Pele is the living, breathing volcano goddess of Hawaii. Her home is Kilauea, which is also her body. The name “Pele” means molten lava; the mountain’s flanks are her flanks, the drops of airborne lava are her tears, and the shreds of volcanic glass that form are the strands of her hair. The red-blossomed ohia, which is one of the first plants to take root in a new lava field, is sacred to Pele; according to legend it represents a handsome young man who made the mistake of rejecting the goddess’s advances, and subsequently found himself turned into a tree. (Moral of the story: don’t mess with Pele.)

Dressing up as Pele basically means dressing up as a volcano. But Pele is also supposed to be a beautiful woman, so, you know, a pretty volcano. The pieces we suggest, from left to right:

1. Black harem pants with red chiffon panels. We think these pants look for all the world like the cinder cone of a volcano with molten lava pouring down the sides. Don’t they? As soon as we saw them we thought, “Volcano pants!”
2. Black sleeveless turtleneck with sequins. We’re keeping the general cone shape going here; this top is the upper part of the volcano. The sequins remind us of volcanic glass. You can go cheaper and just get a plain, sequin-free black sleeveless turtleneck.
3. Lei to use as a belt. These aren’t ohia flowers, but it’s still a nice lei, with lots of ferny foliage. You’ll probably need to get two to make sure you have enough length to wrap around your hips. Position the belt at the bottom of the turtleneck, to cover up the transition between top and pants.
4. Crown lei. For your hair, of course. You could also just get one of those other leis and cut off as much as you need to wrap around your head.
5. Chunky red crystal necklace. We love this necklace; it’s so shiny and vivid. You can wear the earrings that come with it, or get the ones we suggest (next).
6. Lava rock earrings. Lava jewelry can be surprisingly expensive, but it seems only right to include some real lava in our costume. These earrings are nice and long.

Shoes: We suggest black satin ballet slippers or other similar black shoes. You might also wear dark stockings or tights to keep that whole bottom-of-the-mountain effect going.


Other costumes in this category: Goddesses and Legends