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Romany Costume Ideas: Go Boho Without Spending a Fortune

Susan believes that playing dress-up is one of the best parts of being a kid. Her creative costume ideas help bring out the kid in everyone!

Boho Bellydancer Dress Costume Ideas for Girls and Women

Boho bellydancer, Bohemian vagabond, Roma nomad... although the word "gypsy" is now considered a racist term, that's what we're talking about. Need some ideas on how to put together a great costume? We've got 'em! These are fun to make and wear for Halloween or a costume party any time of the year. Plus, the Bohemian (Boho) look is stylish and very popular for everyday wear right now. I love it!

We'll show you how easy, fun, and fast it can be to raid your friends' closets, mom's or grandma's jewelry box, and even the local thrift store to find interesting clothing and accessories to create an inexpensive, original, and unique homemade costume.

Don't have time to sift through closets to assemble your outfit? This page includes suggestions for costumes and accessories you can buy. Choose your favorite (remember to shop early), place your order, and getting ready for this season's Halloween or costume party will be a piece of cake—errr, pumpkin pie!

Read on for tips to help you get the look DIY as well as for a selection of costumes available for purchase.

Everything you need to get that Boho look.

Everything you need to get that Boho look.

Your Romany Costume Supply List

Here's the short list. Read on to learn how to put it all together for a great look.

  • Start with a long, or even a short, full skirt. A ruffled petticoat is optional but fun.
  • Add a peasant blouse.
  • Layer on scarves and shawls.
  • Don't forget the jewelry— dangly earrings and strands of beads.
  • Wear boots, sandals, or simple shoes, your preference.
  • Apply bright makeup.
  • Carry a tambourine for music—or for collecting treats!

Mood Music: A Song to Help You Brainstorm

"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher. Perfect choice!

The most important ingredient of any homemade costume is creativity. Start with our list, but use your imagination and get creative to end up with the best costume of the night!

We have examples of most of these items, so scroll the page so you don't miss anything.

Prefer to buy a costume? We have those further down the page, too. Continue to scroll down the page to take a look.

Start From the Top With a Headscarf and Wig

One of the most distinctive parts of this costume is the headscarf. If you already have long hair, choose a pretty scarf from your local discount store or a consignment shop; most have plenty of scarves on hand. Refer to the video above to learn how to tie your scarf depending on its shape. Give it a try, it's easy!

If you don't have long hair and really want to change your look, consider this awesome wig.

These skirts come in a variety of lengths and styles.

These skirts come in a variety of lengths and styles.

Invest in a Bohemian Skirt Fit for Everyday Wear

Next, add the most distinctive part of a Boho outfit: a long, full skirt in a print, stripe, or solid color. The brighter, the better. Consider layering a shorter ruffled skirt over a long one for a very unique look. Asymmetric hems add visual interest, as seen in the skirt below.

A cotton top finishes out the base of your outfit.

A cotton top finishes out the base of your outfit.

Add a Peasant Blouse

Add an off-the-shoulder peasant blouse in a jewel tone or your favorite color. Peasant blouses have been very popular the last couple of years, so it should be very easy to find one at a thrift or consignment shop if you don't already own something that will work.

Layer on a Hip Scarf

Tie a silky scarf around your waist and another around your hair. Look for long, wide, lightweight scarves and get creative! Tie a pretty fringed shawl around your waist or shoulders.

These hip scarves for belly dancing are eye-catching and a fabulous addition to your look. They're available in many gorgeous colors, and they just might be the most popular item on this page.

Wear lot of jewelry. Go for gold and dangly pieces.

Wear lot of jewelry. Go for gold and dangly pieces.

Pile on the Jewelry

Wear lots of jewelry, such as strings of beads, big hoop earrings, shiny chain necklaces, bracelets, and belts. Again, a thrift store should be able to provide you with some great choices. Go for flashy pieces as you're looking through the jewelry box. Load 'em on! A proper belly dancer can never have too many strands of beads! Even if you buy a costume, you'll want to embellish it with some "bling."

These stunning, dangling earrings are perfect for the look. Picture them with the head scarf above. Your costume is almost complete with these two items alone!

Where to Look for Boho Costume Pieces and Affordable Accessories

Think creatively when you're gathering pieces for your homemade costume.

You'll find ideas in:

  • Your closet
  • Your mom's closet
  • Your friend's closet
  • The neighborhood thrift store or consignment shop
  • Mom's or grandma's jewelry box (ask first!)

Layer them on and have fun!

Poll: Make It or Buy It?

Do you prefer a homemade or store-bought costume?

Please participate in our quick poll. If you have more to add, we have a comments section for that near the bottom of the page. Thanks for voting!

The Look We're Going for. Isn't It Gorgeous?

This costume includes the dress with the ruffled underskirt/petticoat, the bandana and waist sash (both with sequins), and vinyl belt, plus a half-dozen fortune teller cards to use as props.

