I like to cosplay anything from Harry Potter. I’ve got looks for Hermione, Luna Lovegood, Harry himself in a gender-switched role, a gender bent Snape, Tonks, Dolores Umbridge, Professor Trelawny…and my favorite costume, Bellatrix Lestrange. I’ve worn her now to both the Intergalacticon and the San Diego Comic Con. She is amazingly fun to play when you’re in costume. My heart may belong to Gryffindor, but being a Slytherin is just so much more fun.
How to Become Bellatrix Lestrange:
One thing to keep in mind for a Bellatrix Lestrange costume: the hair. The billowing mane of crazy dark hair (with a streak of white) is the signature look for the insane but deadly follower of Voldemort. If you’ve got lots of dark hair naturally, great! Tease it up, add a ton of hairspray so it’s big and wild, and there you go. Otherwise, you’ll need a wig. I know for a fact wigs are affordable and plentiful on Amazon. As for the white streak, you can actually order just that — a white bit of hair to clip to your own head. Or use white chalk, or one of those colored hairsprays. Once you’ve got the hair settled, the rest of the attire is simple.
Here’s what you need to get for the full Bellatrix look:
- Black Boots. Anything like this will do, but if you can find tall boots with laces on the front, you’re ahead of the game. As for all the contents of Bellatrix’s look, take a look at your local Goodwill or other thrift store for inexpensive costume goodies.
- A long black dress. You can use a long black skirt and top if you can’t find a dress. The key is you want something with faded glory, that’s form fitting, and slightly off-key. An old prom gown would be perfect. I found a fantastic long and sweeping black dress with a tight bodice that I wear when I cosplay Bellatrix, but before I found the gown at Goodwill, I used a drapey, shiny black skirt and a black top with a corset look and long sleeves. If you’re handy with a needle, try and make a lace-up front on your outfit, like Bellatrix wears. Just rip the bodice apart and tie it back with black shoestrings. Add some kind of lacing to the sleeves, and you’re instantly recognizable.
- You might keep your eyes open for a black lace-up corset, either from a thrift store, of Amazon, or from your own sewing skills. This isn’t as crucial, but it’s another signature look for the insane Death-Eater.
- A Dark Mark. You can order these as body stickers online, or simply use a Sharpie to draw your own on your inner forearm. Look up images for the Dark Mark online and draw them as best you can. It’s just a skull and a snake — pretty simple to replicate. Feel free to touch the mark with your wand, to show people how to call upon Voldemort! (If you dare.)
- Speaking of wands, you need one. Fortunately, any stick you find outside will do. Bellatrix has a rigid 12 &3/4 length wand, made of walnut (with a dragon heartstring core)… and it’s bent like some kind of horrible claw. So look for a bent stick. Use it as-is, or get crafty with some brown-black paint. Beddazzle it if you want. Her wand is bare of detail, but you can really do whatever you want. It’s YOUR Bellatrix. Note: If you have the money, you can order a Bellatrix Lestrange replica wand online. I’m looking right now and there are Bellatrix wands on eBay for $10. I have lots of wands, myself. An Elder Wand from Platform 9 & 3/4 in London, a random wand that “chose me” at the Universal Studios Wizarding World (and yes, I was beside myself with joy to get chosen for the demonstration at Ollivanders), and a bunch of wands I made myself from sticks, chair back dowels, and a broken billiards cue.
- A necklace with a black leather string and bird skull pendant. I found the bird’s head pendant for a few dollars at Joanne fabric. I used a length of black cord from the same place, since I don;t like wearing leather on my neck. You don’t NEED this bird skull necklace, but this is something she always wears. Look for some all-black necklaces and rings, and you’ll be fine. I have a filigree vintage ring with jet set into it that I found for $2 at Goodwill. It’s the little details that count.
That’s it, besides a whole lot of attitude.
In essence, you have to look larger than life, and a whole lot of nuts: Bellatrix finds torture a delicious entertainment. Act the part. Laugh hysterically in public. Scare people with just how sexily creepy you can be. Rewatch some of the Harry Potter films that feature Bellatrix: The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince, and especially the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2. If you feel especially creative, you can even cosplay Hermione in her polyjuiced Bellatrix garb.
Have fun, and try not to use the Cruciatus Curse on everyone you meet!
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