I have (and love) this sinister Plague Doctor poster by Madame Talbot. Available on her website for $14.95.
When I did the first Plague Doctor Costume post in September 2009, it was difficult to find the signature beaked masks that the costume requires. Since that time, the costume seems to have become exponentially more popular. I’m amazed at how many masks are available. Since I can’t explain it, I’m going to go ahead and take full credit for the trend. It really is a delightfully creepy image. And if you can get a friend or two to go along as a plague sufferer, even better.
For those of you who don’t know, Plague Doctors appeared along with Black Death in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Europe. Since there was no cure (or helpful treatment) for the disease, Plague Doctors mostly made house calls to determine if inhabitants had been infected. Believing that contaminated or foul air led to disease, the doctors wore beaked masks filled with herbs and spices. These masks also helped cover the reek of rotting dead bodies in the streets. Other essential parts of the costume include a wide-brimmed hat, which alerted people that the wearer was a doctor; a cane for directing people and prodding the diseased without making contact; and a long black overcoat which was generally waxed to keep sputum from clinging to the fabric.
Dark Hunter Plague Doctor wearing a Tom Banwell mask (see Tom's masks for sale later in this post). Photo and styling by Topher Adam Photography via Tom Banwell's Flickr stream.
Extra sinister, Jonathanscarecrow shared his Plague Doctor Halloween Costume in his Deviantart Gallery.
The Clockwork Doctor at HalCon 2010 from nuchtchas' Flickr stream
Plague Doctor Costume via The Midnight Blues Photography Flickr stream
Masks: from Traditional to Steampunk Inspired
Medico Della Peste (The Plague Doctor) Venetian Paper Mache Mask from Halloween Town Store for $14.99
Dottore Classico mask part of the Carlo Collection on Mask Italia for $128
Plague Doctor Mask by Maskwerks on Etsy is hand made with paper mache and acrylic paints for $150
Plague Doctor crackle and story mask from Terrigena Venetian Masks for £69.00
Dr. Paracelsus, The Plague Doctor latex mask from Rubber Gorilla Mask Making Studio for £70.00
Tom Banwell Designs has several intricate Plague Doctor inspired leather masks in his Etsy shop like the Plague Doctor's Mask in Black Leather for $285 and my favorite, the Ichabod Steampunk Doctor Mask in Black for $425.
UK's Leatherartworks on Etsy has Plague Doctor inspired leather masks in several styles and colors starting at $68
The Doctor mask by UnboundFX on Etsy is made of fiberglass and airbrushed by hand for $150
Brian Griffin handmakes these Leather Steampunk Plague Doctor masks in brown for $130 or white for $145. Available through Griffin Leather and Metal Ebay shop.
Corvus Plague Masque by tinplatestudios on Etsy for $155
Cloaks and Coats
Medieval robe in black (also comes in brown) from Swords Direct for $99.99
Dark Brown Traveling Cloak by piratesusan on Etsy for $80
Medieval Hooded Cloak by Medieval Collectibles for $95
Outback Trading Co. Long Oilskin Duster from Sheplers for $129.99
Black Buffalo Leather Outback Duster from Biker Stylz for $249
Neo Style Matrix Duster Coat in Black Rubber Look Coated Nylon takes six weeks to make from Liquid Vinyl Clothing for $299.95
Spanish Hat from Costume Supplies for $7.97
Spanish Hat Quality Large from Tops Magic for $25.69
Plague Doctor Hat from Visions of Venice for $175
For a more modern/Western Steampunk look, try Sydney Oilskin Clothing Colonial Leather Hat comes in black, brown and tan for $29.95
Poly Resin Skull Cane from Amazon for $22.24
Cold Steel Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick from Amazon for $36.83
Instead of a cane or walking stick, you could prod the infected with a bone like this Femur bone prop from Grim Reapers for $21.95
If you want to be really gruesome, get a prop rat like this latex Evil Rat On All Fours Prop from Amazon for $15 and stick it on a spear with some fake blood and carry that around as a warning to the other plague carrying rats. Spear from Advent Anime for $53.49