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Ye olde Renaissance Faire will be upon us soon. This year, if we go I plan to wear a costume, as opposed to the jeans-and-T-shirt I’ve always worn in previous years.
If you’re not yet super-into renaissance fairs, odds are that you’re probably just looking for a good costume that’ll let you get fully into the spirit of things, but that won’t break the budget. That’s what this article is about. I didn’t used to think such a thing existed, but it does.
Of course, if you’re more serious about historical detail, you’ll probably want to spend $200 and up per costume. But if you’re like me with a $40-ish max budget per person (and more than one person to outfit), then go with my recommendations here. Money-saving bonus: your Renaissance Fair costume can also make a great Halloween costume!
So, now you can benefit from my research on where to buy affordable Renaissance Fair costumes for the whole family:
1. At a year-round Halloween costume store
Yes, this is going to be MUCH cheaper for you than a specialty medieval costume store. There are plenty of options around for Halloween costume stores to choose from, but I personally like Spirit Halloween. Why?
- Good price point
- Specifically has sections for Renaissance and medieval costumes.
- A much classier-looking site than its competitors, with appropriate results when searching. Your kids won’t accidentally see risque lingerie doubling as ‘costumes’ if they’re looking online with you!
- Costumes are available for everyone in the family: women, men and kids.
2. At Amazon.com
You can find a great array of Renaissance costumes at Amazon.com around the $40 price point from a range of sellers. This is another convenient option worth looking into.
3. At eBay
You can get some great new and used renaissance fair costumes on eBay.com at a relatively low cost.
If you're looking to buy new though, be careful. Some unscrupulous eBay sellers try to pass off used items as new, so I shop only for "new with tags" items AND only if there is photographic proof of the tags AND only from a seller with an absolutely stellar feedback rating.
4. At Etsy.com
You can buy unique new handcrafted items on Etsy.com, including ready-made Renaissance Fair costumes. Or have someone create a custom item for you.
If supporting the artisan economy is something you like to do, Etsy could be the way to go for your family’s Renaissance fair costumes. Beware though: because each item is created by hand, you’ll be paying MUCH higher prices than from any of the stores above. On the other hand, it’s a much more socially responsible way to shop. Sometimes sellers have discount sales going on their ready-made items, so it can be worth checking out. I’ve shopped at Etsy before (although not for renaissance costumes) – it’s great, and there’s a feedback system in place similar to that of eBay.
5. At the Renaissance Fair
Yes, you can buy handcrafted costumes for the whole family at the Renaissance Fair itself!
Pros of buying at fair:
- Socially responsible (you’re buying from artisans who are actually do this for a living).
- Gets you fully into the spirit of things!
Cons of buying at fair:
- These handcrafted items are often pricier than buying mass-produced
- You are restricted to what’s available size-wise and color-wise: this may be a large or a small selection, depending on the size of the fair and the various seller’s stalls. I’ve noticed that costumes for boys in particular can be limited in availability, at least in comparison to others.
Finally, a last word on comfort…
If you’re just looking to enjoy and have fun, don’t sacrifice comfort!
If your Renaissance Fair is likely to be held in mid-summer in 80+ degree heat, do NOT wear a heavy or dark costume!
This is more likely to be an issue for men’s costumes: I’ve noticed this when actually attending Renaissance fairs.
If you’re shopping in spring, it can be hard to imagine being too hot, but indeed that happens a lot by the time the summer fair rolls around. Heatstroke is not unheard of, and you certainly don’t want that to happen to yourself, your spouse or your kids. In particular, do NOT dress up kids, especially young ones who can’t easily communicate, more heavily than the normal coverings they would wear outdoors at that time of year.
And above all…
Have fun! Whether this is your first time at the fair or your 20th time, enjoy yourselves! It’s a great atmosphere, and a wonderful stress-reliever for the whole family. Now I think that’s something we could all use!
Step back in time into a different world when you take a trip to the Renaissance Fair – and you’ll be sure to make the most of it when you’re outfitted in a great costume.