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Are you looking for good Renaissance fair costumes that’ll let your family get fully into the spirit of things, but that won’t break the budget? I didn’t used to think such a thing existed, but it does. Here are the best places to find affordable medieval and Renaissance fair costumes for you, your spouse, and kids.
Types of Renaissance fair costumes
Most Renaissance fair costumes tend to fall into 3 main categories, although you are welcome to go from something outside those categories. These options are:
- medieval - knights, lords and ladies, serving women, peasants
- pirate - think Pirates of the Caribbean
- steampunk - Victorian-style costumes mixed with accents of analog machinery
If you don't know what you want, then medieval is always the safest bet for any Renaissance fair.
Note that this article is about how to get appropriate yet cheap costumes for your family. By contrast, if you’re serious about historical detail, you’ll be looking at $200 and up per costume from a historically accurate maker. But if you’re like me with a low 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 cosplay or Halloween costume!
Let's move on and look at where to buy affordable Renaissance fair costumes for your family.
1. At a year-round Halloween costume store
Shopping at a year-round Halloween store is always going to be cheaper for you than a specialty medieval costume store. There are plenty of options around for Halloween costume stores to choose from. I recommend Spirit Halloween for this because it has:
- An affordable price point
- 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, boys and girls.
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 a convenient option well 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 is the perfect way to go for your family’s Renaissance fair costumes. Beware though: because each item is created by hand, you’ll be paying 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.
5. At the Renaissance Fair
Yes, you can buy handcrafted costumes for the whole family at the Renaissance Fair itself!
Pros of buying at the Renaissance 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 the Renaissance 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 winter or 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 and enjoy yourselves! A Renaissance Fair has a great atmosphere, and is a wonderful stress-reliever for the whole family.
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.