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Male Character Fancy Dress Costumes

Updated on July 3, 2014
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Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England since 1998. Happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.

Gnome Costume - could be used as a Smurf
Gnome Costume - could be used as a Smurf

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Props n Frocks Fancy Dress has been established since 1998 and has a large fancy dress shop in Essex and also an online store. Props n Frocks has a fantastic reputation (which we aim to keep) and road tests all items that are shown on the e-commerce site. We stock thousands of fancy dress costumes & accessories for all the family. We see these items being tried on every day and can offer professional advice to whether we think the item is suitable, or not. Props n Frocks also offers pages, such as this one, with some great costume ideas for every fancy dress theme you could think of. Need help? Check out Props n Frocks - THE place for all your fancy dress needs...

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 it’s 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.

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.

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.

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.

Props n Frocks is very interested in what, the general public think about purchasing a costume from a fancy dress website. We'd really appreciate it if you could spare a moment or two and vote (see questions on the right). We want to be able to put our customers minds at rest, but really want to know how your perceive fancy dress website. with the voting results, we may be able to adapt our main website,so that the common fears are allayed straight away and you can purchase from us with confidence.

We'd also love to know your fancy dress website experiences, please write them below (good or bad) in the comments box.

The Joker costume
The Joker costume
Darth Vader Costume
Darth Vader Costume
Teenage Ninja Turtle Costume
Teenage Ninja Turtle Costume
The Hulk Costume
The Hulk Costume
Indian Jones Costume
Indian Jones Costume

So Let's Have a Look At Some Of Our Most Popular Male Costumes...

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

Austin Powers
Austin Powers, the spoof photographer-cum- secret agent ('Blow Up meets Bond), invented by Mike Myers, spans three decades, Sixties, Seventies and Nineties. The classic blue velvet 1960s style suit is the typical look, with lace jabot and cuffs, black trademark glasses, wig and groovy teeth. A Disco Long Coat, Hat and Waistcoat ( from 'The Spy Who Sh**** Me') was available and may still be found from hire outlets.

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. Aside from the recent 'reboot' series of 'Dark Knight' stories, a movie featuring Batman and Superman together (working title Batman v Superman!) is promised for the future.

Despite only making one film (although there was a spin-off cartoon series), an instantly recognisable character who works on a number of levels. He was a 'bio-exorcist' who was hired by a deceased couple to scare away the new inhabitants of their house, but Beetlejuice has his own agenda... Halloween is the obvious option for using this outfit, but he also features heavily in 1980 parties and also Movies parties generally. The black and white striped suit is very distinctive, as is the make-up and hair. Oddly, there is also a Miss Beetlejuice outfit on the market, so there is a 'couple' potential here.

Buzz Lightyear
Thanks to the incredible popularity of the Toy Story films, Buzz Lightyear,the Space Ranger, is one character who is instantly recognisable by children and adults of all ages. (Although this is a hub about Male Costumes, it might be worth mentioning that, again. a female Buzz costume has recently come on the market, so an 'Infinity and Beyond ' couple is not impossible.)

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 Impersonator
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 available thanks to his many film roles, including GI, Hawaiian or Sixties gold suit.

Fred Flintstone
When it comes to cartoon characters, Fred Flintstone is in a class of his own, although of course when he goes to events, he is usually accompanied either by his wife Wilma (nee Slaghoople) 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 choices. 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
The only historical character to appear in our most popular male character list, thanks mainly due to his continued re-invention both on TV and in the cinema. Not all Robin Hood costumes necessarily involve tights, and although Lincoln green is his 'traditional' colour , 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 some sort of longbow, which can prove something of a liability in a party environment.

Batman Costume
Batman Costume
Superman Costume
Superman Costume
Beetlejuice Costume
Beetlejuice Costume

With two movies under their belt, 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
The adventurous archaeologist, always popular with men as it is a macho costume. Although there are licensed costumes to purchase available (see the image above) 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.

A brilliant licensed costume is available for this cartoon character. A film, starring Robin Williams, was released in 1980s, also making this a potential costume choice for an 80s costume party. Pair with Olive Oyl and you have a great couples costume.

Partner and sidekick to crimefighter Batman. Traditionally a male costume, but alternatively 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. in later graphic novel Batman stories Robin adopted the identity 'Nightwing' in an outfit similar to the black/red costume seen in the Batman Forever film.

