I’m trying to scrounge up the necessary accouterments for our Mardi Gras costumes.
- Laurel branches: Everyone envisions classical gods and goddesses wearing a wreath of laurels. But where on earth do you find them?
- Sheaves of wheat or barley: Symbolic of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Again, not sure where I’m going to find these.
- Poppies: Sacred to Demeter. We just picked up a couple poppies at the garden shop, so we should have this one covered.
- Torch: Demeter is often depicted with a torch, symbolic of searching for her daughter. I don’t think we’d want a real torch but a fake one would be nice.
- Sickle or scythe: In lieu of a torch Demeter is sometimes pictured with a sickle, being a harvest goddess and all.
- Golden arm bracelets: Goddesses always seem to wear those.
- Togas and tunics: A sheet and bedspread might be sufficient.
- Lightning bolts: representing Zeus.
- Sandals: Greek gods are always wearing sandals, right?
If you have any idea how I might find, purchase, or manufacture any of these myself, please let me know. Ditto if you think of anything I’ve missed.
1: Laurel, which you and I know as Bay Leaf. I’ve seen it unplucked on the branch but don’t remember where.
2. Try to sea oats or whatever as Micheals in the fake plan sections.
3. You can find a rather gruesome looking sickle back in the party.custume stores, that leave their halloween stuff out year round. You can borrow my real one (hand kind without a long handle) , but it’s sharp.
There is a costume shop on Camp, second to last block before Poydras, that has a bunch of good inexpensive accessory stuff. such as arm bracelets and sickles
Torch: spraypaint a flashlight bronze (or just use a black one), glue some tissue paper in firey colors to stick up around the edges so it looks like flames?
And cardboard lightening bolts, I’d say.
Real lightning bolts are hard to find, and they don’t last long. I’d suggest cardboard, with lots of glitter.
For the sickle blade– I once made a fake sword out of cardboard covered with aluminum foil, but be sure to apply glue to every inch of the aluminum or it will flake off. I used a gluestick. My repaired version made with lots of smaller overlapping pieces of aluminum looked pretty realistic. And a bit sinister. If I was doing it again I’d start with a few layers of cardboard on the blade to make it stronger, but I guess it depends on your cardboard.
What about a fig leaf? Or am I just thinking of the sculptural gods?
My only advice on this costume mission.
Forego the sandals on mardi gras day in the french quarter unless you like feet being marinated in a rather noxious stew of whatever is on the ground.
Oh, and if you want some deadly lightning bolts, two words: sheet metal.
What about a large real or fake pomegrante? For fake, you could make one of a half-globe of styrofoam with smaller half-balls glued on the flat face for the seeds. Spray paint in red and white.
My daughter’s name is Daphna — bay leaf/laurel in Hebrew. You could probably find bay leaf on the branch in a health food store, otherwise try a gardening store — maybe they’ll let you just take a small branch from a tree? Or you could buy a tree and plant it, and then you’d have your own tree (today is TuB’shevat, a holiday where everyone plants trees, so it’s been on my mind)…
Wheat sheaves — try a store that makes up dried flower arrangements, or DIY home decorations — wheat sheaves are often used as “background”.
Golden arm bracelets — any Five-and-Dime should have cheap bracelets — Persephone could use an adult wrist bracelet as an arm bracelet.
arm bracelets – sequins by the bolt; should be able to find at most sewing/craft stores; cheaper then plastic junk jewelry; clip the length you need to wrap your arm and tape the ends together
wide metallic ribbon could work, too, like that wired stuff that’s sold for christmas presents/decorations
laurel/bay – if all else fails, get a large container of Deep South or Rex bay leaves from the grocery; glue/hot glue/super glue them to brown pipe cleaners or floral wire or styrofoam ring/wreath
poppies – colored tissue paper (the stuff you use for warapping presents); glue ’em on your costume and/or the bay leaf wreath
torch – you guys use paper towels? save the cardboard center; wrap in foil; crumple and cut tissue paper for flames
tunis – bed sheets really do work well; color coordinate tights/stretch pants/workout lycra/any kind of stretchy-clingy pants and a mens gianormous t-shirt underneath
I second the suggestion to dispense with the sandals. If you must, decorate your tennis with more lengths of the sequins/ribbon you use for the arm bands. Just criss-cross the lengths of sequins/ribbon. Or wear shrimp boots and paint ’em/glue ribbon on.
Be sure to check out Recycle for the Arts for low-cost costume supplies. You’ll dip into Persephone’s college savings if you source everything from art-supply places. They may have bulk glitter and foam board that you can use for your lightning bolts.
If there are some supplies you can’t get at Recycle for the Arts, don’t forget to support a local business by checking out Helen’s Broadway Bound on Canal Street for glitter and glue.
I have my mask ready to go. It turned out really cool! Maybe not Greek but I like it. Now to get my toga and other things ready….or not!
Laurels grow all over New Orleans. I used to have one in my yard uptown and I had a friend that had one on Grand Rt. St. John. Should be one somewhere in mid-city. like he said Bay Leaf.
You don’t have to limit yourself to the bay/laurel corona – Romans used all kinds of leaves in their wreaths. That is some were made of oak leaves, myrtle, olive or other leaves depending on the accomplishment. (even ears of corn).
I am sure you can find a bay laurel in New Orleans, though.
Here is a website with tons of info (more than you can use) on ancient wreaths: