Last Halloween, my eldest daughter determined that she would decide what she wanted to be for Halloween. The trend continued this year. In July, my daughter announced to me that she was going to be an Egyptian for Halloween. We were very proud and impressed that she even knew what an Egyptian was! We asked her what she meant by that and she referred to a video she had seen about ancient Egypt. I suggested that she might be Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, and she agreed.
To get in character, in September, we started reading some great books about ancient Egypt as part of our homeschool curriculum. Our library had a wonderful collection of books that were aimed at children. We checked out several. Many books are focused on mummies and death rituals of the ancient Egyptians. It seems that death was a huge focus of the ancient Egyptians but also perhaps the aspect of their lives that we have the most information about. These books were our favorites.
A few neat facts we learned about Cleopatra:
1) Cleopatra was Greek.
2) She was the last of the pharaohs of Egypt.
3) She was married for a time to her brother.
4) She was the girlfriend of Julius Caesar and had a son by him whom she named Caesarion (“Little Caesar”) My daughter recalls this fact each time we eat Little Caesar’s pizza.
5) She was also the girlfriend of Mark Antony and had boy/girl twins by him whom she named Helios (“Sun”) and Selene (“Moon”)
6) Cleopatra committed suicide by being bitten by a poisonous asp.
Overall, a very interesting lady who lived in very interesting times.
I wanted to sew costumes this year but since there are a lot of pre-made Cleopatra costumes out there for not much money, I tried to keep my materials affordable. I was inspired by the illustrations in “You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra” that referenced Cleo’s Greek heritage so we went with a white, richly folded gown and the characteristic Egyptian jeweled collar.
I had some white cotton fabric in my stash so we used that for the gown. My daughter loved the “bling” materials we ordered, like the gold lame, turquoise and gold sequins. The pink crystal trim however was the hands-down favorite.
We added an inexpensive wig and some black eyeliner to complete the look.
We were unable to locate the wig for a previous Halloween party we attended so my daughter went as the blonde Cleopatra, complete with crown and colored eyelash face painting from a fall festival we attended. That worked too.
Cleopatra was a popular costume choice this year. Little did we know that Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen were on the same wavelength!
It was a lot of fun to dive back into ancient Egyptian history in this process. I had forgotten how much I enjoy history from that time period. It is no wonder we continue to be amazed by that fascinating culture. They had great style too.
Have a favorite Cleopatra or ancient Egypt fact? Please share in the comments.
Next costume: Queen Elizabeth