*checks off “Play Mas” on invisible bucket list*

At first, I was planning on going to the 2017 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. But I figured since I wasn’t much of a soca fan I might as well get involved in my first Mas at home, in Jamaica. I assumed that I would hear soca, of course, but I also assumed that I would hear some Vybz Kartel dash out songs evenly…… Nope. I heard about five to ten Dancehall songs, and endless soca hits. Nonetheless, I still had a blast.

Now, for persons who have never experienced carnival, or played in Mas, here’s a quick run down of what I did to get prepared for my first carnival experience.

  1. Music: Get to know the latest and trending soca hits. Soundcloud has dozens of songs and mixes that I’ve learned to love and enjoy.
  2. Budget: Carnival is extremely expensive! Save, save, save! After looking at the expenses beforehand, I doubted it over and over again that I would go; I even questioned if I could wear my own DIY costume as a cheaper option. But, believe me, it’s an experience that you will end up enjoying and might even consider doing again. Just make sure to take it a step at a time, and don’t wait last minute!
  3. Hair: This one is really for my naturals. This had to be the hardest part of preparing for me. I did a lot of searching on pinterest for anyone who wore their natural hair to carnival, especially with a headpiece, so that I can have an idea on how I could wear my hair, but I couldn’t find anyone! I totally winged it the day of carnival, and it absolutely went well. If you’re planning on wearing your natural hair, I wouldn’t advise a blowout; the sweat will have you transformed in seconds. But if you don’t want to wear your natural hair, go with a protective style! They will never fail you.

Here’s a breakdown of everything that I spent, excluding hair and makeup:

Costume: $550
Sneakers: $34
Stockings: $40
Total: $624

Want to see me in the Queen of Hearts costume in action? 😉


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