Character Costume Ideas

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We are often asked for a character to dress up as, for a fancy dress party.

There are two types of fancy dress costumes, generic ones and specific named characters. The first are usually associated with general types of themes, such as pirates, western, the various twentieth century decades such as Gangsters & Hippies etc., where the emphasis is on individuals turning up in similar costumes to add atmosphere to an event. Character Costumes on the other hand are designed so that they should be immediately recognisable, whether its a film characters such as Jack Sparrow or The Mad Hatter, or cartoon personality such as Bart Simpson.Interest in a particular costume will vary from month to month. Much will depend upon what is in the media. Sometimes a particular news story can generate interest in a specific character. This could be a celebrity dressing up; a campaigner wanting to get their point across; or a specific costume highlighted at a sporting event. Anything can capture the public imagination, and half the challenge is being able to obtain the costume when you want it..

Many character costumes are subject to licensing laws (although not all of them are). This means that only one official costume may be available for a given character. Some companies may choose to ‘enhance’ the official costume, perhaps providing additional accessories to give added value to the core product. Licenses can take some time to obtain, and often, Licensed costumes are not around in time for the release of a new film and can literally ‘miss the boat’ as some costumes only have a limited shelf life.

The licensing of these costumes does limit what you will find legally available to purchase, and causes fancy dress suppliers numerous problems, quality, sizing and price being the key ones. Companies that sell, or advertise ‘fakes’ are liable to be prosecuted in the courts.

Sizing
It is very difficult to advise a customer that a particular character costume is available only in a standard male size (about a chest 42/44″) if they need a different size. This is why you will find ‘copies’ or a costume that is similar on the market, purely to allow people to have a choice of a wider sizing range.

Costs
The companies who ‘own’ the costume license pay a substantial price for the privilege to produce a particular character costume for general sale. This initial cost is recouped by these companies charging more money for these ‘licensed’ products. A Licensed character costume will generally cost more than a generic costume.

Quality
Although, this is now improving there is a general feeling that these costumes do cost far more than a generic costume, yet the quality does not always represent the additional cost.

To make your life a bit easier, we have split this costume category into men’s, women’s and children’s, and in some instances they will split down even further. There may be some overlap in certain areas between categories but this is intentional to help to make your costume choice easier.

So take a look at the main categories (on the left) and find your perfect character costume.

Ladies Character Costume Ideas

Ladies Character Costume Ideas

There are two types of fancy dress costumes, generic ones and specific named

characters. The first are usually associated with general types of themes, such as Pirates, the various twentieth century decades such as Gangsters & Molls etc., where the emphasis is on individuals turning up in similar costumes to add atmosphere to an event. Character Costumes on the other hand are designed so that they should be immediately recognisable, whether its a film character such as Catwoman or cartoon personality such as Marge Simpson.

When it comes to what is a popular costume, the top ten can vary from one week to the next. Anniversaries of icons, media celebrations of programmes of yesteryear or some pop star channelling the look and/or style of an icon can all be influential. Anything can capture the public imagination and half the challenge is being able to obtain the costume when you want it.

Many character costumes are subject to licensing laws (although not all of them are). This means that only one official costume may be available for a given character. Some companies may choose to ‘enhance’ the official costume, perhaps providing additional accessories to give added value to the core product. Licenses can take some time to obtain, and often, Licensed costumes are not around in time for the release of a new film and can literally ‘miss the boat’ as some costumes only have a limited shelf life.

The licensing of these costumes does limit what you will find legally available to purchase, and causes fancy dress suppliers numerous problems, quality, sizing and price being the key ones. Companies that sell, or advertise ‘fakes’ are liable to be prosecuted in the courts.

So, let’s take a look at our popular ladies character costumes…

Abba
When it comes to remembering the names of the females in the 1970s supergroup Abba, some people can find it challenging. Agnetha was the blonde straight haired one with the fringe, whilst Anni-Frid (who was also known as Frida) had a variety of hair colours and styles ranging from brown to red. The Abba jumpsuit or mini-dress are the two most iconic images, although they did get through a whole range of outfits.

Catwoman
One of the characters that work for Heroes and Villains or Goodies and Baddies parties.

There are a number of Catwoman costumes available, from the original 1960s Lee Merriwether/Eartha Kitt image from the Batman TV series , through to Michelle Pfeiffer in the Batman film. Theres also Halle Berrys crop-top street fighter version and a potential new incarnation when Anne Hathaway takes the role in the Dark Knight Rising film.

Cleopatra – look at our range of Egyptian costumes
The classic last Pharaoh and Queen of Egypt, who was famous for her liaisons with both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony in her attempts to save her country. The iconic image is that of Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 Cleopatra film, which went horrendously over budget but won four Oscars for Best Art Direction & Set Decoration; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design and Best Effects. There are a wide variation of Cleopatra dresses/robes on the market, but the black wig and accessories are essential items and its also a good excuse to go heavy with the eye make-up.

Cruella de Vil
An immediately recognisable character, Cruella de Vil was originally created by Dodie Smith in the book 101 Dalmatians. First brought to the movie screen by Disney in the 1960s, she has enduring appeal as a popular villainess with a distinctive look its good to

be wicked for once.

Maid Marian
For the British, the legend that is Robin Hood lives on and with it his significant other, Maid Marian. Her image has varied over the years, with Maid Marian wearing an assortment of Medieval or Renaissance-style costumes, some more authentic than others. As this character is often coupled with Robin Hood, any medieval dress and headdress will work, although traditionally the colours have been green and blue.

Marilyn Monroe The legendary movie star Marilyn Monroe may have worn a variety of outfits, the gold dress in Bus Stop and the pink dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but her enduring image is that of her white pleated halter-neck dress in the film the Seven Year Itch. Teamed with red stiletto shoes and a blonde wig, plus appropriate eye make-up, red lips and beauty spot, this can be a relatively easy image to recreate.

