The most frightful time of the year is approaching fast. For Francophiles or anyone looking for original Halloween costumes, we’ve found ten fun and unique ideas to add a French twist to trick-or-treating. Six for women and four for men, with all the relevant information.
Marie-Antoinette Halloween Costume
If she were alive today, France’s last queen might have said, “Let them eat Halloween candy.”
The wife of the unfortunate Louis XVI met her fate on the guillotine in Paris with grace. One of the most famous French women lived a life of excess, epitomized by the (probably untrue) story of her telling the hungry masses to “eat cake. ” It all came to a bloody end in 1793, as the French Revolution claimed its most famous victim.
To get you started, you’ll want to get dressed up in a costume for the period with a wardrobe fit for a Bourbon queen. Blood stains are optional.
Could there be anything more ghoulish than a queen who lost her head?
French Lady Outfit
With cliches dialed up to 11, nobody will doubt you have dressed as a French woman for Halloween with this costume, complete with beret, striped top, scarf, and baguette.
It’s a classic caricature, but not without accuracy. After all, a white striped top is an iconic Frech fashion item, known as a marinière or Breton shirt.
Worn by sailors (marins) based in Brittany (Breton), it was later popularized by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, becoming an everyday clothing item known more simply as a tricot rayé (striped top).
Of course, berets, sunglasses, and scarves are enduring fashion items straight from the French Riveria. Fellow revelers may even think you forgot to dress up.
The fake baguette will give it away (a real one would get eaten). And yes, you will see underarm baguettes across France. Although rarely as a French Halloween accessory.
Moulin Rouge Dancer Apparel
Cancan your way into Halloween with the classic cabaret dancer costume.
The Moulin Rouge is emblematic of the Parisian Belle Epoque, aided by the paintings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who occasionally depicted the glitzier side of the once notorious red-light district.
The Moulin Rouge popularized the cancan dance that became symbolic of cabaret. And whether you can lift your legs to the sky or not, this French Halloween costume will stand out.
Mona Lisa Halloween Costume
La Gioconda, AKA Mona Lisa, is the star exhibit at the Louvre Museum. Her impenetrable smile graces the most famous painting in the world. And the most bizarre Halloween costume on this list.
Art fans will know the most celebrated painting in France is actually Italian. Painted by the Renaissance legend Leonardo da Vinci and brought to France by King François I.
This déguisement (fancy dress costume) can be flung on with little effort. All you need to complete this instantly recognizable French Halloween costume is an enigmatic smile.
Joan of Arc Dress
Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) is arguably the most famous of all French women.
The so-called Maid of Orléans inspired the French army to lift the siege of Orléans, starting a chain of events that would lead to France reversing their losses during the Hundred Years War.
Burned at the stake by the vengeful English army aged only 19, she left a legacy that has never been forgotten.
The Joan of Arc costume reflects her pious beliefs (she claimed God spoke to her directly) and is sure to start a conversation at any Halloween party.
French Maid Outfit
Few Halloween costumes are more suited to adults-only parties than a French Maid outfit.
How the sexy French Maid outfit became a fetish could fill a Netflix documentary series. However, the black uniform with white trim started life as a simple outfit worn by maids in France during the 19th century.
Later, it became an essential part of the burlesque wardrobe and a playful attire that would start tongues wagging. If that sounds like your Halloween, this outfit with a dress, apron, and headband is the ticket.
Napoleon Bonaparte Halloween Costume
The Little Corporal was a giant of history and probably the most famous of all Frenchmen.
The former artillery commander from Corsica left an indelible mark on French and European culture as an all-conquering General who became an all-powerful emperor.
You won’t have to drop hints about who you’ve come as this Halloween. This Napoleon costume comes with all the finery of his preferred battlefield ensemble as a Colonel of the Grenadiers. It is an image captured in many paintings.
The red, white, and blue of the Tricolor are on full display, from the trousers to the medal-adorned jacket topped with golden epaulets.
Don’t forget to tuck your hand in for that essential statesmanlike finish, keeping one free for the Halloween punch.
After the French woman’s costume, we had to include one for the guys.
This unmistakable Frenchman’s Halloween costume tones down the vivid colors. Otherwise, the marinère, beret, and scarf are all present. But instead of a baguette, you get a mustache to complete the effect.
It’s a humorous and affectionate nod to a French stereotype that has never got old.
Vincent van Gogh Costume
This Dutchman became an honorary Frenchman, moving first to Paris and the South of France in the last few years of his tragic life.
Many of Vincent van Gogh’s works ended up in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, including pieces from his final artistic burst shortly before his suicide. Poignantly, fame only came after his death, preceded by a life of poverty and overwhelming mental health problems.
This Vincent van Gogh Halloween costume is a work of art in its own right. A hat, shirt front, jacket, and tie apparently draw inspiration from the impressionist’s self-portraits with hints of his best-known paintings, including Starry Night. It’s a surefire conversation starter.
French King Costume
Our 10th and final French Halloween costume idea steals from centuries of gallic history.
It might not be fit for un roi de France, but this French king costume could be a trick-or-treat highlight. Not least because it is modeled on Louis XVI, who lost his head on the guillotine alongside his wife (and earlier entry) Marie Antionette. A matching Halloween ensemble made for couples.
This dazzlingly white outfit features a jabot neckband, pants, and a resplendent jacket with gold trim. A wig and stockings are available for the full effect. Red wine stains will only enhance the look. After all, this Frenchman met the bloodiest of ends.
With that sobering thought, we sign off and wish you a Joyeux Halloween.
If the bloody history of the French monarchy tickles your curiosity, our list of French Halloween vocabulary may interest you and provide further spooky ideas!