The author as a little Bohemian vagabond, many years ago.

The author as a little Bohemian vagabond, many years ago.

The adorable little Roma in the picture is the author of this page when she was about four, wearing her homemade costume, capturing the Boho look even before Boho was cool.

I was fortunate to have parents who took pictures, and since I'm the oldest of the kids in our family there are more pictures of me than any of the others. Many happy childhood memories are triggered when I look through my photo album. When I decided to make a page about Halloween based on my past experiences, the costume picture above immediately came to mind.

I called my mom to ask her about the costume. She thinks I was probably four years old. She says she can remember dressing me up this way, but she doesn't remember many of the details. In the '50s, women wore scarves more than they do today, and obviously we used a few to create my Boho look. My mom didn't wear big, dangly earrings, so I have to think that perhaps she borrowed at least the earrings and possibly some of the other jewelry from a friend or maybe one of my doting aunts. I wish we still had some of those fancy pieces!

I also wish the picture was in color, but in those days most people still took photos in black and white. It's pretty easy to see, though, that I was wearing some bright lipstick, and I'm sure my outfit was pretty colorful, too.

These days, store-bought Romany costumes often include a crystal ball. If my mother had one back then, I doubt it would have predicted that I'd be using this picture more than 50 years later to illustrate an article online. (Online? What's that?) My, how things have changed! But then again, how they've stayed the same. Dressing up at Halloween was fun then, and I'm guessing that most little girls today would still love to create a fancy Bohemian style dress costume like this one. Thank goodness kids still are born with imagination—and moms still like for their kids to have fun!

© 2010 Susan Deppner

Comments? Share Your Romany Costume Ideas—Or Just Say Hello!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 27, 2014:

She does have a wonderful voice, Adventuretravels, I agree. Have fun making your costume this year!

Giovanna from UK on October 26, 2014:

Isn't Cher amazing - so self assured and confident. I love her voice. Anyway I make my own costumes because it's so much fun! Great ideas here. Thanks.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 04, 2014:

LOL Thank you, @Sylvestermouse! So glad you stopped by.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on October 03, 2014:

Totally awesome ideas and suggestions for a gypsy costume and that photo of "the author" is absolutely adorable.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 01, 2014:

I was kinda cute as a little kid, lisln. My mother would have to agree. LOL So glad you stopped by!

LorLinda from Denver Colorado on September 30, 2014:

I can't get over how adorable you look in that picture of you when you were a child. Great hub Susan nice to see you again it has been awhile.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 27, 2014:

That's so sweet, Elsie. Thank you! I love the memories that childhood pictures bring.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on September 26, 2014:

Awesome hub especially as halloween is just around the corner. You have a great collection and ideas for a gypsy costume. I love the photo of you all dress up and looking very happy with that smile on your face. Those are the pictures that warm the heart and make me smile. Thanks.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 25, 2014:

Thank you, DDE. Dressing up is lots of fun!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 24, 2014:

Incredible! Such a lovely idea and sounds a great experience.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 21, 2014:

The dance class sounds awesome, Arachnea. The belly dance hip scarves above are very popular and I suspect that many do double duty with belly dancers and gypsies or boho fans alike. It's a great look. Have fun with it!

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on September 21, 2014:

I took a romani dance class years ago. Some of thse ideas would have come in handy for the costume part of the required performance. Much of my belly dance stuff would still work well for a gypsy costume. I may just do something this year.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on August 13, 2014:

@TerriCarr: Gypsies love candy. :D Thanks so much for stopping by!

TerriCarr on August 13, 2014:

I dressed up as a gypsy for my very last Halloween of Trick or Treating. I was at least 12 years old I think. Maybe 13 :-) I was reluctant to give up the candy grab.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on August 03, 2014:

@DANCING COWGIRL: It would be fun to try it and see! Thanks for stopping by!

Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on August 03, 2014:

I have never dressed up like a Gypsy but it looks like it would really be fun. I wonder if I would look anything like Cher? hahahahaha

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on June 17, 2014:

@Brite-Ideas: Oh, yes. I think that's part of why gypsy costumes are so popular. So many people simply love the look! Thanks, Brite-ideas!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on June 16, 2014:

these are a terrific costume idea, bright and almost retro hippie too

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on March 20, 2014:

@katiesnow: Sounds like a wonderful and very fun project with your granddaughter! Bet she remembers the costume for a very long time!

katiesnow on March 20, 2014:

I just love gypsy clothing, my granddaughter and I took 3 months to put together pieces for this past Halloween. They came out great and are so authentic looking, we made our jewelry from pieces found at Michaels and had a blast doing it. It will be a costume we were for the next few seasons and perhaps during our ghost walks!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on March 02, 2014:

@Jim Houston: So glad you stopped by!

