The Best Costume Festivals In The World

Fancy dress or costume parties have been around since the eighteenth-century masquerade balls. Today, however, they are a much different affair. They represent culture, celebration, fun, uniqueness and much more. There are many events and festivals around the world where costumes play a major part in the celebration and spectacle of these events, here is our list of the “must see” costume festivals in the world…


  • Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A festival held every year before Lent; it is considered the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people per day on the streets. Rio's Carnival begins on the Friday preceding Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday, but the Winners' Parade happens on the Saturday after the carnival ends

Rio Carnival is home to some of the most elaborate costumes in the world, feathers, sequins, rhinestones and an inordinate amount of glamour creates the larger than life costumes seen at Rio Carnival. From over-the-top parades to street parties to luxurious balls, each occasion has a theme. This means that you can change outfits several times a day just to fit the bill. Some street parties are even colour coordinated and require everyone to match. 

Today, some of the most famous events of Rio Carnival are ticketed events. Carnival ticket prices can vary depending on the ticket type, sector and season and can be bought in advance through international brokers, or through local travel agents in Rio de Janeiro. 


  • Burning Man, Blackrock City, Nevada
  • The first Burning Man event (1986) was composed of a small group of 35 individuals. It was originally held in San Francisco’s Baker Beach and was mostly made up of artists. There were no costumes then, they wore whatever was comfortable for them. But today, Burning Man is known for extravagant and lavish costumes and props. The festival is like no other in the world and combines a love of music, art and community spirit so it’s no wonder festival goers want to both express their personality and be like walking pieces of art - It is a place of total, unwavering personal freedom.

    When it comes to Burning Man costumes, you can dress up as outrageously as you dare and you’ll fit right in. They just ask you to be responsible and due to their ‘leave no trace’ policy there are a few rules such as no glitter. Basically, anything that can fall off of you is frowned upon. But, besides that your imagination may be the only thing that can limit your creativity. 

    Burning Man, tickets sell out fast. In fact, pre-sale tickets are often sold out during the first half-hour it opens to the public.if you want to go to Burning Man, then check out our ultimate guide to Burning Man tickets to help you get started.


  • Walpurgis, Mount Broken, Germany
  • Every April in Germany, thousands gather for Walpurgisnacht, which is exactly six months before Halloween. Historically this is the night when witches gather at the Hexentanzplatz (witches' dance) and fly up Mount Brocken, where they convene with the devil. In the past, people believed that the witches were the masters of evil ghosts trying to prevent the coming of spring - the dancing and traditional celebrations were to ward off these witches. 

    Today, people re-enact the witches' ceremony in full regalia. What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than erecting a bonfire, dancing wildly, and dressing like a witch?

    Walpurgis Night begins on the night of April 30 and the festivities roll on until well into the early hours of the following day. The event is celebrated throughout almost all of the Harz region, adding up to around 20 festival locations. The biggest celebrations are hosted in the small hilly town of Thale at the Hexentanzplatz and unsurprisingly, some of the wildest festivities happen at the Brocken, the location of the origin of the Walpurgis legend.

    It is not a ticketed event, it is a time for families, friends, and communities to get together and indulge in some crazy fun for one night.

  • Mardi Gra, New Orleans
  • In many parts of the world, Mardi Gras has grown into a celebration in its own right, with carnival celebrations happening all over the world. However, the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations are famous and it is the biggest event on the New Orleans calendar. Costumes and masks are as integral to the festivities as multi-colored beads. 

    Celebrations can fall on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9 (depending on the date of Easter, and thus of Ash Wednesday). The biggest parades in New Orleans happen on Mardi Gras day, which is the Tuesday before Lent begins, this date can fall anywhere from the 3rd February through to 10th March. The best time to attend is usually the 6 days leading up to Mardi Gras day. 

    Find everything you need to know including the next festivals schedules and dates on their official website.

  • Comic-Con International, San Diego, California
  • Comic-Con International is a comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event held annually in San Diego, California since 1970.

    Comic-con costumes are awe-inspiring! People put a lot of effort and planning into emulating their favourite pop culture characters from comic books, anime, graphic novels, movies, video games, and TV shows. A lot of people even become their characters completely. Dedicated fans share costume tips and tricks, and have fun nerding out on their favourite things. 

    Even if you’re not into comic books or video games, dressing up for Comic-Con should be on every costume-lover’s bucket list. You can find out how to attend and everything else you need to know about the event on their official website.


  • Fantasy Fest, Key West, Florida
  • Fantasy Fest turns Halloween into a 10 day event! It is an adult-only costume event with parades, themed parties, body painting, live bands, and all sorts of craziness. Every year there is a different theme to Fantasy Fest, for example one year was ‘All Hallows InterGalactic Freak Show’ and in 2022, the theme was: “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos.”. Many people spend months planning out their costumes for the multitude of themed parties that happen throughout the week.

    There are many events that happen throughout the 10 days. A full list can be seen on their official website. 


    There are many more great costume events that take place around the world, far too many to mention in one blog. If you like festivals, carnivals, fancy dress and travel you have many options to choose from, but these are a great place to start.

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