Princess Leia From the Stars Wars films IV to VI, Princess Leia’s outfit did not change much. The long white hooded robe, belt, weapon and brown danish pastry wig immediately captures the image of this futuristic character. In The Empire Strikes Back, there were appearances by Leia as Jabba the Hutt’s Slave Girl. This was an interesting variation on the look, although as the gold-metal bikini outfit was rather minimalist in

nature, you have to be quite brave to carry it off.

Snow White
One of the classic fairy tale characters whose popularity is legendary. Famed for having a wicked stepmother who wanted to kill her and seeking sanctuary with persons of small stature. Although Disney did not create the character, they did create the widely recognised look involving a yellow skirt, blue bodice with red sleeve inserts and black bobbed hair with a red ribbon, so this is technically copyright, although several lookalike outfits can be found on the market. The situation may change as two new live-action versions of the Snow White story are due to come to cinemas in the future.

Wilma Flintstone
Wherever Fred Flintstone goes, then Wilma, his long-suffering wife, is not far behind. The costume is not over complex and hence easy to wear, being especially suitable for those hot summer days/nights.

Wonder Woman
Along with Supergirl, Wonder Woman is of the few superhero costumes for females, and her popularity was enhanced by the TV series of the 70s featuring Linda Carter. There has been regular talk of a potential Wonder Woman movie in recent years, but the lack of developments has not stopped several versions of the classic outfit being offered and in the meantime there has also been a revamp of the outfit for a TV mini-series with blue

leggings and boots replacing the red skirt and boots.

Dorothy
Character from the film, The Wizard of Oz, played by Judy Garland. Costume is a blue check pinafore dress with white blouse underneath. Brown plaited hair and red shoes. There are official costumes for this character, but it is also a character that you should be able to put together quite easily.

Bat Girl
Another possible superhero costume for women. Batgirl has undergone a few incarnations from the 60s to modern day. The licensed costume (see image) comprises of a black PVC style short dress, belt, cape, glovelets, mask and boot tops. Batman makes a great couple costume idea.

Jessie
Woody’s sidekick in Toy Story, so ideal for a couples costume idea. Jessie wears black and white chaps, red hat, white shirt and has red yarn like hair (this will be difficult to achieve, so you may need to wear a red wig instead). Official costumes are available, although many people will use a standard cowgirl costume for this character.

Anne Boleyn
2nd wife of Henry VIII who famously lost her head at the gallows. Wear a Tudor style costume and if you need a costume to complete a couple, the obvious choice is Henry VIII. There are no official costumes for this character, so you can use your own imagination.

Betty Rubble
Wife of Barney, from The Flintstones. Ideal for a couple of a group of four (with Fred & Wilma Flintstone). Betty has black short curly hair and wears a short blue dress. Official costume is available, but is another costume that you may be able to put together at home.

Supergirl
A sidekick to Superman who first appeared in 1959, a great choice for a Superhero couple. There are various licensed costumes available from very sexy versions to more conservative options. Supergirl has blonde hair.

Belle
Lead character from Beauty & the Beast. The Disney version (1991), based on a French Fairytale is the most recognisable. Most popular costume choice is based on the gold ballgown. Official costumes are available, although any yellow/gold Victorian style gown will suffice. Belle has long, brown wavy hair.

Tinker Bell – can be spelt as Tinkerbell, or Tink
Fairy character based on JM Barrie’s play (1904) & novel (1911). The character’s costume is based on the Disney film which was released in 1953. Tinker Bell wears a short, green dress, with fairy wings and has blonde hair. Official costumes are available, although there are plenty of green fairy costumes that could be used for this character. An ideal costume

to pair with Peter Pan or include Captain Hook, pirates, mermaids if you need group costume ideas.

Alice in Wonderland
You have a couple of options for this iconic character (based on Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel). The traditional Alice costume is based on the Disney 1951 film. Alice wears a light blue dress with full white apron, she has blonde hair tied up with a black ribbon.

The film released in 2010 takes the ‘Alice’ story further, with 19 year old Alice re-visiting the world she thinks she has dreamt. The costume for this older Alice, is a light blue Victorian style dress that is calf length and has a fitted bodice. Official costumes are available, although shorter Victorian dresses in blue could also be used.

Queen of Hearts
The wicked, ill tempered Queen from Alice in Wonderland. You could wear any long, royal style gown and cover it with hearts to get this costume effect. Queen of Hearts playing cards are also available if you want to ‘think outside of the box’. This character is often confused with The Red Queen that is in the Alice sequel (Through the Looking Glass) and features in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland film.

Lady Gaga
American pop singer, famous for her weird costumes. Whether this is a character that will

stand the test of time, is debatable, but for the time being, Lady Gaga does give all of us who love fancy dress the chance to dress up in a selection of her costumes. Licensed costumes are available, although other costumes are available that you should be able to use. Wigs are also available to help you create the required look.

Cheryl Cole
Another costume character that may be popular at this very moment, but may not last the test of time. Cheryl Cole is a singer / pop star made famous by appearing on a reality television series and being chosen to be part of the Girl’s Aloud group. She has gone on to star as a judge on the X Factor in the UK and is now also judging the American version of the show. Cheryl has worn some iconic costumes for performing her solo act

Daphne
Member of the Scooby Doo gang. Scooby Doo originated in 1969 as a cartoon television series which continues to the present day. A film was released in 2002. A great choice as either an individual, couple of group costume. Daphne wears a pink/purple dress with a green neck scarf and has pink boots. Her hair is red/orange and has a headband. Licensed costume is available (see image right) but only in 1 standard ladies size.

Minnie Mouse
Wife/girlfriend of Mickey Mouse, an iconic Disney character, she was first drawn in 1928. Minnie is normally shown wearing a red dress with white polka dots with a headband. She wears black leggings (originally stockings) and large shoes.Licensed costume is available, but mouse ears can be purchased which added to a red polka dot dress and white gloves will give you the basic look.

Mrs Incredible
Character from the 2004 computer animated film, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Mrs Incredible licensed costume is available and is probably a costume that you couldn’t really put together at home (unless you have the odd red jumpsuit lying around!). Mrs. Incredible has a short brown bob and a black eye mask that completes her costume. Pair with Mr. Incredible for a recognisable couple costume.

