem about savage dying Scots and Picts that had marked designs on their faces with iron.
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