DIY Costumes for What We Do In The Shadows

Two men and one woman dressed as vampires from What We Do in The Shadows

Cast your mind back to 2014, when a little-known Taika Waititi directed, wrote, produced and starred in What We Do In The Shadows, a New Zealand horror comedy mockumentary created with Jermaine Clement. 

Five years later, FX would release the first television series of What We Do In The Shadows, following the same format as the film but focussing on a group of vampires and their familiar living in Staten Island. Spoiler alert: it was hilarious.

After enjoying two seasons of hilarious characters in sumptuous costumes, the temptation became too much to resist – we had to try and replicate the stunning looks created by costume designer Amanda Neale. 

Here’s how we styled three looks based on the central characters of Laszlo, Nadja and Nandor using items from our shop.

Don’t forget your fangs – you can’t be a bloodsucker without them!

Nandor the Relentless

Kayvan Novak plays Nandor the Relentless, an ancient Iranian warlord turned leader of the house. Nandor thinks that the height of fashion is fur, jewels and a luxurious mane of hair.

His clothes usually come in blood red, leather brown or gold-accented black, so he’s especially easy to model a fancy dress costume on. We started off with our 60s Brown Long Neil Wig, styling the front of it into a swept back bun to get the right shape. 

Man dressed as Nandor the Relentless in a warrior tunic, faux fur cape and long brown wig

If you’re able to grow a thick beard like Nandor’s, well aren’t you lucky – the rest of us will have to neaten up this Lumberjack Beard for the purpose, or go as a clean-shaven version.

Nandor clearly hasn’t let go of his warrior mentality, as he’s often seen wearing some form of medieval leather armour. We chose this Warrior Tunic to go over the Pirate Shirt to show both his warlord and aristocrat sides.

Finally, our (faux) Furry Shoulder Cape is absolutely something that Nandor the Relentless would wear on a night out – and it probably comes with a long story about the animal and how it was killed.

Alternative version: 

Get yourself a basketball jersey top and wear it over the frilled shirt. Bonus points if it’s the 1992 Olympics Dream Team top.

Laszlo

The Brit of the group, Laszlo is portrayed by the inimitable Matt Berry of The It Crowd, The Mighty Boosh and Toast of London fame. Laszlo Cravensworth is a classic British cad, talented multi-instrumentalist and – as it turns out – the true identity of Jack the Ripper. His most defining trait might be his habit of shouting “Bat!” as he turns into a bat.

Man with short hair dressed as Laszlo in our gothic vampire waistcoat, coat and pirate shirt

We started again with that Pirate Shirt, as Laszlo is virtually always wearing a frilled shirt as a base layer. The rest of his clothes tend to be inspired by Victorian gothic trends, often wearing a waistcoat and cravat underneath a coat.

It might be a little on the nose, but this Gothic Vampire costume ticks all the boxes for a classic Laszlo outfit: long black Victorian-inspired coat, velvet accents and a buttoned waistcoat. Not pictured is a semi-sheer cravat that only adds to his signature style.

Finish off the look with a simple Black Felt Top Hat – that is, unless you have a wizard’s hat made from the skin of witches.

Alternative version:

Keep the shirt and waistcoat but replace the jacket with a tie and pop a toothpick in your mouth. Firmly insist to everyone that you’re a normal human bartender named Jackie Daytona.

Nadja

The matriarch of this coven and the ultimate fashion icon! Nadja, played by Natasia Demetriou, is a vampire of Romani descent who transformed and married Laszlo while having an off-and-on relationship with the various reincarnated forms of a man named Gregor – whom Laszlo always decapitates. 

Nadja has so many incredible  costumes throughout the show that it’s hard to pick just one look to imitate. Her costumes usually involve lace and velvet, lots of black, cream and red, and a slightly sexy element.

Woman dressed as Nadja in vampire queen costume with dark lipstick

Here we’ve created a Nadja from our Vampire Lady costume which has a high collar, draped sleeves and a gorgeous bodice detail.

If you wanted to try and replicate her incredible hair, you could take our Black Long Curly Wig and backcomb it to make it huge.

Alternative ideas:

Wear this Fever Goddess costume to imitate Nadja’s version of Henri Regnault’s Salome painting.

Dress your little one up in this Regal Countess costume and pretend they’re your Nadja doll!

Guillermo and Colin Robinson

There are two very important members of the household that we’ve missed out – but that’s just because  they’re the easiest to dress as.

Guillermo de la Cruz is Nandor’s familiar, a vampire hopeful and all-round lovely chap. His costume is as simple as a brown cardigan over a beige shirt – charity shops should have just the thing. Add a pair of round glasses and a feather duster (or stake) for maximum effect.

Colin Robinson is an energy vampire – which means he looks and acts exactly like every boring person you’ve ever met in an office. Slap on a bald cap, wear some black nerd glasses and dress yourself in a white shirt with beige tie and jumper. Don’t forget to ask everyone if they have any updog!

 

Will you be dressing as one of the What We Do In The Shadows crew this Halloween? We’d love to see what you put together!

If you think you could compete, why not suggest a Halloween costume competition?

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