Silk Spectre
This is a ladies character costume that is suitable for the brave…
As you can see from the image on this page, Silk Spectre is quite a sexy looking licensed costume comprising of a long sleeved hot pants and boot tops attached by suspenders. Silk Spectre is a Watchman costume seen in DC Comics for a limited edition between 1986/87.

Madonna
American singer, who first rose to fame in the early 1980s, her first album was released in 1983. She wore many various costumes for videos of her songs, including a Venetian style costume for ‘Vogue’. She is probably copied (in a costuming way) wearing the gold, pointy boob basque the most, although the 80’s look is quite easy to copy or purchase one of the many 80s style costumes on the market.

Penelope Pitstop Character from Wacky Races

Kids Character Costume Ideas

Childrens Character Fancy Dress Ideas

 

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

The first thing to determine is your angle.

Are you an adult who, as part of a childrens TV character nostalgia event (or similar) is looking to dress up as a contemporary or yesteryear character?

Are you an adult looking to dress up as a popular childrens TV and/or book character for a childrens party?

Or are you looking for a childrens character costume for your offspring for a school dress-up, book event or party?

The upshot is, although it seems a great idea to have your childs favourite TV character turn up as Star Guest at their party, its not always possible for us to help for reasons beyond our control. There are sometimes lookalikes and relations of these stars available, but both you and we must avoid passing off these tribute stars as the real thing after all, we all know there is only one real Santa Claus!

Right, having said that, here are a whole host of ideas for childrens characters we are not saying weve got them all, but they will perhaps help give you ideas and obviously if we can assist in fulfilling your requirements, we will. Also, there are a few couples or pairs in the list. Naturally, this is of less interest where children are being costumed unless you are looking for related sibling outfits, in which case prepare for arguments as to who takes which role!

If you look at the left navigation, we have tried to split this enormous costume category into smaller sections and we do also give you plenty of children’s Character costume ideas below.

Starting in the nursery with Nursery Rhyme related outfits: Bo-Peep (plus a sheep) is a good start. Interest in this character revived with Toy Story, although she had mysteriously gone missing (along with her sheep) in Toy Story 3. Theres also Little Miss Muffet (plus a spider prop or escort) and Little Jack Horner and Little Boy Blue. In the nursery rhyme context, The Queen of Hearts and the The Knave of Hearts could be a good pair, whilst a Dish and a Spoon is more of a challenge (the spoon costume exists, the dish can be someone suitably good-looking). Finally there are Cats everywhere, from the one that went to se the Queen (cue Buckingham Palace Guide Book!), the one that fell down the well and, for the musically inclined, the Cat that teamed up with a fiddle and shared a rhyme with laughing dogs and moon-jumping cows!

Comics offer another rich area for suggestion: Dennis the Menace first appeared in the Beano in 1938 and is still looking good, as is his compatriot from that comic, Desperate Dan. For females, although no official costumes exist, versions of Minnie the Minx and Beryl the Peril (a stalwart of The Beezer) should not be too difficult to improvise. Other

classic comic characters of yesteryear such as The Bash Street Kids may be improvised in a similar manner, but for those looking for something more contemporary, theres always Bananaman.

Obviously Childrens Literature and Fairy Tales provide a good source of ideas, but theres also something of a cross-over with the popular characters of Disney here, and sometimes the Disney version has rather taken over the popular image Do you see Winnie the Pooh as a tatty teddy or a tubby ted in a red jacket?

Alice in Wonderland has had a number of treatments and re-imaginings over the years and costumes for Alice herself are available in classic, skimpy and Malice Horror varieties. Other characters from the twoAlicebooks, Wonderland and Looking Glass, such as The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter and The Queen of Hearts (making her second appearance) are also available in various styles. Of course when it comes to other stories, one persons Grimm Fairy Tale is anothers Pantomime character, so there are plenty of ideas here: Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella and Hansel & Gretel for a start. Rapunzel could be set to become popular as Disney are doing a reworking of her story in the near future and we could mention Sleeping Beauty, although shes not much of a party animal! Theres also Aladdin (either Chinese or Arabian versions) and his princess, who could also double as ace Arabian Nights story-teller Scheherazade. Again, cats have great potential quite apart from Dick Whittington and His Cat and Puss-in-Boots (both the panto version or the swords-cat from Shrek), theres also Dr Seuss The Cat In The Hat. Costumes for Thing One and Thing Two are also available.

Mention of Shrek leads us to note that with Shrek being a book before becoming a film, Shrek himself, Princess Fiona and others appearing in the films (The Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, the Three Blind Mice, etc) can also be chosen as Childrens Book Characters. One Hundred and One Dalmatians was also a much-loved book (and Cruella a much hated villainess) prior to its Disney films and there are doubtless other characters from books you read as a child which you might want to portray Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, The Worst Witch, Matilda, Willie Wonka and theres always Harry Potter!

Perhaps you did not do that much reading and your influences were more Childrens TV No problem! With several manufacturers producing retro costumes based on TV favourites of the past, there is plenty of choice, with many being the officially licensed versions of your heroes and heroines: From the days of Watch with Mother (or the more modern CITV CBBC and Cbeebie equivalents) we have Andy Pandy & Looby Loo and the Flower Pot Men & Little Weed. The Teletubbies, characters from In The Night Garden, Postman Pat (with Jess another cat!) and Wallace & Gromit are always popular, as are Danger Mouse & Penfold and the Thunderbirds characters.

The retro concept also works for Action Heroes of the Small Screen such as He-Man and She-Ra, Batman, Superman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman. There are even costumes for more contemporary superstars such as the Power-Rangers and Baugan.

As we started warning about copyright and licensing, we know that Disney characters are some of the most popular requests when it comes to child-orientated costumes. They are also especially subject to some of the restrictions mentioned, but lets not let that get in the way of a good idea. For example there are official versions of Mickey & Minnie Mouse available. They might not come with overhead masks (not always practical for parties anyway) but a little resourcefulness can overcome that if it is a problem. Costumes for other classic Disney characters such as Donald Duck and Goofy may be in the pipeline, but if there is a particular character you require, here at Props & Frocks we can often come up with a work-around solution to keep you happy.