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 Reeve) 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, despite a recent 'reboot' series of films. As noted in the Batman entry, a film featuring both superheroes is in the offing.

The Joker
Traditionally the leading enemy of Batman, so might makes a great couple costume with any other Batman character (although probably teaming with the jester-like Harley Quinn works best). The Joker's first appearance was in DC comics in 1940. Although The Joker's costume has changed a bit from his initial incarnation, the clown like face with huge grin remain and are retained in the video game 'Arkham Asylum' and others based on the Batman franchise. Traditionally, The Joker wore a purple tailcoat and hat and has green hair. Heath Ledger played a somewhat reinvented manic Joker in 'The Dark Knight' (but died before the film's release, winning a postumous Oscar). The Dark Knight Joker has the more manic look due to the scar-cut smile mouth rather than a purely painted smile. Licensed costumes for The Joker (Based on The Dark Knight's Costume) are available.

Jack Sparrow
Lead character from The Pirates Of the Caribbean films, Jack is played by Johnny Depp and is solely responsible for kick-starting Pirates as a fancy dress theme again. Jack Sparrow first appears in the first of the first of the Pirates of the Caribbean films - The Curse of the Black Pearl, then the three (at the moment) other sequels. A huge range 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
The Hulk is a Marvel Comics character first seen in 1962. The character has gone on to star in television series and films, recently in 'Avengers Assemble'. 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 facepaint 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!). If you wish to be ultra cautious on this matter, some specialist make-up outlets can offer a 'Fixier spray', which can 'stabilise' the paint, but you might require a bit more effort at clean-up time!

Buzz Lightyear Costume
Buzz Lightyear Costume

Let us know what you think...

Who is YOUR favourite Male Character?

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Captain Hook
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, although these days he is rather losing out to Jack Sparrow as 'most popular pirate'! 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 film and finally the numerous television series and films and now, in 2014, there is talk of another version, although somehow this one involves a different villain to Hook!

Peter Pan
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. For panto purposes, Peter is usually played by a 'pricipal boy (ie girl), possibly one of the reasons an official costume for adults is not available, but look for Christmas elf costumes that should suffice.

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. Despite the popularity of the stage show, the licensed costumes are now harder to get in the UK because the films (and their licence) have finished, although some companies have imported them from America

Henry VIII
King of England from 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
The Mask is a superhero character from the film of the same name (1994) starring Jim Carrey. The story involves mild-mannered bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss finding a mask which transforms him a the wildly extrovert character with a green face, yellow fedora and yellow zoot suit. This was one of our top male characters, but recently, although still popular for Decades parties, it has dropped down our list.

Michael Jackson Costume
Michael Jackson Costume
Freddy Krueger Costume
Freddy Krueger Costume
Mad Hatter Costume
Mad Hatter Costume
Mickey Mouse Costume
Mickey Mouse Costume

Freddie Mercury
The late lead singer of the pop / rock group Queen. Freddie was a very flamboyant character and costume inspiration could be gained by looking at some of the videos made for songs, such as 'I Want To Break Free,' where he is dressed as a short-skirted Housewife or 'It's a Kind of Magic', featuring the yellow/white buckled jacket.

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
One of the greatest singer/songwriters of recent time, he 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 known as 'The Little Tramp'. 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 (you might find a make-up product called 'Gel-fix' or similar useful here), a bladed glove (on one hand only), a distressed fedora and a striped jumper.

Hero of the Toy Story series of animated films. First seen in 1995. Voiced by Tom Hanks, Woody is a cowboy toy owned by the boy 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.

Popeye Costume
Popeye Costume
Super Mario Costume
Super Mario Costume
Scooby Doo Costume
Scooby Doo Costume

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 & Homer Simpson, made famous in the television cartoon series The Simpsons. Bart first appeared in December 1989. Like all his family, he has yellow skin colour. An official mask is available (but so is face paint) 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.

Roman General who was a lover to Cleopatra (good couples costume) 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!). The costume choices is the same as Caesar, although most favour the armoured look. Many Roman accessories are available on the market including Roman armour, laurels, swords, breastplates, helmets and sandals.

Finally - The Dictator

This most recent new creation from Sacha Baron Cohen - a middle-Eastern Military despot - may well prove popular in the future as it will tick all the right boxes with many a male.

Use this costume for Caesar or Mark Antony
Use this costume for Caesar or Mark Antony

We'd love you know what you thought of this page,or if you have got other character costume ideas for men. If you have liked this page, please show your appreci

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