How to Dress as Queen Grimhilde from Snow White

October 07, 2014

Maleficent may have shockingly strong powers, but at the end of the day, you've got to ask: Who's got the crown?

Snow White's stepmother is queen bee among Disney villains in more ways than one. She's First Evil in Disney's full-length animations and the highest-ranking animated character in AFI's list of greatest villains. And sorry, ye ageist Mirror: In the beauty department, she can more than hold her own in an apples-to-apples comparison with Snow White.

Now, now, we all know Grimhilde (the character was only named after the fact) is a two-in-one bargain among Disney villains. You could either a.) dress up as the 1930s screen goddess or b.) the cackling crone. This guide will skew younger for now. Without further ado, here's how you can be fairest of them all on Halloween night:


To shroud my clothes, the black of night 

Short of an evil spell, just print out a full-body pic of the Queen and let your tailor or seamstress do the magic. You don't even have to get the colors right; this Olivia Wilde pictorial was commissioned by no less than Disney:

As the ever eagle-eyed shoomlah pointed out, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs takes place in 16th century Germany, but one thing you don't credit Disney for is historical accuracy. Walt based Grimhilde's raiment on 11th century wear, specifically that of German noblewoman Uta von Ballenstedt. Grimhilde's look is also clearly inspired by Helen Gahagan's turn in 1935's She. 

(Pressed for time? Go RTW.)


Grimhilde's common denominator with those women is the wimple, a headgear that was all the rage in Medieval times and considered the ancestor of the modern nun's habit. Good luck finding a wimple at your local department store, but you can most certainly find a black balaclava or ski mask. Just cut it out to expose your face. 

Taking the discarded fabric of your balaclava or ski mask, cut out a triangular 'widow's peak' and put it on your forehead to achieve the Queen's heart-like face. (Altogether now: "The heart of a pig!")


According to Liz Makes Stuff, Grimhilde wears a Medieval bliaut (pattern here). However, you can get by with any purple satin or silk robe so long as it has roomy sleeves. If not, try to have hanging sleeves sewn to your robe. They don't have to be of strictly the same shade of purple. Also, the trim can be white or gold. The important thing is to find red rope with tassels to gird your waist.

Cape and collar

Next on your to-do list is the Queen's red-lined cape. Liz can teach you how to sew one. Also, you can make the most of this cloak tutorial from the good guys at Deviant Art. If you have a vampire cape lying around, try to have red fabric sewn onto it.

There are many ways to go about the collar, all DIY. Alex made this for her little girl using bristol board paper but you can easily adapt it for adults. Alternatively, use craft foam sheet and find some white fabric to cover it. You can even use iron-on stiffener on white fabric.

Medallion and crown

Please don't go to a jewelry shop for your medallion. Go to a thrift shop instead. Even better, scour your house. Heather created her medallion from nothing more than a metal lid jar. Nevertheless, feel free to wear your hard-earned bling if it's a fancy Halloween party. Hook it to your collar or just let it hang.

As for the crown, just make sure it's gold. The Queen's crown has five sharp arches, but as this costume player showed, you can get away with any kind. Just compensate by carrying around a toy sword and a snuffbox for Snow White's beating heart.


Since the non-hag Queen does not show her hair at all, you have one job, that is to channel her makeup. Now you have to understand that her look was inspired by the era's biggest movie deities, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. Back then, the penciled, highly arched eyebrows were so much in vogue.

Mac offers a line of Grimhilde-inspired cosmetics, presumably from the finest mummy dust. You might want to dab on some, but not before watching these makeup tutorials.

An apple a day...

To complete the look, clutch a red apple, obvs. Give a toast to the high heavens and cast this spell:

A blast of wind to fan my hate.
A thunderbolt to mix it well.
Now begin thy magic spell.  

And with that, you'll be queen of the night, not just some cookie-cutter princess.


You Might Also Like