Male Character Costume Ideas

Male Character Costumes

Listed below is our selection of the Top Male Character Costumes. If you disagree with our costume ideas or want to add your own suggestions, please put in your comments.

Austin Powers
Austin Powers, the spoof secret agent invented by Mike Myers, spans three decades, Sixties, Seventies and Nineties. The classic blue velvet 1960s style suit is the archetypal look, with lace jabot and cuffs, black trademark glasses, wig and groovy teeth.

Batman
The Batman franchise certainly stands the test of time and has had many manifestations over the years. Starting in the 1960s with the original TV series, starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, Batman’s image over recent times has become much darker with the sculpted muscle-chest look taking over from the stretch-knit.

Beetlejuice
Despite only making one film (although there was a spin-off cartoon series), an instantly recognisable character who works on a number of levels. Halloween is the obvious option, but he also features heavily in 1980s parties and also Movies parties generally. The black and white striped suit is very distinctive, as is the make-up and hair.

Buzz Lightyear
Thanks to the incredible popularity of the Toy Story films, the Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear is one character who is instantly recognisable by children and adults of all ages.

Darth Vader
The ultimate Space Baddie, Darth Vader may be a popular costume choice but the practicalities of eating and drinking in that mask, can sometimes be a bit off-putting.(There was a reason he was breathing so heavily!).

Elvis
Way before there were official Elvis costumes available for purchase, males wanted to dress up as the ‘King of Rock n Roll’. Although the Vegas white jumpsuit may be the most requested outfit when it comes to Elvis, there are a number of other costume choices, including GI, Hawaiian or sixties gold suit.

Fred Flintstone
When it comes to cartoon characters, Fred Flintstone is in a class of his own. Normally Fred does not tend to go to events on his own. He is usually accompanied either by his wife Wilma or his friend Barney Rubble. If you have a group of people going to a party The Flintstones make a great set, with Betty Rubble, children Pebbles and Bam Bam and even Dino getting in on the action.

Jedi Knight
More practical than Darth Vader, the Jedi Knight is the second Star Wars Character to appear in our top ten. Just shows how popular it is! The original outfit was based on a judo suit, worn underneath a brown hooded robe and the only accessory needed is the light sabre, which should be blue (Darth Vader’s is red).

Mad Hatter
The Mad Hatter is usually a popular character when adults and children dress up for World book day or National book week at school. Around Easter the costume may also be required for Mad Hatter’s tea-parties, as a change or addition to the standard Easter Egg hunts etc.. Recently, there have been increased requests for the Mad Hatter, thanks once again to Johnny Depp for his portrayal of the character in Tim Burton’s 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. Different versions of this character are available, with many modelled on the original illustrations in Lewis Carroll’s book.

Robin Hood
Not all Robin Hood costumes necessarily involve tights and although Lincoln green is the colour he is traditionally associated with, there are many outfits on the market, which come in various shades of green or brown. The major problem with Robin is whether he is sufficiently recognisable without so sort of bow, which can prove something of a liability in a party environment.

Smurf
Smurfs have recently soared in popularity. Licensed costumes are available but you can easily purchase a white gnome hat and blue facepaint to get the general look

Indiana Jones
Always popular with men as it is a macho costume. Although there are licensed costumes to purchase available (see the image to the right) you can also get a wide range of accessories that you can add to an existing battered leather jacket to get the look of this character.

Popeye
A brilliant licensed costume is available for this cartoon character (although a film was released in 1980s that makes this an unusual costume choice for an 80s costume party). Pair with Olive Oyl and you have a great couples costume.

Robin
Sidekick to Batman. Traditionally a male costume, but there are ladies sexy costumes available now for a great couples costume. There are a couple of male licensed costumes available on the market. Can be used for Rodney, from Only Fools & Horses. Early cartoons have Robin wearing shorts, but most licensed costumes have full length jumpsuits.

Superman
Superman made his first appearance in 1938 in DC Comics and has remained a firm favourite ever since. although a cartoon character originally, he went on to star (played by Christopher Reed) in many superman Hollywood blockbusters and also a very popular television series (played by Dean Cane). His costume of a blue jumpsuit with a large S on the front and red cape are largely unchanged throughout the years.

The Joker
Enemy of Batman, makes a great couple costume with any other Batman character. The Joker’s first appearance was in DC comics in 1940. Although The Joker’s costume has changed a bit from his incarnation, the clown like face with huge grin remain. Traditionally, The Joker wore a purple tailcoat and hat and has green hair. Heath Ledger played The Joker in The Dark Knight (but died halfway through). The Dark Knight Joker has a scar across his mouth. Licensed costumes for The Joker (Based on The Dark Knight’s Costume) are available.

Jack Sparrow
Lead character from The Pirates Of the Caribbean, Jack is played by Johnny Depp and is solely responsible for kick starting pirates as a fancy dress theme again. Jack Sparrow appears in the first of the Pirates of The Caribbean series of films (the Curse Of The Black Pearl in 2003). A huge market of pirate accessories have developed around the distressed pirate look which are ideal for a Jack Sparrow costume. A licensed costume is also available, but there are lots of unlicensed distressed pirate costumes available that should also suffice for this well loved character.

The (Incredible) Hulk – hire only
The Hulk is a Marvel Comics character first seen in 1962. The character has gone on to star in television series and films. Although licensed costumes are available, this character can be created with green body paint and ripped shorts. The character also has black short cropped hair.
A note of warning regarding body paint. Most face paint that you would purchase for this character would be a water based product. This means that it will rub off onto clothing and furniture. It also means that you will be able to remove it at the end of the night (always a bonus!)

Captain Hook – hire only
Enemy of Peter Pan (see below). Captain Hook first appeared in JM Barrie’s Peter Pan in 1904. His appearance in Disney’s Peter Pan in 1953 made him one of our favourite villains. He is normally shown wearing a Georgian style frock coat, long curly black hair and of course, has a hook. Originally his hook was on his right hand, but Disney has the hook in the left. There are many pirate costumes and accessories available to create this character. There have been many variations of this character from the original book, through to the Disney and finally the numerous television series and films.

