- First and most important never wear your full costume on Monday unless you are a two band/section H.O. Tuesday is the day to look fresh and glam.! Most people who do this look washed up on Tuesday. Tuesday is the time to show off your costume in full glory.
- If you plan on wearing mas stockings, to prevent your toes from suffering, cut off the toe part so your toes will be free. Some people cut the stockings to the ankle but I find that sometimes causes a run so when I cut my toes off I use clear nail polish to “seal” the edges.
- On that note I always carry a small “survival pack” on the road, it’s usually a small pouch and in it are items like my sample sized sun block, wet wipes, safety pins, pain killers,clear nail polish (for stocking runs on the road), my cell phone, vex money, powder, oil absorbing sheets and lip gloss. A husband/boyfriend also known as a “man purse” can be utilized for carrying of the pouch as well.
- Sunblock, sunblock and MORE sunblock. Apply after bathing, apply when waiting on the band to move off, apply when you stop for lunch, apply often, apply liberally, …just make sure you apply it. You don’t want to look like a Tobago bun bake by Tuesday morning. Carry some sunblock with you in a small vial or a sample size so you can re-apply as necessary.
- Face jewels look pretty, but if you get a sunburn you can end up looking like your face has polka dots all over. The flat, metallic jewels in shapes such as stars are the major culprits for attracting sun like a magnet. I have found using crystals are much better!
- You do not need a full face of make up for Carnival to look polished, getting individual false eyelashes gives an instant “made up” look to your face. All that is needed to complete the look is your lipstick, eyeshadow to match your costume and a touch of face powder to give your face a “fresh” appearance.
- To keep makeup in place, for those who love the made up look,t he key is to NOT, I repeat NOT to go out with a bare face. Use a lightweight moisturizing sunscreen with a HIGH SPF (45+) like Neutrogena. Then, spray a VERY HIGH (60+) sunscreen all over your body and go lie down for a little while and let it absorb into your skin. Ideally it should be in an air conditioned room, but if A/C is not an option, just place yourself where you can get the most cool breeze in the house. Then get up later and apply your makeup. Your skin feels like it has been freshly washed because everything is already absorbed! To make cosmetics last, use PRIMER for damn near everything. There are eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick primers among other things! THEN apply your regular makeup over the primer. It lasts! Primers can be purchased at Clinique, Sephora, from any up-scale makeup line, and even CVS drugstore
- To the “big girls, thickies, thick ting” if a mas band doesn’t carry your size underwear but they have your bra go to a cloth store or Samaroos, look for a reputable seamstress and have your underwear made. Get your correct sized stockings, when your ‘hose bussin holes you gonna look busted. If you wear anything over a DD, try to see if the particular band you are playing with will let you use your own bra (if you have a way of getting it there). Sometimes these bands don’t cater to those with the melon jugs and having your bubbies dragggggggggggin on the ground ain’t sexy at all.
- Makeup must always be in tact. In order to accomplish a fresh face all day it is advisable to get your face professionally done by a competent makeup artist. This also helps in preventing your face from becoming sun burnt as the makeup protects your face plus you look 10 times better than when your costume nice but your face like “plain Jane”. You don’t want to be seen on TV with your face looking like you frying chicken by the KFC stand in the Savannah all day!.
- Footwear. Ladies please, please, please wear comfortable shoes, sneakers or whatever you desire to wear on your feet. If wearing sneakers, make sure yuh “break them in” at least 1-2 months before carnival if you can’t well there’s always “Dr Scholls”. Some people often play mas in gym sneakers because they are already “broken in” and comfortable so it gives support all day. The worst ting is to see people walking in the band barefooted or in their socks alone because the sneakers hurting their damn foot.
- If you want to have much stamina, start doing brisk walks round the Savannah, in your yard, on the treadmill , up the street. Wherever you can go walking, do it because it helps come Monday and Tuesday. It helps you to lose the weight plus build stamina because come carnival you want to be able to go until the music truck switch off. Try to start walking about 3 to 4 months before Carnival it really does help, STAMINA FUH SO.
- Deodorant… please, please, please wear it, preferably the clear, non-residue leaving stuff. Walk with a mini one in your lil bag on Monday and Tuesday, trust me you will appreciate it… (and you will be able to tell those who haven’t put on any!)
- Drink lots and lots of water… for every alcoholic drink, drink at least 8 oz. of water…dehydration sucks big time
- EAT BREAKFAST!!!! …nuff said
- Wear stockings…unless you have you have own body guards on the road, they will help with keeping a barrier between you and the “bodily fluids” from the masses’
- Make sure you have a ride to and from Port-of-Spain on Monday and Tuesday… cause the last thing you want to be doing Tuesday evening is trying to get a ride home, with your feet hutting like mad!
