10 Things You Didn't Know You Needed for Crop Over in Barbados
New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Brazil has Carnivale, and Barbados has Crop Over. Similar to other carnivals, Crop Over is a celebration of all of the hard work and products at the end of harvest season. If there's one thing they all have in common, it's the extra tid-bits that creep up on you that you didn't know you needed.
Even after a little research, you might be surprised that you actually need some of these things in order to set of costume apart and have an off-the-charts time at Crop Over Barbados (or any carnival for that matter)!
1. Clothes you don't mind getting dirty.
Carnival celebrations are usually kicked of by a huge jouvert (a party to officially start carnival) the dawn before the parade. And in the case of Crop Over in Barbados, their jouvert, Foreday, takes place a couple of days before so make your travel plans accordingly!
There's tossing powdered paint, water, and some mud if you're really going hard and reveling to be had. I destroyed my white shirt, but I was able to save my jean shorts by soaking them straight away.
2. Your Country's Flag.
In carnival culture, it's customary to represent your roots. Aside from cheering whenever the DJ asks who's from (insert a Caribbean island or name of African Country) you can show your pride by waving your country's flag, or sometimes called "rag". I wasn't sure how big the flag should be, so I brought a tiny flag on a stick. However I saw a few people waving blanket-sized flags when it came time to tell the crowd where they're from.
I never once felt like a target while representing my country at Crop Over and all the other festivities. I even brought a second USA flag to share with a fellow American who didn't have one to wave!
Top off your costume with the perfect dose of glitter and shine with tights. It'll provide extra coverage and it looks fantastic with the already flashy costumes. We decided on the rhinestone fishnets, but you can choose from a variety of stockings!
You may not consider the fact that most fetes are outdoors and under the Caribbean sun, so you might consider avoiding odd tan lines and burned skin by applying sunscreen. Trust me, a few days after Crop Over I noticed 2 dark spots on my forehead where my crown / headpiece left my skin exposed because I skipped the sunscreen. And it was NOT cute.
5. Hand Fan.
Having grown up in Las Vegas, I know how to prepare for the heat, and the Caribbean is hot! So I brought a small handfan with me to cool myself down when I felt myself overheating. It's also great when you need just for a bit of air movement. I'm not bougie, I promise LOL
Whether it's pushing your girls up or keeping them in place, wardrobe tape can be whatever you need it to be. It'll keep you and your costume looking neat and polished!
They've got you covered so you can go as bare as you want with a little bit of modesty. They came in handy with several outfits I wore for the fetes and even after I left the Caribbean!
8. Thighlet or Hip Bag.
Your costume definitely won't have pockets. Let's face it, it's barely gonna cover your butt, so you're going to need a place to store valuables like your phone, money, and lipstick while you're on the road.
Luckily, our band provided a nice swag bag that included a waterproof cell phone pouch that hangs from your neck along with other goodies we'd need while we're on the road. That came in handy, especially when it got so hot that it started pouring down rain midway through the parade.
Keep your hands and your hips free to whine with a thighlet.
Carnivalista makes a brilliant thighlet designed specifically with carnival in mind!
9. Costume Kit.
Make sure you meticulously look over your costume when you pick it up. They will have someone there to make any adjustments and fix any imperfections, but it doesn't hurt to have your own tool kit of safety pins, hot glue, and sewing supplies handy!
One of the biggest gems in the front of my costume fell off the morning before we even hit the road, and I happened to find a man in a truck who had heavy duty tape! Phewwww. I won't be caught slipping next time tho!
Everything will cost you. Entrance fees / tickets, drinks, taxis to get around safely without having to assign a designated driver for the group, tips, costume accessories, and the sort will all leave you wondering if you lost all your money because you swear you had more cash than that when you left for the night!
A Backline costume may cost you at least $200 USD and prices can go up to $1500 USD for the intricate and elaborate Frontline costumes. To make it worth it, most bands will include water, alcoholic drinks, snacks, and lunch while you're on the road and a swag bag in the price of your costume.
You'll want to participate in festivities leading up to the Grand Kadooment parade and those can cost anywhere from $35 USD to $100 USD. But most fetes are worth it. You'll get a night of reveling, whining and wuking, you'll usually walk away with a cool souvenir, and some parties offer free drinks or you're allowed to bring a cooler with your own beverages.
MY SUMMER ANTHEM
What are some of your must-have items when jumping in carnival?