Scooby Doo- Loveable character from the hit television and film, of the same name. A licensed costume is available.

Peter Pan – hire only
Lead character of JM Barries’s Peter Pan (see Captain Hook above). In the original book, Peter Pan is described as wearing autumn leaves, but most people use Disney’s costume version which includes a short green tunic, a cap with a feather, with cloth like tights and red, auburn hair and elf like ears. An official costume for adults is not available, but look for Christmas elf costumes that should suffice.

Shrek – hire only
Lead character in Shrek, the 2001 hit film by Dreamworks. Shrek is a loveable ogre and as such it is a difficult costume to create. Many fancy dress hire shops will have a version for hire. The licensed costumes are hard to get in the UK, although some companies have imported them from America

Henry VIII – hire only
King of England 21 April 1509 until his death in 28 January 1587. Most famous for his six wives and splitting the church of England from The Roman Catholic Church. Henry VIII was a portly figure with auburn hair and beard. Wear a rich, elaborate Tudor costume.

The Mask – hire only
The Mask is a superhero character from the film of the same name (1994) starring Jim Carey. The character is known for a green mask, yellow fedora and yellow zoot suit. This was one of our top male characters, but recently although still popular, has dropped down our list.

Freddie Mercury


The late lead singer of the pop / rock group Queen. Freddy was a very flamboyant character and costume inspiration could be gained by looking at some of the videos made for song, such as ‘I Want To Break Free’ where he is dressed as a French Maid. Costumes are available that would be suitable for this character

Boy George
Lead singer of the 80s group Culture Club. Famous for his weird sense of humour, hats and over the top make up. Costumes are available to purchase that would be suitable for this character.

Michael Jackson
The late American Pop star, found fame originally in his family’s group The Jacksons. Michael Jackson is a great choice for a male character costume as he was known for wearing many individualist costumes, many of which are now licensed and available to purchase. It is also possible to purchase accessories including sequin gloves and black fedora hats to help you to create the look of this pop idol at home.

Charlie Chaplin
Famous ‘Silent era Film’ actor. Charlie Chaplin is always a popular male character as it is very simple, and cheap, to achieve his distinctive look. All you need is a black suit, white shirt, black tie. Add a small black moustache, bowler hat and a cane and your outfit is complete.

Freddy Krueger
Fictional character from ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’. His first appearance was in 1984, so is a great choice for an 1980s fancy dress theme. There are lots of Freddy Krueger merchandise on the market and you can buy individual items such as masks, gloves and hats, or a complete costume. His signature look is one of a burnt face, bladed glove (on one hand only) distressed fedora and a striped jumper.

Woody
Hero of the Toy Story series of animated films. First seen in 1995. Voiced by Tom Hanks, Woody is a cowboy toy owned by Andy. A licensed costume is available. Woody wears blue jeans, yellow shirt with a black and white waistcoat, brown cowboy boots, red neck scarf and a brown cowboy hat. Pair with other Toy Story characters for a great couples costume.

Dracula
Dracula, or Count Dracula to give him his full title, first appeared in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. A staunch favourite all year round and not just at Halloween. This is a simple costume that you can put together at home with one of two fancy dress accessories. The most important item are the teeth. There are lots of different vampire fangs available on the market (please read instructions fully before inserting into your mouth). A cape is also a great idea for a dramatic effect. Wear a white shirt and a bow tie and black trousers. Fake blood on your shirt (be warned it WILL stain it permanently) and a little trickling out one side your mouth will make this outfit look fantastic.

Bart Simpson
Son of Marge & Bart Simpson, made famous in the television cartoon series The Simpsons. Bart first appeared in December 1989 and has a yellow body (face paint is available) and wear a red tee shirt and blue shorts.

Homer Simpson
Father to Bart (see above). Homer again is yellow and wear a white tee shirt and blue jeans – an easy character to put together at home.

Caesar
Roman General who was a lover to Cleopatra (good couples costumes) and was assassinated by those he thought of as friends. You can wear a Roman toga or a Roman Gladiator’s costume to portray this character.

Mark Antony
Supporter of Julius Caesar (see above) and also became a lover of Cleopatra (so another good couples choice, this lady did get around!). To be honest the costume choices are the same as Caesar. Many Roman accessories are available on the market including Roman armour, laurels, swords, breastplates, helmets and sandals.

Comic Book Character Costumes

Some Comic Book Costume Ideas

  • Batman take a look at all of our Superhero costumes
  • Robin
  • The Joker – hire costume available
  • The Riddler – hire costume available
  • Supergirl
  • Batgirl
  • The Simpsons
  • Wonder Woman
  • Minnie The Minx
  • Bananaman
  • Puss n Boots
  • Beryl The Peril
  • Desperate Dan
  • Green Lantern a new range of licensed costumes are available soon
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Lex Luther – Nemesis of Batman
  • Snoopy
  • Spiderman
  • Night Owl
  • Silk Spectre take a look at all of our Watchmen costumes
  • Asterix
  • Dennis The Menace – hire costume available
  • Minnie The Minx
  • Bash Street Kids – school uniforms, headteacher costume
  • Captain America
  • Iron Man
  • Rorschach
  • The Hulk
  • Wolverine
  • Superman
  • The Flash
  • Green Arrow
  • Professor X
  • Thor
  • Mr Fantastic
  • Thing
  • Catwoman
  • Invisible Woman
  • Captain Marvel
  • Judge Dredd

Cartoon Costume Ideas

Traditional Cartoon Costume Ideas

 

This is where you will find all of our traditional cartoon characters from Disney (Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck etc plus the classic feature-length films), Warner Brothers Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig & co.) or Hanna-Barbera (Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear to The Flintstones and Smurfs).

Unfortunately, most cartoon characters are subject to licence and copyright, and usually only one manufacturing company has the rights to make the official costume (although this arrangement can vary in different countries, and lookalikes do occur). Also, the licence to make a costume may only last a limited time, so some character outfits may be here today but gone later when you want to buy them! All the more reason to support those costume stores who bought in costumes when they were available and, all being well, still have them for hire (or possibly sale) after the supply has dried up.

