Cosplay as a Vampire (Girls)

  Reading time 20 minutes

While traditional vampires are known for their fangs and spooky black apparel, plenty of modern vampires can be just as fun to dress up as. Find your favorite vampire character, from a TV show, film, anime, or book, and brainstorm how you can recreate their costume for a convincing and fun cosplay. Or you can invent your own original vampire cosplay. Once you have a design in mind, set a budget for your costume and develop a plan for how you’ll create it. Whether you buy costume pieces or do a “closet cosplay,” get into character by mimicking your vampire’s poses and facial expressions for a fun and convincing cosplay.


[Edit]Choosing a Vampire to Cosplay

  1. Select a specific vampire character for your cosplay. Think about all the vampires you’ve seen in movies, TV shows, books, and graphic novels. You can pick a vampire you really like and whose personality you want to bring to life.[1] Or, personality aside, you can choose your cosplay based on which vampire’s costume and character design you love.[2]
    • If you choose a specific character to base your cosplay off of, you can have lots of fun trying to recreate their costume and act like them, and having people recognize who you’re dressed up as.
    • Remember that you can create a cosplay for any vampire at all! It doesn’t matter what you look like or what your gender is.
  2. Get inspired by traditional vampires if you want to create your own character. If you don’t want to cosplay as a specific character, there are tons of possibilities for creating your own unique vampire cosplay! Do some research into traditional vampires, like Dracula, to see what elements you want to include in your costume. Then check out more modern vampires, like the Twilight characters, to see how they look and dress.
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    • This is a chance to use your imagination. Maybe you want to include long, dark hair, deep red lipstick, and fangs in your cosplay, but you want to wear a Victorian dress. That can totally work!
    • Traditional vampires often wear formal black, white, and red clothes featuring ornate, vintage details. You could wear a tuxedo-inspired outfit or an ornately embroidered corset and a long black skirt.[3]
  3. Research your inspiration vampire(s) for costume ideas. If you’re basing your cosplay on a specific character, spend some time re-reading the graphic novel or re-watching the film or TV show they appear in to see them in action. Or if you’re creating a unique character, gather inspiration images of other vampire characters and costumes to help you decide what you want to include in your costume.
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    • Look online for other peoples’ vampire cosplays. Search “[vampire’s name] cosplay” to see how other people have approached the character. This can give you some ideas for how to transform the items in your closet.[4]
    • Seeing other cosplays can show you what elements of the costume are the most important to work into your own cosplay.
  4. Make a list of looks you could recreate for your vampire cosplay. If you’ve chosen an anime vampire, they might just have one costume. But if you’ve picked a TV show vampire, they could have hundreds of outfits to choose from! Or if you’re developing a new vampire costume, think about what style your vampire might wear. Jot down all the costumes you like and which ones you could recreate for your cosplay.[5]
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    • Say you want to cosplay Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She sticks to a pretty specific sense of style with her modern outfits, but she also wears historic clothes in flashback episodes.
    • For your Drusilla cosplay, you could either choose a specific outfit worn during a memorable episode, or you could create an outfit that represents her overall style of dressing.
    • For a really recognizable cosplay, you could recreate the outfit that appears in the promotional posters for your vampire’s movie or TV show.
  5. Choose a specific look for your cosplay and study its elements carefully. Search for photos of the vampire online to get a better look at the costume from all angles. Or gather reference images of a variety of vampires and costumes to create your original design. Make a list of each item you’ll need in your cosplay. (This is what costume designers call a piece list.)
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    • On your piece list, you should identify every single garment and accessory you’ll need, from your wig down to your shoelaces.[6]
    • Also make note of the hair and makeup products that you’ll need to recreate your vampire’s signature look.
    • When developing your costume ideas and piece list, focus just on the aspects of the vampire’s appearance that you can recreate. You don’t need to grow taller or change your skin color or gender to exactly match your character. But you can change your hair with a wig, and you can use makeup and clothes to get their look.

