When people think death costumes at Halloween, it's fairly easy to find a Grim Reaper costume. But through my research writing about deities I've found there are far more than I ever realized. Of course, some I was familiar with before I started. Most people know Hades, as he's often depicted in literature and Greek mythology as one of the more popular and well-known mythologies. But we are a world of many cultures, so here are five different death deities that would make for fun and unique costumes:
Kali: Her very name means "She who is Death" or "She who is Black." Kali is a Hindu goddess, and she's long been a favorite. She is associated with empowerment, while she also been called the destroyer. Appearance wise, I usually see her depicted as being blue with many arms and a necklace of decapitated heads. You might have to get creative with the arms, but don't worry about necessarily painting yourself entirely blue, she's depicted in a number of hues. Unless of course you want to paint yourself blue. After all, Halloween only comes around once a year. Going blue might be fun. You can also get your inner Miley Cyrus on, because in some depictions, Kali likes sticking her tongue out. Regardless of which way you decide to dress yourself up, Kali could be a pretty bad-ass costume. I think I have an idea for next year!
Anubis: This Egyptian protector of the dead is often depicted as either a canine or with a canine head, wearing black or shirtless with a toga-like garment around his waist. This could be interesting ... (visions of a shirtless dog-headed husband dance in my head). Okay, that might be kind of weird, but that's what Halloween is for! And Anubis also has a female counterpart, Anput, who very occasionally is depicted with a dog head as well. Can you say couples costume!
Atropos: One of the three Moirai, better known as the Fates, Atropos cuts the threads with her shears. This is definitely one for the girlfriends, because this Greek goddess of death could easily be paired with her two sisters, Clothos, the spinner, and Lachesis, who measures lives. All three friends need do is don Greek-style robes or togas, and each one carry a different tool: scissors, needle and thread, and a tailor's measuring tape.
Santa Muerte: Okay, so she's not totally abstract, but I love her and I'm actually being her for Halloween. I'm a bit in love with the Mexican Day of the Dead art, and she's a character in The Reaper's Daughter, otherwise known as Sebastiana, and she's just my favorite. She's an easy one to do because most costume shops sell facial decals to give your face the colorful, day of the dead appearance, plus there are plenty of Mexican Day of the Dead costumes now available. I'm not using any of them, of course, because they're the "sexy" costumes, and not Santa Muerte specific, but I am using the decals and some makeup for my face. If the results come out as I hope, I'll definitely post a spooky Halloween selfie.
Santa Muerte isn't just a deity, she's actually a Mexican folk saint, and she's venerated. She's often depicted with a cloak and scythe, and sometimes with black angel's wings. See why I want to be her for Halloween?
Mythology in itself is vastly fascinating because these stories have been crafted from age-old beliefs within any given culture. Whatever you decide to be, remember that the personification of Death has many forms, so in stories and in real life, honoring other cultures by knowing more about their mythology and beliefs can also open the doorways to creativity.
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10/6/2015 05:18:22 am
A great listing of death deities.
10/6/2015 05:45:11 am
I LOVE this post!!! I'm a huge mythology/cultural anthropology buff, and yes, there are a ton of icons to tap from when it comes to costumes. I was going to let my daughter go to town on my make-up (art major) and try Santa Muerte this year :)
10/6/2015 05:56:54 am
That's awesome! If you do Santa Muerte definitely take a picture!
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K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.