Here we have a suggestions list cartoon and animation characters, families, friends and associates. We have not included super-hero comic book, or animated film characters here – you will need to click on the sections (on the left of this page)

Why not take a look at our range of Cartoon costumes

Addams Family. Although possibly now more familiar as TV and movie characters, the Addams Family started life as a cartoon series in the New Yorker magazine drawn by cartoonist Charles Addams hence their name. A wide number of Addams Family characters (including against type saucy Morticia and Wednesday outfits) are available.

Beetlejuice. Although primarily known as being a feature film, a cartoon series featuring Beetlejuice, the off-beat bio-exorcist, was aired late 1980s to early 1990s (although purists noticed significant reimaginings between the film and the series). Beetlejuice, however, remains a popular costume choice for both movie and cartoon events

Ben 10 Ben 10 is a popular childrens cartoon involving the aforementioned Ben and a wrist device, the Omnitrix. This enables its wearer to change into various alien creatures, hence the costumes available offer a range of such life-forms. A series of cardboard masks for Ben and alien alter-egos can also be found in some countries.

Betty Boop. A risqu cartoon character who started her career in the 1930s in flapper-style outfits and continues to be popular today. Several costumes, wigs and accessories are available.

Bugs Bunny. The flagship mascot of the Warner Brothers studios. Several licensed costumes for Bugs are available.

Captain Hook Villain in Peter Pan

Casper, the Friendly Ghost A popular comic and TV cartoon series, and a film not so long ago. Official costumes may still exist, but the outfit should be easy enough to make yourself if you wish.

Cat in the Hat. Dr Seuss popular rhyming feline has made both TV and film appearances and until recently licensed costumes were available for both he and the Thing One and Two characters. This may still be the case in the US, but the licence seems to have expired in Britain.

Cruella de Vil. One of the most popular of Disney villainesses. Originally a book character, the Disney version hit the screens in 1961. Although there is in official costume, there are also a number of Cruella lookalikes on the market.

Dangermouse. British secret agent hero of the 1980s and beyond who, with his assistant Penfold sought to protect the world from villains such as Baron Greenback and Count Duckula.

Dennis the Menace From his early days as a comic character, Dennis and his dog Gnasher have graduated to their own TV series. Dennis trademark look is a red/black striped jumper and spiky black hair. Confusingly, a different Dennis the Menace cartoon character exists in the US.

Desperate Dan Desperate Dan hails from the British comic, The Beano. A character of broad stature and mighty appetite (his favourite food is cow pie), an official costume is available.

Donald (& Daisy) Duck. Donald is a Disney original created in 1934. Donald is a duck

wearing a sailor suit. Daisy is his girlfriend.

The Flintstones. Prehistoric perhaps, but possibly some of the most popular of cartoon characters, because of the simplicity of their costumes and the lack of masks or other complications. Two versions standard and Vegas deluxe are often available. The official Wilma standard costume comes with a flat 2D style wig headpiece, but this is easily remedied with a more conventional wig. See also the Jetsons

Jessica Rabbit A sultry femme fatale singer and wife to the hapless Roger Rabbit from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? This film is unique in that both Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon stars are seen working together onscreen. Several versions of Jessicas outfit can be found.

The Jetsons. Whilst the Flintstones were stone-age, the Jetsons were futuristic, with stylish (if slightly skimpy) space-wear and a robotic house-keeper. Costumes for George,

Jane and Judy Jetson have been available in the past

Kung Fu Panda The unlikely hero of this popular martial arts cartoon feature is soon to be seen again with his companion Furious Four kung-fu masters in 2011.

Lara Croft Female cartoon heroes are a little scarce (even if you include super-heroines), but action-archaeologist Lara has graduated from games-console star to movie screen and retains lasting popularity. The standard Lara Croft outfit previously offered has recently (2011) been supplemented in some countries with an Underworld version.

Little Mermaid (Disney 1989 film). Based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson who wrote the original fairy tale of the same name. Ariel, the lead character is a mermaid with red long hair. Only an official girls costume is available although there are many other mermaid costumes available that could be used.

Maleficent The wicked sorceress in Disneys Sleeping Beauty who cuts an imposing figure in her black and purple robes and black horned headdress. Several costumes based on her outfit exist.

Megamind resembles the Mekon, an evil green creature with a large cranium who flew around on a small personal transporter and was the enemy of space-hero Dan Dare in the British Eagle comic of the 60s, but hes more of a greyish skin colour. The star of a 2010 animated feature, costumes for this character have been marketed in the States but are not easy to find in Britain.

Minnie the Minx Another British comic character, this one possibly being the female equivalent (or counterpart) to Dennis the Menace(although others argue that a different character, Beryl the Peril, has this distinction). Like Dennis, she has a black and red stripe

jumper but her ensemble is completed with a shortish black skirt, ankle socks and a black beret

Morph One of two claymation entries in the list, Morph was a popular character created by British artist Tony Hart for his childrens TV art shows. Using stop-animation, a lump of clay (actually a Plasticine/Play-Doh-style material) took on a character of his own, including inter-acting with Hart himself in his many adventures. Harts Morph inspired the creation of the better known Wallace and Gromit. Wear a Morphsuit to get the required look.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Flagship characters from the Walt Disney cartoon studios. After many years, official costumes for these two (and other classic Disney characters such as Goofy) have been offered on the Market..

Mr Magoo The near-sighted Mr Magoo was first seen in 1949 but is still well known today. As far as we know, no official costume currently exists, but an outfit should be easy to improvise.

Peanuts Although best known as a comic strip, the Peanuts characters have also featured in TV movies and stage shows. A set of costumes exists for the characters, although some take issue with the fact that the head-body ratio on the Snoopy costume is wrong, albeit probably for eminently practical reasons.

