Cartoon and Animation Character Costume Ideas
Used to be when you thought cartoons, you thought of 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).
These days there are also the computer-generated animated series and films to consider: Pixar and Dreamworks are the leaders in this field, but CGI and 3D are upping the game for everyone and new characters (and costumes) are emerging each year. 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 of over fifty cartoon and animation characters, families, friends and associates. We have not included super-hero comic book characters here – they’re for a follow up ‘sister’ hub.
Hopefully you can find costumes for most of those listed (as we said, stock may be time limited), but otherwise a little improvisation may be in order. Why not take a look at our range of Cartoon costumes
Addams Family. Perhaps 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.The family consisted of Morticia and Gomez, their children Wednesday and Pugsley plus Grandma and Uncle Fester. Lurch the butler and Thing, the disembodied hand were also popular characters. A wide number of Addams Family outfits (including – against type – saucy Morticia and Wednesday costumes) are available.
Avatar A blockbuster film of 2009, the story of the Na’vi, their planet Pandora and their conflict with invading mining colonists from Earth proved hugely popular. The costumes took a little time coming (although it is said there will be a sequel) and the blue skinned look is not for everybody (unless you’re a Smurf), but at least it’s distinctive.
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 ‘ re imaginings’ between the film and the series). Beetlejuice, however, remains a popular costume choice for both movie and cartoon events and, introduced onto the costume market in late 2012, there is also a 'Miss Beetlejuice' outfit (solves the previous problem of a 'partner' - the alternative is Lydia Deetz).
Ben 10 Ben 10 is a popular children’s’ 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 risqué 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.
Buzz Lightyear. Space-age hero from the new era of computer animation. Infinity and beyond are well within your reach in the various official costumes. Woody and the Potato-heads are also available
Cars Costumes for the ‘Small Set’ only here! The first Cars film was a surprise hit, with very little costume merchandise made available but you should find that a few outfits – albeit made within the limits of child safety standards – should be available for the Cars films. Watch for the companion series 'Planes'!
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 (and there was a later live action version). Although there is an ‘official’ costume, there are also a number of Cruella lookalikes on the market. The black/white wig is a key feature of the look, although, for the make-up high, arched eyebrows give the classic villainess look.
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 . Official costumes are available.
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.
Gru Felonious Gru is the 'star' of the 'Despicable Me' films. Looking similar to Fester Addams (and some say, the Irish comedian Dara O'Brian), Gru's ambitions to be the most successful villain tend to get thwarted. He is assisted in his efforts by his ever failthful Minions, small one-eyed yellow creatures in dungareeswith a unique take on team-work.
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 costume comes with a flat 2D –style ‘wig’ headpiece, but this is easily remedied with a more conventional wig. See also the Jetsons
The Incredibles. Super adventure Pixar-style as a superhero couple and their equally talented children become involved in the fight against the upstart would-be hero Syndrome. Costumes for ‘Incredibles’ adult were available until recently.
Jack Skellington & Sally From Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, a popular pair of animated actors, especially around Halloween! Variations on Jack’s costume include different types of mask and Sally’s outfit may also be offered in different levels of complexity.
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 Jessica’s outfit can be found.
Jetsons. Whilst the Flintstones were Stone-Age, the Jetsons were futuristic (about 2060s) and (trivia point) were the first TV cartoon in colour. The females, Jane & Judy Jetson, wore stylish (if slightly skimpy) space-wear. Official costumes for the females 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.
Maleficent The wicked sorceress in Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ who cuts an imposing figure in her black and purple robes and black horned headdress. Several costumes based on her outfit exist, and others may be created due to a forthcoming film about this character, starring Angelina Jolie.
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 he has more of a greyish skin colour. The star of a 2010 animated feature which tackles the question' What would happen if the villain won for once?, costumes for this character have been marketed in the States but are not easy to find in Britain.
Minions As noted above, small, yellow (mostly) one-eyed creatures in dungarees with an interesting team-work ethic who are 'employed' by arch villain turned goodie Gru in the Despicable Me films, Costumes in both tabard and mascot style are available.
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
Monsters Inc. This popular film 2001 from Pixar about the lives of the monsters who live under your bed, in closets etc returned for a sequel -Monsters University- in 2013. Thus we can enjoy the earlier adventures of Mike, Sulley & co. First time around, costumes were only made for children – some adult outfits were available on this occasion.
Monsters v. Aliens One of the first animated features to make us of the ‘new’ 3D technology, Monsters v Aliens (2010) involves a group of ‘monster’s (including Ginormica, a bride who became a giantess following a meteor accident) kept under cover by the US military until the Earth is threatened by an alien master-mind and his giant robot. (They also battled some mutant pumpkins, but that’s a different story). A Ginormica costume (complete with ‘car shoes’) was available at the time the film was current.
Morph One of two ‘claymation’ entries in the list, Morph was a popular character created by British artist Tony Hart for his children’s 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’. Hart’s Morph inspired the creation of the better known Wallace and Gromit. A Morph likeness may be created using the wide range of Morphsuits (no relation) available, and Morph himself is due to return to TV screens soon.
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 animated TV movies and live 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 also Tinkerbell, who has generated her own spin-off franchise.
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 Swee’pea 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. A movie featuring the popular postman is due 2014..
Potato-Head, Mr & Mrs. Classic toy characters given new life (and personalities) thanks to the animated Toy Story movies. A Mr Potato Head costume has been around for a few years and a Mrs Potato Head came onstream a few years later..
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. 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. There was, however a spin-off featuring Puss-in-Boots in his life pre-Shrek days.
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 was enhanced by recent films 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. Although there is a lot of Spongebob merchandise the official Spongebob costumes tend to be tabard –based and some fans have been known to create better likenesses!
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 (based on the Tasmanian Devil rodent) 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 can’t 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. Despite Stephen Spielberg releasing a Tintin movie recently, only a few official costumes seem available.
Tom & Jerry This warring couple, Tomcat 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. Some official costumes have recently come on the market.
Tron The futuristic film which was ahead of its time on its first outing and made full use of CGI in its recent sequel, even though some felt the official costumes aren’t all they could be!
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 and one or two others 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.
Yogi Bear & Boo-boo In the 1960s Yogi and friends from JellystonePark (and Huckleberry Hound and pals) ruled the children’s cartoon scene. Whilst Huckleberry (and a host of other Hanna-Barbera animal characters – Snaglepuss, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel etc) disappeared, Yogi kept going in various formats and cartoon series and has also hit the movie screens in 3D. Hard work duly rewarded (and a costume is available).
Sorry if we've omitted your own personal favourite cartoon/animation character - add it in the comments section below if you wish.
We're sure the hub will change as new characters emerge and others fade to obscurity anyway, For now though, that's all folks!
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Why not look at some of our other hubs?
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- 1960s Costume Ideas
- Pantomime Time - Costume Ideas
- Costume Ideas Starting With The Letter A
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- Costume Ideas For The letter F
- Costume Ideas starting with the Letter G
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- Costume Ideas Starting With The Letter J
- Costume Ideas Beginning With The Letter K
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