The Sandman costume guide

Delirium, Death, Dream, and Destiny from The Sandman.
Delirium, Death, Dream, and Destiny from The Sandman.
Tatiana Craine

This week, the long-awaited prequel to Neil Gaiman's graphic-novel masterpiece The Sandman debuts its first issue the day before Halloween. So in honor of the holiday, and our Gaiman fanaticism, we put together a how-to for those of you who want to show off your comic-book knowledge on the sly. Depending on your commitment to dressing up, you can go all in, or just add a little Sandman-inspired flair to your wardrobe.

Here's your guide to becoming one of the Endless.

See also: The dark night returns for Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman on Minnesota, Sandman, and why he can't do another signing tour A nostalgic return for Neil Gaiman with The Ocean at the End of the Lane


Even though Gaiman has time and time again said that he's not the basis for Dream, it's not a stretch to start your costume off of his all-black aesthetic, and that mop of unruly hair. No matter what Dream-y look you're going for, you'll definitely need a jet-black wig as well as some carbon-black eye makeup to smear around your lids. The rest, is up to you. For Dream's traditional look, start out with the hair and the raccoon eyes, then envelope yourself in a long, black robe. For his more modern look, a black t-shirt and some black jeans will do the trick.


With Desire, you'll want to make sure you're doing your best Tilda Swinton impression in the style department. Since Desire is neither male nor female, try a mix of Annie Lennox and David Bowie's androgynous glam. Fitted suits or even a silk robe work, but what really makes the look will be the way you do your makeup. Paint a thin line of liquid eyeliner on your top lid (or go for a slight cat eye), swipe some red lipstick on, and if you're feeling really true-to-form pop in some gold-colored contacts.


The eldest of the Endless, Destiny waits for events to unfold in his garden maze while his siblings wreak havoc. You'll need a brown robe with a serious hood and cowl to cover up your face. Next, get a fake chain -- easy to find in the seasonal Halloween section -- and secure one end to a large book, the other to your right wrist.


Despair is a bummer, but that's no reason to ignore her. Since she's pretty much always sans-clothes, get yourself a flesh-colored bodysuit and do a rumpled topknot for your hair. Emulate her pointed gnashers with some faux teeth on your bottom gum line. She also carries around her two pet rats, but you can opt for a rubber version.

Death and Dream
Death and Dream
Tatiana Craine


Death is patron saint of goth-chic, and one of the more stylish of the Endless. From her many days visiting mortals on Earth, she's got a whole slew of outfits that will satisfy any sartorial desires. Death's most easy-breezy look can be achieved with a tank top, jeans, a studded belt, some boots, and an umbrella. Sometimes, she even springs for a top hat. Remember, like Dream, her outfits are all black. (Duh.) Don't forget to pile on the carbon-black liquid eyeliner, and draw her signature curlicue underneath your right eye. Finish off your look with an ankh necklace, and you're good to go.


You'll need a long, red wig that you can pull back into a low ponytail. You'll also need a white, button-down shirt and jeans. To finish off Destruction's wayward, wandering artist-type look, make yourself a bindle (that's fancy-speak for a stick and a handkerchief with stuff in it) with, well... a long stick with a red handkerchief tied to the end. Remember to stuff something light and soft inside to give it a fuller look.


It used to be that most of the guys and girls that went to Gaiman signings looked like Dream and Death, but nowadays Delirium's look is going mainstream. The undercut is back, and so are bright, neon locks. You can emulate Delirium's hair with a rainbow wig (or by getting a blonde wig and dying various sections shades of bright red-orange). Her eyes are two different colors -- one green and the other blue with silver flecks -- so go crazy with some eye shadow. Or if you're feeling ambitious: color contacts. She's often seen in a mesh shirt and a leather jacket, but anything delightfully distressed will work. (After all, she used to be known as Delight once upon a time...) Last thing, if you can find a fish-shaped mylar balloon, tie it around your wrist, and you're ready to spread some macabre cheer.

Click through to see how to dress up as other characters from The Sandman...


The Corinthian
The Corinthian
Erik Hess


Easily one of the creepiest and most twisted villains in The Sandman, the Corinthian is the stuff of nightmares. Literally. Get a short, blonde wig, a white tee with rolled sleeves, some jeans, a pair of sunglasses, and you've got the base of the costume down. Not so scary, right? Well, now it's time for those eyes.

The coolest way to do this is to make some small-but-freaky teeth out of white cardboard that will fit over your eyes (not so much that they'll obscure all your vision, though). Next, get some of those flesh-colored orthoptic eye patches and cut out the soft middle area, leaving a rim of adhesive. Stick those chompers on the top and bottom of your newly-created eye-holes, press them onto your face, and you've got the scariest eyes ever.


One of Dream's numerous paramours, Thessaly is also one of many strong female characters in The Sandman. A witch thousands of years old, she bides her time in the modern era as a bookish young woman with straight, mouse-brown hair and over-sized glasses -- kind of like a darker, more magical Daria. Put on a blue robe, and you're ready to try and save Morpheus from some dark stuff.


This ain't the stuff of The Avengers, so don't bust out those golden horns and that emerald-green cape leftover from Comic Con. If you really want to impress (and gross people out) with your Sandman and Norse mythology knowledge, put on a fiery red-orange wig, get a nude bodysuit, wrap it in lots of red yarn (entrails, y'all), and carry around a faux snake with fangs to emulate the venom-soaked Loki that first appears in Season of Mists.

Merv Pumpkinhead

To be Dream's faithful custodian of the Dreaming, get yourself a white collared shirt, a green bow tie, some work boots, overalls, and green gloves. Pop a (fake) pumpkin on your head -- or just use some orange-and-black face paint. Don't forget his push broom and an endless supply of cigarettes for this chain-smoker.

Fiddler's Green a.k.a. Gilbert

How often can you say you dressed up as a place? Think of a G.K. Chesterton vibe with a green, three-piece suit, a wide-brimmed hat, and some glasses on a chain. Tote around a cane and go "Hoom hoom" every now and again, and you'll be good as gold.

A burlesque-style spin on Death (right).
A burlesque-style spin on Death (right).
Tatiana Craine

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