Peter Pan Another book character who is probably best known and recognised through his Disney persona, although he is also popular in British pantomime, albeit played by a female! A series of Disney-based costumes for Peter and other characters can be found. See alsoTinkerbell

Pink Panther Originally The Pink Panther was the name of a jewel at the centre of a heist movie, but when a Pink Panther cartoon character was used in the title sequences of this and subsequent sequels, the Panther gained his own spin-off cartoon series, which also featured shorts of the further adventures of a cartoon Inspector Clouseau.

Popeye the Sailor Man Long lasting cartoon character (he first appeared 1929) who single-handedly revived the fortunes of the US spinach industry. His cartoons also featured girlfriend Olive Oyl, baby Sweepea and the villainous bully Bluto(although some costume suppliers call him Brutus)

Postman Pat British television favourite who, along with his cat Jess, has entertained children (and their parents) for many years. He is an unofficial mascot of the UK Post Office and a licensed character costume is usually available.

Powerpuff Girls A blast from the past here – the adventures of three small girls with super-powers. Their adventures have featured on various cartoon networks since 1998 but the costumes may now not be so easy to find.

Roger Ramjet Powerpuffs a real blast from the past? Huh! Roger Ramjet, the all-American good-guy and leader of the American Eagles air squadron was first seen in 1965, and still appears on cartoon networks today (in Britain he was seen during No, 73, the successor to Tiswas during the 1980s). His costume was a patriotic white flying suit, but we know of no official suppliers

Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine Gang (Daphne, Fred, Shaggy and Velma).

Another popular cartoon series from the Hanna-Barbera studios. Scooby Doo Costumes for all characters are available children may also be able to find the Scooby-Dracula and Scooby-Frankenstein variations still on offer.

The Simpsons Although the Flintstone were pioneers in kidult cartoons, the Simpsons, originally seen as inserts in the Tracy Ullman Show in the 90s took adult cartoons to a new level. Costumes and masks can be found for several of the Simpsons family, plus others such as Krusty the Clown and Mr Burns.

Shrek & Fiona Once simple book characters, now major stars of four films, the ogres Shrek and Fiona have certainly made a great impression on fans of all ages. Costumes have been available in the past but following the release of Shrek 4, the licence seems to have been withdrawn, possibly in preparation for the forthcoming Puss-in-Boots spin-off. There are so many other cartoon characters that make appearances in Shrek that you should read our information page that is full of costume ideas for Shrek

The Smurfs Smurfs, small blue gnome-like creatures in white hats, were Franco-Belgian in origin and originally appeared in the late 1950s. However they gained popularity worldwide and this reached a peak in the 1980s when they had their own cartoon series, were in the pop charts and, in Britain, even helped promote petrol. Although they never really went away, with smurf-style costumes offered from several sources, their popularity may increase again with a forthcoming live-action/CBI film featuring Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette!

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey

& Doc). Although Snow White existed as a book character beforehand, Disney has very much made Snow White their own. The Snow White look and the names of the dwarfs are copyright, but costumes for Snow White and masks for the dwarfs are now on the market.

Sonic the Hedgehog The mascot character from the Sega games console. Although the console has been superseded, Sonic continues to thrive and a licensed costume exists.

Spongebob Squarepants Spongebob was a character actually created by a marine biologist and for a time he has been one of the most popular characters on the TV cartoon circuit. An official costume is available

Stewie The malicious talking baby from Family Guy. Costumes with the mask in both foam and vinyl are available, and a mask for Peter, the head of the Family can also be found.

Super Mario One of the best-selling games-console characters of all time, Super Mario and brother Luigi continue to enjoy popularity and new gaming challenges. Several firms

offer costumes for this talented plumber, and outfits can also be found for Princess Peach and Toad.

Sylvester & Tweety Pie Sylvester the Cat and Tweety the Canary had been long-running favourites from the Warner Brothers stable of characters and costumes are available for both children and adults.

Taz This aggressive antipodean started as a minor Warner Bros. character, but through sheer charisma (and a forceful attitude) he has developed his own fan base with fleece and foam-based costumes on offer for Taz devotees

Tigger The super-energetic tiger-cat from the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh stories has always been popular and official costumes in both adult and child versions have now become available.

Tinkerbell Tinkerbell is, of course, a character from the Peter Pan story but you cant

keep a good fairy down and she has recently been starring in her own series of spin-off movies. Her trademark green costume is offered in a number of a variety of styles.

Tintin Despite being a favourite comic-book character for years for many, Tintin the Boy Detective has never really hit the big-time, although fans could imitate his look relatively easily. This may change in the near future as Stephen Spielberg releases his Tintin movie. We can perhaps expect some official outfits for him and his colleagues Captain Haddock and the Thompson Twins!

Tom & Jerry This warring couple, Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse have been with us for years and have even won a few film awards in their time. Official costumes are made, although so far as we know, only for children!

Top Cat A unique cartoon character and series insofar as the series was the Sgt. Bilko Show done with cartoon alley cats! The BBC confused the issue by calling it Boss Cat (because there was a TC cat-food) but TC, Benny the Ball, Choo-choo and their nemesis, Officer Dibble were great favourites. There are no official costumes (although in these retro days, someone might get round to it) but we thought they deserved a mention!

Wacky Races In theory the cars are the stars in this series. The full listing of cars and drivers is as follows: No.1: The Boulder-Mobile (The Slag Bros.); No.2: The Creepy Coupe (Big & Lil Gruesome); No.3: The Convert-a-Car (Professor Pat Pending); No.4: The Crimson Haybailer (Red Max); No. 5: The Compact Pussycat (Penelope Pitstop); No. 6. The Army Surplus Special (Sgt. Blast & Private Meekly); No.7: Bullet-Proof Bomb (The Anthill Mob); No.8: Arkansas Chugga-Bug (Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear); No.9: Turbo Terrific (Peter Perfect); No.10: The Buzz Wagon (Rufus Ruffcut & Sawtooth the Beaver); No.00: The Mean Machine (Dick Dastardly & Muttley). In practice, the Dastardly and Muttley and Penelope Pitstop characters proved so popular, they got their own spin-off series. Co-incidentally costumes for these characters have recently reached the market.

Wallace & Gromit Inspired by the pioneering Morph, Wallace and Gromit an inventor

and his long-suffering side-kick/dog have achieved fame and Academy Award success with their exploits and adventures. Official costumes can be found in Britain and on some international markets.

