When you are seeking inspiration for group Halloween costumes this year, start at the beginning. The Nine Muses have been called upon throughout history to inspire creativity, so dressing up as the sisters makes the perfect tribute.
As Halloween costumes, the Nine Muses make a great choice because the costumes are quick and easy to make, there are nine to choose from, and the idea is unique- how many Muses have you seen walking around? Here are costume ideas for all nine muses that you and your friends can put together in minutes.
The basic outfit to create your muse costume will consist of a basic dress, or a chiton, and the appropriate prop that identifies each muse and the art she protects. Since the women in Ancient Greece preferred to be dressed in brightly colored clothing, it is safe to assume that the muses did as well.
If you have a floor length, loose fitting gown already you can use that for your costume. Empire waist dresses with long sleeves or dresses made with light fabrics in long, flowing styles work best. Otherwise, you can make your own Greek garb in the form of a chiton. The female version of a chiton resembles a long tunic, and really that is all it is. A chiton is basically two rectangular pieces of fabric, front and back, sewn up the sides and tied at the shoulders. Cut the fabric out in the basic shape of a tee, just a lot longer, to allow for sleeves. Again sew the bottom half of the sleeves and tie off on top along the length of your arm. At the waist add a belted rope and you are done.
Calliope- the muse of epic poetry
Calliope was the intellectual muse, said to inspire epic poetry and philosophy. Her name literally means beautiful voice, and she lends it to those who seek her inspiration through written word. Calliope is represented with a manuscript or writing tablet, so add an important looking book to your costume or some blank sheet music and a pen.
Clio- the muse of history
Clio protected history, aiding scholars and researchers in the truthful preservation of our past. There are several props that have been used to represent Clio, and you can use them individually or in any combination to represent her. A laurel wreath can be worn or carried to represent the victors historians will write about, a trumpet can be carried to represent the proclamation of truth, and finally a scroll on which the stories of our past are written can be tucked into the belt at your waist.
Urania- the muse of astronomy
Urania is the muse of astronomy but she protects all the sciences and inspires those who seek scientific wisdom. The Ancient Greeks treated scientific study like an artistic form, and astronomy was a particularly important endeavor for them. Urania is represented with a celestial globe, but these are not always easy to find or the easiest prop to carry around. Instead, make your own crescent moon and star.
Thalia- the muse of comedy
Thalia is the muse of comedy and the comedic arts, making her one of the most popular of the muses. Her name is meant to represent growth and blooming, meaning “she who flourishes”. As the muse of comedy, Thalia is one of the easiest of the nine to represent being depicted with a comedic mask. You can easily make one of your own with a cardboard cutout attached to a stick.
Terpsichore- the muse of dance
Terpsichore is the graceful muse who protects and inspires all those who rely on movement. Since she is usually depicted dancing or playing a lyre, you will need to improvise props for your costume. To portray a dancer you can add ankle bracelets with small bells to your feet and carry a pair of castanets.
Erato- the muse of lyric poetry
Erato inspires songs of love and love poetry. She helps those who seek to write words of love, get their emotions out- something that is not always easy. Erato is usually depicted with a wreath of roses and a bunch of wild grapes.
Melpomene- the muse of tragedy
Tragic works and those who create them rely on Melpomene for inspiration. Because Melpomene represents tragedy, she is often depicted with the props of those involved in tragic productions. These include the boots commonly worn by actors who depicted tragic characters, holding a tragic mask and wearing a crown of ivy on her head.
Euterpe- the muse of music
Even though all nine muses have musical qualities and are seen with musical instruments, Euterpe was specifically chosen to protect the art of music and inspire those who worked to create it. Because music requires inspiration, but also serves to inspire it is considered one of the most important arts. Usually Euterpe is represented with a flute, but those are not cheap props so any simple musical instruments can be substituted.
Polyhymnia- the muse of sacred song
Polyhymnia is the mother of hymns and other forms of sacred music. Polyhmnia’s job is a little harder than Euterpe’s because she needs to inspire folks who are both faithful and gifted enough to create music for worshippers. The best prop to represent Polyhmnia is a hymnal, or a book of hymns.