Jim Houston from Wilmer, Alabama on March 01, 2014:

Hi Susan, Neat lens. I can't resist taking a look at anything Gypsy as the Romanian culture has always been a fascination of mine. Their music is especially beautiful. JimHouston33

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 13, 2013:

@vernica4: Thanks! I love that song, too, and it just fits on this page!

vernica4 on November 12, 2013:

Loved the Cher song!!!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 03, 2013:

@Ellen Mitchell: Mine, too! Happy Halloween!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 03, 2013:

@thebookhill: Thanks!

thebookhill on November 03, 2013:

Very enjoyable and fun.

Ellen Mitchell on October 31, 2013:

The gypsy costume has always been my favorite. Thanks for the ideas. Happy Halloween!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 07, 2013:

@RowanChisholm: Sounds like a whole lot of fun!

Rowan Chisholm from Washington state on October 06, 2013:

I have worn gypsy costumes several times for Halloween. On top of that, I attended a day camp one year where we had a gypsy theme. We sang songs like "Gypsy Rover" and wore gypsy costumes part of the time. It was a blast!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 23, 2013:

@Pam Irie: I think little girls really love dressing up in fancy clothes and jewelry and makeup - perfect scenario for a gypsy costume!

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on September 23, 2013:

When my daughter was 8, she wore a homemade gypsy costume and loved it. :)

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 12, 2013:

@mel-kav: Glad you found some inspiration here. Thanks for the visit!

mel-kav on September 11, 2013:

I love this idea - I love the Gypsy Woman Costume in the larger picture above. I think I have a new idea for this year. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on August 21, 2013:

@frodolover98: Cool! Yes, I'm sure they're lots of fun!

frodolover98 on August 21, 2013:

What a cute idea! Maybe I'll try this out this year.... I actually own a few of those hip scarves, they're so much fun :)

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on July 03, 2013:

@Rosanna Grace: Thanks for the visit!

Rosanna Grace on July 02, 2013:

Lots of wonderful ideas here! Thank you :)

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on May 13, 2013:

@Cynthia Haltom: Another great memory! Thank you for sharing.

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 13, 2013:

My mother used to have my older sister dress me as a gypsy for Halloween every year, I used to love wearing the black velvet skirt, with a silk scarf and hoop earrings. Thanks for the memories of childhood.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on March 15, 2013:

@lisln: Thank you! :)

LorLinda from Denver Colorado on March 14, 2013:

How cute you were when you were little in that gypsy outfit.

kellywilson1 on March 06, 2013:

These are some very cute costumes.

VspaBotanicals on March 01, 2013:

Very nice, love the ideas.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on February 04, 2013:

@Fran Tollett: Thank you! You betcha (about the belly dance accessories)!

Fran Tollett on February 04, 2013:

LOVE this lens. If you belly dance, you could use some of the accessories for a gypsy costume. LOVE it!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on February 03, 2013:

@CrossCreations: Sounds like you're all ready for the next dress-up party!

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on February 03, 2013:

Love these gypsy costumes! Likely have most of this stuff in my closet, surely bohemian skirts and shawls.

CoolFool83 on January 30, 2013:

These are excellent costumes.

miaponzo on January 18, 2013:

What adorable Gypsy costume accessories!!!!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on January 10, 2013:

@justramblin: Ah, that's so sweet! I think you're right!

justramblin on January 10, 2013:

Love the priceless photo of the four year old you all gypsied out! It takes me back to my childhood Halloweens and my homemade gypsy outfit. My mom sewed one for me and I loved wearing it even after Halloween. So neat to see your adorable photo here. PS I had the bangs just like yours, too. If we were neighbors back then, I think we'd be fine gypsy friends.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on January 04, 2013:

@JumpinJake: Cool! That sounds interesting!

JumpinJake on January 04, 2013:

I watched a special tv program on gypsy's so this was neat to see this morning.

KonaGirl from New York on December 12, 2012:

I am such a gypsy at heart and absolutely love the costume ideas, suggestions and features you have on this lens. *Squid Angel Blessed*

siennabrown1 on November 19, 2012:

Great suggestion really. I will be a gypsy next Halloween, thanks for the ideas ;))

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 16, 2012:

@anonymous: You are quite welcome, Rachel! Check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army or other thrift store for a necklace. Enjoy your party - it sounds fun!

anonymous on November 16, 2012:

This is such a wonderful page! Between my wardrobe and my mom's, I have everything I need, except maybe some giant gold piece necklace... I was despairing of finding an inexpensive, but good costume for a carnival/circus themed dance party, but I think a gypsy/fortune teller totally fits in, and now I'm really excited! Thank you for the really great diy idea!

anonymous on November 14, 2012:

Hello! This is a nice and nice ideas!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 12, 2012:

@CureCandidaNaturally: Ah, a New Year's party! Great idea for costumes. Have fun!