Wheres Wally The first book was published in 1987 and is based on looking for Wally in amongst a couple of pages of activity. Costume consists on a red and white striped top and matching bobble hat and blue trousers. Official costumes are available for adults and children. The franchise has now spread to include a comic strip, video games and even a TV series.

Yogi Bear & Boo-boo In the 1960s Yogi and friends from JellystonePark (and Huckleberry Hound and pals) ruled the childrens cartoon scene. Whilst Huckleberry (and a host of other Hanna-Barbera animal characters Snagglepuss, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel etc) disappeared, Yogi kept going in various formats and cartoon series and is now hitting the movie screens in 3D. Hard work duly rewarded

Nursery Rhymes Costume Ideas

Nursery Rhymes Fancy Dress Ideas

When it comes to party themes, our customers often like to re-visit their childhood for ideas. At Props & Frocks storybook and fictional characters are usually popular requests throughout the year, but some people choose to make it a slightly more narrow (and thus sometimes more difficult) theme, by focusing on one aspect, such as Nursery Rhymes.

When you start to look at this theme in more detail, there are loads of different characters and costumes to choose from, although some crop up in a number of rhymes.

For example, cats turn up in several rhymes. So, a furry bodysuit, catsuit or just cat accessories, can give you a number of potential characters. Armed with a map of London(or a facsimile of a Buckingham Palace guide book) you can be the Cat who went to London to look at the Queen (natural pairing with a Queen) or, with a violin case you can be the Cat with a fiddle, from Hey Diddle Diddle. If going as a group there is the potential to go as the Three Little Kittens who lost their Mittens.

If being a cat is not your thing, there are many other costumes available here at Props & Frocks. Some of these may be animal related, but not all necessarily rely on hot fur bodysuits to create an impression. For example, we have animal half face masks for pigs (This little Piggy went to market); mice Three Blind Mice (accessorise with dark glasses and walking sticks/canes); sheep Mary had a little Lamb or Little Bo Peep (black sheep are more difficult to find and although Shaun the sheep may be black faced, he does not really work for Baa Baa Black Sheep). Then of course we come back full circle to the cat, which matched with the owl gives you the Owl and the Pussycat. We also stock instant costume kits, such as the ladybird Ladybird, Ladybird fly away home or spider Incy, Wincy, Spider. There are also wigs available for some animals, such as ladybirds and cats, though not every animal may be featured in a rhyme.

Naturally you do not have to go as an animal, to enter into the spirit of a Nursery Rhymes theme. If you are aiming to go to the event as a couple, this theme lends itself to natural pairings. There are a number of rhymes that leave it up to your imagination to decide upon a suitable costume. Jack and Jill, with a bucket (or two) (depending upon your interpretation) with Jack in a ‘bandage’ of brown paper, can offer a host of opportunities, particularly for those who are perhaps not so keen to dress up. Although as mentioned there are instant spider kits available for Miss Muffet and a Spider, two females may choose to dress in the more short and sexy style costumes available. Old Mother Hubbard (usually features one of our pantomime dame costumes) and we have a few Dog costumes if wanting to pair up. Other partners include the Queen and Knave of Hearts (or the Queen and Cat, as mentioned above); Bo Peep and Sheep or Mary and her Lamb and, if going as a group you could be really enterprising and not only go as the Cat and a fidldle (as mentioned above) but also the Cow and Moon (using one of our moon shaped masks) and Dish with a Spoon. If working with odd numbers you can even feature the little dog.

Wear a Chef’s hat for the Baker in ‘Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker’
Wear a Tudor Peasant for ‘Tom’ as in ‘Tom, Tom, The Piper’s son’

For those wanting a slightly different spin on the traditional Nursery Rhymes, there are

alternative style costumes that could work. For example, why not use one of our Austin Powers suits for Little Boy Blue, rather than the recognised style as portrayed in the Gainsborough painting. There are also several variations on the Queen of Hearts costume, or why not look at a nightgown and striped nightcap for Wee Willie Winkie? When donning a fancy dress outfit, males in particular can often find it a bit intimidating, particularly if this is the first time they have ever had to dress up in costume. Going back to their childhood might not their idea of fun, but a uniform to depict the Grand Old Duke of York, or regal outfit for Old King Cole can often add a touch of class to the nursery nature of the theme. Alternatively, a doctors outfit for Dr Foster can also be a bit different, and a good excuse for carrying a can of Fosters!

Of course, it is not only adult fancy dress parties that have a Nursery Rhymes theme. Quite often we are asked by playgroups and nursery schools to provide costumes and/or accessories for children. Some of those items mentioned above may only be available for adults, whilst others can only be used by those children three years and over (for safety reasons). If you are uncertain whether we provide a particular item for you or your child(ren), please ask. We look forward to helping you out with your Nursery Rhymes theme.

Most common Nursery Rhymes:

  • Horsey Horsey – wear a horse costume / mask
  • Ol’ Mother Hubbard
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Mary, Mary Quite Contrary
  • Little Boy Blue
  • Doctor Foster
  • Grand Ol’ Duke Of York
  • Humptey Dumptey
  • Hey Diddle Diddle
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Jack & Jill
  • Jack Spratt
  • Ladybird, Ladybird – we stock ladybird costumes & wings
  • Little Bo Peep
  • Little Miss Muffet
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • One, Two, Three, Four, Five – carry a fishing line with a fake fish
  • Oranges & Lemons – just carry both of these fruits
  • Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake
  • Polly, Put The Kettle On – wear a Victorian costume – hold a fake kettle
  • Pussycat, Pussycat – another chance to wear a cat costume
  • Rain, Rain Go Away – wear a raincoat and carry an umbrella
  • Sticks & Stones
  • Three Blind Mice – wear a mouse mask with a blindfold – make sure there are eye holes for safety reasons!
  • The Owl & the Pussycat – we stock a lovely owl mask
  • The Queen of Hearts
  • This Little Piggy – wear a pig mask
  • Wee Willie Winkie