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Top 10 Ideas for Halloween Costumes Based on Greek Mythology

halloween costumes greek mythology
“Circe Invidiosa” by JW Waterhouse. Credit: Public Domain.

Forget cats, witches, and skeletons — figures from Greek mythology make the most impressive Halloween costumes. From frightening creatures, beautiful goddesses, and powerful heroes, ancient Greek myth provides all the inspiration you need for the best costume.

With some creativity and crafting skills, anyone can construct their own impressive costume based on some of the most fascinating and iconic figures from Greek mythology.

medusa halloween costume greek mythology
“Medusa,” by Caravaggio. Credit: Public Domain

Medusa

Perhaps the most infamous figure from Greek mythology, Medusa, whose name actually means “guardian” in Ancient Greek, makes for the perfect Halloween costume.

In antiquity, Medusa was described as a winged woman with hair made of serpents and a gaze that could turn you into stone. While there are many costumes of the fearsome figure for sale, you could even create your own by making snakes out of clay or foam and affixing them to a headband.

halloween costume greek mythology
Hercules, wearing the pelt of the Nemean Lion, and the goddess Athena. Credit: Public Domain

Hercules, the quintessential hero of Greek mythology, as a Halloween costume

Hercules is the most famous ancient Greek hero and demigod. Known for his immense strength and bravery, Hercules is described and depicted as a handsome, strong young man in ancient text and art. In Greek mythology, Hercules adventured around the world to bravely complete his Twelve Labors.

His first, and possibly most famous, task was slaying the frightening Nemean Lion. After killing the fearsome creature, Hercules is frequently depicted wearing its pelt. Adding this recognizable symbol to your Halloween costume will impress anyone familiar with Greek mythology!

Athena, goddess of wisdom and war

athena
A Roman copy of a Greek statue of Athena. Credit: Tetraktys/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Athena, protector of the Greek capital Athens and goddess of wisdom and war, is one of the most formidable figures in Greek mythology. Her iconic helmet and spear make her an impressive choice for a Halloween costume.

The goddess was also associated with the owl and the snake. According to legend, Perseus gave the goddess the head of Medusa after slaying her, and Athena placed Medusa’s head on her shield, turning her enemies into stone.

POSEIDON halloween costume greek mythology
Poseidon. Credit: Dosseman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

God of the sea makes for a powerful Halloween costume inspired by Greek mythology

Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea, storms, earthquakes, and horses, was one of the most powerful of the twelve Olympians. Known as the “earth shaker,” Poseidon was the protector of seafarers.

Considering Greece’s proximity to and dependence on the sea, it comes as no surprise that Poseidon is one of the oldest of the Greek gods.

He is often depicted in ancient art as a strong figure that carries a trident. Often, Poseidon is shown seated on a chariot that is pulled either by horses or by dolphins.

cyclops
The Head of Polyphemus from the Colosseum. Credit: Steven Lek/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

The Cyclops

According to Greek mythology, the Cyclops were one-eyed giants that were some of the first beings to inhabit the universe.

One of these Cyclops is one of the most famous creatures in all of Greek mythology. He is Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and the nymph Toosa, who famously lost his eye when Odysseus blinded him in order to escape from his cave, where the Cyclops had kidnapped him and his other men.

The Cyclops’ single eye, created with some artful makeup, makes it a great choice for a creepy Halloween costume inspired by Greek mythology.

daphne halloween costume greek mythology
Apollo and Daphne. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Daphne, the nymph turned laurel tree

Hunted by Apollo, the nymph Daphne famously pleaded to her father, a river god, for help in escaping Apollo’s clutches.

Just before he could reach her, Daphne was transformed into a laurel tree. From that time on, the laurel tree became linked to Apollo, and laurel wreaths were given as prizes and worn at festivals for the god.

Countless depictions of Daphne show the nymph in the midst of her transformation, with branches and flowers sprouting from her limbs.

deadliest women greek mythology circe clytemnestra
“Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus,” by John William Waterhouse, 1891. Circe was among the deadliest women in Greek mythology. Credit: Public Domain

Circe, a Halloween costume inspired by the most deadly witch of Greek mythology

According to ancient Greek legends, Circe, a sorceress, was one of the most dangerous women a man could encounter. She was known to seduce men, luring them onto her island and never letting them leave.

When the men, driven mad by their desire to touch her, visited the island, she would catch them off guard and use a spell to transform them into hogs, trapping them forever in their ignominious bodies.

The only man who was ever able to escape her magic was Odysseus, who had been forewarned by the ancient Greek god Hermes.

Icarus
The Lament for Icarus by H. J. Draper. Credit: Public Domain

Icarus

Icarus, son of master craftsman Daedalus, famously flew too close to the sun, melting the wings his father made from wax to escape the labyrinth he himself built.

The story from Greek mythology is famous for its lesson of avoiding pride and listening to the wisdom of one’s elders.

The symbol of melting wings made of wax is universally known, but not many would think to transform the story from Greek mythology into a Halloween costume. Just avoid making wings out of wax, as they may melt!

halloween costume greek mythology
Pandora’s box, by Charles Edward Perugini. Credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain

Pandora

The story of Pandora may be the most well-known of all Greek myths. Pandora, said to be the first human woman created by Hephaestus on the instructions of Zeus, was given a jar, or in common parlance a “box,” containing all the world’s evils.

Curious, and unaware of the box’s contents, Pandora opened it against the orders of Zeus, and released evil onto the world.

There are many creative possibilities in terms of Halloween costumes inspired by the iconic story, such as filling a box with “evils” and releasing them.

MINOTAUR
The Minotaur. Credit: Zde/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Minotaur

The minotaur is one of the most fascinating monsters of Greek mythology. With a man’s body and a bull’s head, his name means “Bull of Minos.”

Minos, son of Zeus, asked Poseidon for help so that his people would make him the King of Crete after Asterion’s death. Poseidon agreed and brought forth from the seas a beautiful white bull, which Minos promised to sacrifice on his behalf.

But Minos was amazed by the beauty of the bull, and he sacrificed a different one in its place, hoping to trick Poseidon. This enraged Poseidon, and in revenge he awakened a desire in Pasiphae, Minos’ wife, instructing her to have a child with the white bull, which resulted in the minotaur.

The minotaur became violent as it grew older, so Minos built a labyrinth and locked the Minotaur in it. The minotaur only ate human flesh, and every nine years Minos offered seven women and seven men to be devoured by the Minotaur.

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