[Edit]Making Your Costume

  1. Create a budget for your costume. Cosplay can be an expensive hobby, and it can be tempting to go overboard. Whether you have a big or small budget to work with, assign a dollar amount to each item on your piece list. This will tell you how much you can spend on each piece.
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    • If you have a $100 budget, for example, and 10 items on your piece list, you can start by dividing $100 by 10. This leaves $10 per item. But if you already plan to use 3 or 4 items from your own closet, you have closer to $15 left per item.
    • You can shift the money around so there’s less budgeted for more inexpensive items and more budgeted for the 1 or 2 pieces that could be more expensive. For example, you might want to buy a jacket and shoes that match your character, but style your own hair without a wig.[7]
    • A budget will keep you on track and will help you make sure that you can finish all the aspects of your costume.
  2. Make a plan for how you’ll construct your costume. You can do a “closet cosplay,” meaning you’re using pieces you already have in your closet. You could buy a full costume, which might cost a few hundred dollars, or you could purchase just a few specific pieces. Finally, you can make your cosplay from scratch. This could be based on a commercial sewing pattern or a pattern you came up with on your own.[8]
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    • Feel free to use a mix of strategies for putting together your costume! For example, could sew some decorative trim onto your own clothes and top off your look with a character-specific wig you ordered online.
    • If you’re wondering whether bought or handmade costumes are better, know that it doesn’t really matter. Choose whatever method feels the most manageable and fun to you.
  3. Consider what accessories your vampire might need. Does your vampire wear a specific necklace or amulet? Do they carry around a specific backpack or an imposing walking stick? See if you have items on hand that you can use for your cosplay. Or consider buying or making something that closely matches your vampire’s accessories.
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    • Craft materials like clay, paper mache, cardboard, and a splash of paint can be useful for making jewelry and accessories.[9]
    • Traditional vampires tend to wear ornate vintage jewelry. Find some costume jewelry to add dazzling red rings and ornate chains to your ensemble.[10]
    • Modern vampires often wear big sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to protect themselves from the sunlight.
  4. Gather all the materials needed for your costume, based on your piece list. Whether you’re pulling clothes from your closet, ordering costume pieces online, or borrowing a few items from your friends, you should assemble all the items on your piece list. You’ll also need to get raw materials like fabric, thread, paint, and glue for your custom projects, as well as makeup and hair styling products.
    Cosplay as a Vampire (Girls) Step 9.jpg
    • Thrift stores can be great for finding inexpensive clothes that you can modify.
    • Check each item off the piece list as you go.
    • If you’re buying clothes or fabric, focus on the colors, textures, and shapes of the clothes and fabric. Oftentimes, it’s important to use a specific color so people will recognize your cosplay.[11]
  5. Make or modify any handcrafted pieces you need for your cosplay. If you’re making some clothes or accessories from scratch, this is your chance to get creative! You’ll likely need some sewing skills, or you can ask a trusted adult to help sew your costume for you. Or you can modify existing garments to create a new cosplay.
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    • For example, you could sew a top to a skirt and add on metallic trim to create your vampire character’s dress.
  6. Create a hairstyle using your natural hair or a wig. You can order a wig that’s specific to your character, or one that’s the right length and color which you’d style yourself. Or you can play around with your natural hair (even if it’s not the exact color and cut of your vampire) to create a style reminiscent of your character’s.
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    • Long black hair is one of the most recognizable features of a traditional vampire long black hair. You could use a temporary spray-on hair color product to darken your locks for the day to achieve this look.
    • But some modern vampire characters have choppy bobs! For instance, if you have short hair you could use a flat iron and volumizing mousse to recreate Alice’s spikey bob in Twilight. Or you could wear a wig, like the actress in the film series did.[12]
  7. Design a makeup look for your vampire cosplay. Practically all vampires have fangs, and a little fake blood around your lips can go a long way in communicating your vampire status to onlookers. Traditional vampires are known for wearing deep red lips and dark, smokey eye makeup. Some modern vampires might wear contemporary, fashionable makeup while other fantasy characters have specific facial features you might want to recreate. Study your reference images and write out a list of makeup products you’ll need to transform your face.
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    • You can use powder and face paint to give your skin a pale, sallow, or gray tint. Use cool colors like dark purple to sink in your cheekbones and add bags under your eyes.
    • Try adding pops of white highlighter to suggest pale, bloodless skin. This trick works even if you have a deeper skin tone.[13]
    • To get some ideas, check out makeup video tutorials from people who have already done a vampire cosplay similar to yours.[14]
  8. Try on your cosplay to make sure the clothes, hair, and makeup are set. A few days before going off to a cosplay convention or dressing up with your friends, you should make sure each costume piece fits comfortably and that you can easily get in and out of your cosplay. If you plan to travel by car, or walk around for hours while cosplaying, make sure your costume will hold up to these kinds of activities.[15]
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    • Gather up your cosmetics and practice doing your makeup, styling your hair, and/or putting on your wig.
    • Check to see how long it takes to get ready so you can leave yourself enough time to prepare before heading off to a convention.
    • During a trial run, make sure all the pieces look and feel great. If they still need some work, you’ll still have a bit of time left for minor fixes to your costume.

