Creating Angels

In the United States, both Angels and Fairies are very popular costumes. They are also very similar costumes. With a full month of winter holiday pageants ahead, this post will examine the key similarities and difference between Fairies and Angels – and why these elements are important when creating an Angel costume.


I am of the opinion that the wings are the single most important aspect to either an angel or a fairy costume.

While both Angels and Fairies have wings, the expected style (in the United States) is feathered (bird) wings on Angels and insect (butterfly and dragonfly) wings on Fairies. While it’s possible to put feathered wings on a fairy costume and butterfly wings on an Angel costume, creating a complete and easily recognizable look will be more difficult.

Interestingly, the style of wings is more important than the color palette. Frequently, angels are portrayed in all-white and fairies in a rainbow of color. Yet, if two costumes are placed side-by-side, both in all-white and identical in every way except the wings, most people (in the United States) will assume the feather wings are on an angel and the butterfly/dragonfly wings are on a fairy.

Even if the color of the feathered wings are something other than white, the knee-jerk reaction (conditioned response?) is to assume this costume is some form of angel (good) or fallen-angel (bad).

While white angel wings could be used to portray either good or bad angel-characters, the bad-angel will be a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, black wings portray only fallen angels. They might work on a fairy, with a lot of bird-like costuming to compliment the feathered wings, but it sill still be a ‘bad’ image initially. It’s easier to portray a good character in black using fairy (insect-based) wings than it is to portray the same character using black feathered wings.

Halos, Tiaras and Antenna

Another key element to an Angel costume is a halo. This is usually portrayed in paintings, comic books and similar illustrations as a circle floating above the angel’s head. Since actual levitation is not possible, most people will use some form of circular hat.

The holiday season pageant classic is the floating circle of silver tinsel. But the same effect can be achieved with feathers or fabric in white, silver and/or gold.
An older tradition is to create a fabric crown or tiara that represents a halo without the floating-above-the-head affect.
Crowns and tiaras can be used on an angel costume, but they tend to be more common on fairy and fairy-princess costumes.
Antenna are fairy-costume attire. It would be difficult to portray an angel with antenna (in any color).

More Angel Costume

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