CureCandidaNaturally on November 12, 2012:

ooh, you've inspired me for a party I'm going to for New Years. I'll be dressed up with the headscarf and the big earrings lol

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 12, 2012:

@Katie Hazel: Make a note so you don't forget!

Katie Hazel on November 12, 2012:

I love the ideas here, it gives me great inspiration for Halloween.. too bad I have to wait almost a year for it!

gsaber2 on November 05, 2012:

Great ideas indeed. Will try them on next halloween.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on November 01, 2012:

@mysweetjane lm: I agree! And even big girls enjoy playing dress-up from time to time!

mysweetjane lm on October 31, 2012:

gypsies are a great choice when you want to play girly dress ups!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 29, 2012:

@Cari Kay 11: I agree. What little girl doesn't like jewelry!

Kay on October 28, 2012:

I was a gypsy three or four Halloweens as a child. With all that jewelry, it certainly is a popular costume for girls!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 28, 2012:

@getmoreinfo: Thanks!

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on October 28, 2012:

Maybe next year! Great ideas for Gypsy costume.

getmoreinfo on October 27, 2012:

These Gypsy Costume Ideas are great

RangerMgr on October 26, 2012:

Many people will enjoy this Lens.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 26, 2012:

@ShineRita: That's a really pretty one!

ShineRita on October 26, 2012:

cool! I like the last Gypsy Woman Costume.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 25, 2012:

@techybruce: Glad we could help!

techybruce on October 25, 2012:

Cool lens - gave me some great ideas for the little ones!

gottaloveit2 on October 22, 2012:

These are really great Halloween outfits. Wish I'd seen this article before I left for Key West!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 21, 2012:

@AnnaleeBlysse: I agree!

AnnaleeBlysse on October 21, 2012:

This is a great idea for dressing up without investing a lot in a costume. I have some of the clothing already.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 21, 2012:

@AAdrian: Thank you. I appreciate that!

AAdrian on October 21, 2012:

I love this lens, partly for the content, but mostly for how the content is presented. It's an engaging lens, very cool.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@sheilamarie78: Yes! Let's do it!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@MarcStorm LM: I vote for the "mover" costume - I know that would make you really happy. I like the Invisible Man t-shirt - funny!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@Mickie Gee: I like that cheerleader idea! Yes, it's great fun to put together a gypsy costume!

Mickie Gee on October 19, 2012:

I can remember being a gypsy and raiding my mother's closet. It gave me an excuse to go through her jewelry, too. The other costume of choice in my era was a "cheerleader". I always could find a plain white sweater and a circle skirt in a solid color. Then I made pompoms from tissue paper in my school's colors.

MarcStorm LM on October 19, 2012:

@SusanDeppner: I'm probably not dressing up for Halloween, but if I'm moving on that day then I'm gonna be dressed as a mover lol or I might put on a plain black shirt that I have that says "My Invisible Man Costume Is Defective!" lol Plus I have a nice assortment of masks I've procured over the years so I could pop one on for fun!

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on October 19, 2012:

Fun excuse to dance around this Halloween or to sing a Cher song at the top of my lungs. Want to join me?

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@BarbaraCasey: I loved those days!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@MarcellaCarlton: Thanks!

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 19, 2012:

@MarcStorm LM: Thank you, Marc! I'm probably not dressing up, but I might. You?

MarcStorm LM on October 18, 2012:

Another great page of costume ideas! That picture at the end is so cool, you looked so happy in your costume and it speaks volumes that you must've been, and still are, a happy-go-lucky person! ;o) Happy Autumn Susan! I Hope you have a Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up this Halloween?

MarcellaCarlton on October 18, 2012:

Really cute gypsy costumes. I love this lens.

BarbaraCasey on October 18, 2012:

I trick-or-treated in an era when there were few, if any, store-boughten costumes available... so gypsy was a fairly easy one for girls. A trip to mom's closet, makeup tray and jewelry box pretty much did it. Your photo brings it all back.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 03, 2012:

@SandyMertens: Thanks, Sandy!

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on October 03, 2012:

Nice gypsy costume ideas.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on October 02, 2012:

@AnnieMoril: Sounds beautiful!

AnnieMoril on October 01, 2012:

Thanks for visiting and squidliking my Halloween lens on costumes for toddlers. I went as a gypsy to a Halloween party when I was in university. I wore long peasanty skirt and lots of beaded jewelry-earrings and bracelets and rings. I put heavy blue eye shadow and red lipstick and, of course, a head scarf. My long curly hair completed the outfit.

anonymous on September 29, 2012:

nice customes

LaurenIM on September 28, 2012:

How cool. I like the look of the gypsy costume. They seem so comfortable.

Susan Deppner (author) from Arkansas USA on September 20, 2012:

@LaraineRoses: I'm sure she did! :)