- Soak your feet in Epson Salts & hot/very warm water Monday evening when you get home. Your feet will feel like brand new come Tuesday to go the whole day.
- Don’t play cutesie cute and let the Koreans sand down under your foot when you go for your pre-TRINI carnival pedicure. You need the rough padding under your foot for those two days on the road or else you will be bawling for murder with pain if you go with your tender, newly scraped heels.
- It’s a good idea to designate a pre-arranged meeting area in case you or anyone else in your “crew” gets lost. Also, have the address of where you are staying and a contact number for someone close to you on hand. I have met foreigners who were lost, intoxicated and could not remember the name of the guest house/hotel or friend they were staying at.
- You do not have to wait until the costume collection day to pay the balance on your costume. All bands accept part payments towards your costume periodically, for example you can make payments monthly. Not only does this ease the burden of having to pay up the balance of $2000.00 in February but it also saves time when you go to collect your costume.
- Several sections of the more popular mas bands offer two costume choices for female masqueraders; a regular costume (also known as backline) and a more elaborate version which they call frontline. Frontline masqueraders lead the section as you cross the Savannah stage and the costume is more expensive than the backline.
- A backpack is a costume accessory that is usually made from feathers, fabric,beads and for the first time this year ribbon and tinsel. These materials are mounted and decorated on a frame of either wire or stiff cardboard, which is carried on the back/shoulders of a masquerader by straps which are hooked under the arms and across the back.Usually seen with frontline costumes, the backpack is sometimes what differentiates between a backline and a frontline.
- Even though Carnival is a time to “free up” always make safety your first priority.DO NOT accept drinks from strangers, DO NOT wear expensive jewellery and DO NOT wander away into lonely, dark areas. If you need to use the toilet always go with a companion. Some bands provide mobile restrooms, if yours does not many bars that line the parade route allow you to use their facilities for a fee, take along a friend as some of these bars may have seedy characters loitering around.
- To prevent sunstroke make use of the cool-zones provided by the band, drink cool liquids and always wear proper headgear; headpiece and/or bandandas or hats.
- If you have to purchase something to eat, try to stay away from anything that has mayonnaise as an ingredient, looks like it was cooked earlier and has been sitting in a glass case all day or the vendor/premises does not look sanitary. I look for food that either comes in a sealed package or is prepared fresh,that is if I cannot make it to a reputable food outlet.
- Taking along a camera? Leave the expensive digital at home and walk with a disposable instead. Trust me cameras can be easily lost, broken or stolen.
For the ladies, if you are expecting your period around or on Carnival day it is advisable to wear a tampon instead of a pad. If you must wear a pad, wear the ultra thins. If you have a regular cycle or you are on the pill you can “delay” your period until AFTER Carnival.This article explains how it is done by taking your pills back to back without stopping or using a hormonal medicine called ‘norethisterone’ which is taken three times a day for three days before your period is due and then for seven days to delay the period. At the end of the seven days, the tablets are stopped and your period starts as normal. Your doctor can prescribe this medication and I can vouch for it working as I have used it before with no side effects.
- Mas stockings are not your usual panty hose, which do not have the strength to stand up to the rigours of Carnival Monday and Tuesday leaving the uninitiated with runs and tears. The proper stockings are sheer to the waist tights that are made with lycra. The super shiny, orange stockings that they make for “tan” people are a no no. You can get a variety of non shiny, flesh toned stockings locally at Micles and Samaroos.
- Not many people think of wearing underwear UNDER their stockings, a simple cotton thong is excellent for having your nether regions be able to breathe. Even though the pantyhose is lined with a sliver of cotton at the crotch area I find it is not enough protection between your genitals and the pantyhose. You do not want to end up with an yeast infection because the pantyhose are made from a synthetic material that traps heat and moisture, ideal breeding ground for yeast.
Do not forget to WAX if you plan on going sans stockings, or for the least SHAVE!! No one wants to see anything that is not supposed to be showing as you throw back a wine or lift your leg up!
For ladies with larger breasts I recommend tape to keep your breasts from popping out of your bra while you are jumping up. It’s very simple to do, use the tape much like those “stick on” bras, taping from one side of the breast to the other so the tape cups the breast in a U shape and keeps it firmly supported. You can do more than one row of tape until you feel them firmly taped in place . After you are done taping try on your bra and make sure none of the tape is showing, if any of the edges of the tape are peeking out, you can trim them with scissors. Please DO NOT use duct tape, and do not tape over your nipples! You can use a wide, stretchy bandage called elastoplast but there is a tape made specifically for this called Fashion Tape, or Bondage Tape. Be careful when removing the tape, use baby oil to moisten the edges and gently remove.