Often when Halloween roles around, we don’t know if we should dress up or host a party or even pass out goodies for neighboring children. As adults, it is a challenge for us to find the time, resources, or even funds to come up with a creative costume.
Ancient Roman history and mythology are full of figures that you can attempt to research and copy; however this may lead to a night of you having to explain that you are Elagabalus (a crazy gender confused emperor from 3rd century C.E) or Cicero ( a famous orator and lawyer) or even a couple costume: Cybele & Attis (an imported Roman mother goddess and her castrated consort).
Therefore, I would suggest choosing a figure(s) that you would enjoy telling your friends about OR choosing one that is self explanatory. The following is my list:
Top Ancient Roman Halloween Costumes
Couples:Julius Caesar or Marc Antony with Cleopatra
This is a great costume for any couple or trio of friends! One can even take a morbid stance on it and have these character be zombie-like or freshly dead (Julius Caesar garb fresh with bloody stab marks, Antony sporting a self-inflicted stab wound, and Cleopatra looking beautiful and sexy with a pair of asp bite marks). Or, you can simply recreate a living look or replica from a film or tv series.
Mars and VenusThe god of war and goddess of love and beauty are a great idea for the couple in which the girl wants to be graceful and sexy; and the guy just wants to carry around a sword (gladius) and some type of armor.
Pluto and Proserpina
The king and queen of the Underworld, Pluto is a fun character to fit your mood of a dark king; he could be death-like or even more of a warrior king. While Proserpina is also fun to work with; she may be depicted as a dark queen or a reluctant prisoner queen wearing bright colors and carrying her pomegranates. If the couple has a dog, the dog could be their Cerebus.
Augustus and Livia
The first true emperor and empress of Rome, this is an opportunity to show a traditional garb of the Ancient Romans equipped with crowns. Augustus may also be adorned in a military outfit; and Livia may carry with her a vile of poison.
As the brothers and founders of Rome, these two characters may be dressed in Roman tunics (tunica) accompanied by a friend dressed in a wolf (lupus) costume (or a wolf stuff animal). If wishing to take a darker approach to the costume, Remus can be a zombie or ghost version haunting Romulus for his murderous act.
Caligula & Other
Caligula is such a crazy character within history that he may accompanied by any number of individuals or animals. He may accompanied by his Uncle Claudius, Neptune, seashells, a horse (equus), and so on. A list of his crazy endeavor may be found here for inspiration.
The three sisters who spin, measure and cut the threads of life. This could be a fun group costume for girls. They can either wear nice outfits along with their props of thread (or yarn since it is bigger), measuring tape, and scissor- however, if desired this costume would be dark with dark clothing, messy hair, dirty faces, and so on.
While traditional the Muses were all female, a friendly group of men and women may pull off this group costume. The Muses allow each individual to find which Muse they could best represent and provide the appropriate prop to their domain as can be seen here.
Costumes for One:
There are several myths in Roman literature that feature a mortal or god with an animal. This is easy to achieve since most animals (swan, spider, bull, eagle, cow) come in the form of a stuff animal, which may be found and washed from any local thrift store or toy store.
Leda & the Swan OR Artemis & Archane OR Pasiphae & the Bull
While most of these women are from Greek Mythology, luckily, the Roman wrote on all them. Leda, Artemis, and Pasiphae may be done in any numbers of way from a graceful woman/goddess to infatuated with love to angered. Their props, respectively, would be a swan, a spider and a bull- of course these props could be substituted for animal themed jewelry (i.e Swan necklace, spider purse, etc).
Prometheus, Sisyphus & the Danaids
These figures are from the Underworld in the realm of Tartarus. They were sent there for their villainy during their life. For Prometheus one could dress in tattered ancient garb and bring a lighter or a pet eagle. For Sisyphus, he could have a very similar look or even be in sweats or a track suit (to make it funny & modern) and carry a rock or stone prop. A Danaid could be a well dressed ancient looking costume who carries a strainer with her. These character’s story is told here.
Boudicca & Vercingetorix
One must not forget that although Rome was a mighty empire, there were plenty of individuals who attempted to oppose them. Boudicca is a famous Celtic Queen who stood against the Romans; inspiration for her costumes may be found here. While, Vercingetorix was a conquered enemy of Julius Caesar; inspiration may be found here for him.