[Edit]Acting the Part

  1. Practice the vampire’s poses and facial expressions. Look at the source of your vampire character, whether it’s a film, TV show, or graphic novel, to see how they move their body. Practice getting into their signature poses and recreating their facial expressions.[16]
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    • For a traditional vampire, you could wrap your cape around your body, concealing everything but your face. Focus on shooting a piercing glare at onlookers.[17]
    • For a really believable performance, try to mimic as many of the vampire’s movements as you can!
  2. Stay in the shadows and avoid the sunlight like a true vampire. Most vampires choose to avoid light. You can choose to act like a modern vampire who can go out with caution. Wear sunglasses or even a wide-brimmed hat if you plan to go outside. Alternatively, you could play on the old tradition of vampires turning to dust in the sunlight.
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    • Rehearse how you’d act if exposed to direct sunlight. Maybe your character wails in pain or collapses on the ground in weakness. This could definitely heighten the drama of your cosplay.
  3. Prepare a vampirish accent and a few phrases to say. Take note of what your vampire says and how they speak in their film, TV show, or book. Memorize their signature phrases and try to mimic their voice. Practice the old-school Transylvanian accent to increase your credibility as a vampire.[18]
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    • You could spook people out with the Dracula style saying, “I vant to sak your blood.”
    • Or, if you’re a modern vampire, you can slip phrases into your conversation that reveal your true nature. If someone asks you to hang out, you could respond with, “Sure, but I can’t hang out until after dark.”
  4. Play moody music wherever you go. Vampires are gloomy and brooding. Give yourself a soundtrack of classical music by Mozart or Beethoven. Or you could go for moody rock bands like Muse, Paramore, Evanescence, Flyleaf, Nightwish, Shinedown, Black Veil Brides or Metallica. Make a playlist that gets you in the right mood.
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    • You could also play the theme song or soundtrack from your vampire character’s film or TV show.
  5. Take photos in your cosplay. Once you’re in costume and behaving like a vampire, don’t forget to take lots of pictures to document your amazing cosplay! Find a cool location that feels like somewhere your vampire would go, get into the right pose, and show off all sides of your costume for the camera.[19]
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    • It can be fun to gather a bunch of cosplay friends together to recreate a full vampire community.
    • Or you can stay on your own, and use a friend or camera tripod to take pictures of your cosplay.


  • Make sure your costume is safe, especially if you’re incorporating weapons into your outfit. Be careful not to make a costume with elements that will be slipping hazards or that will restrict your vision.[20]
  • When creating your costume, ask an adult to help you with tools you’re not experienced with, such as a sewing machine or X-Acto knife.
  • If you have a bigger budget and want to get a really specific look, you can commission a costume to be made for you, based on your measurements and design preferences.[21]
  • If you’re cosplaying as a vampire for a convention, set a timeline. Give yourself enough time to do research, gather all your materials, and create the costume ahead of the convention day.[22]
  • Pack a costume repair kit for cosplay outings. Include things like safety pins, tape, makeup for touch-ups, hairpins or hairspray, and a storage case for your fangs. It’s also a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks so you don’t get dehydrated or hungry.[23]
  • If you receive unwanted attention, bullying, or harassment while cosplaying, do your best to ignore the person and get away from them, whether in person or online. For instance, you could block a bully on social media. Immediately tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or an event security guard, if you feel unsafe. And know that your cosplay is awesome no matter what some people might say![24]

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