Board game character costume ideas

Updated August 10, 2017

Whether you're preparing for Halloween or just a fancy-dress party, you need to strike a balance between standing out and blending in. You don't want to wear the same costume as everyone else, but at the same time you don't want to pick a subject so obscure that no one will recognise it. The world of board games can provide a range of colourful and exciting characters, many of them with distinctive and simple costumes.

Rich Uncle Pennybags

Rich Uncle Pennybags, also known as Mister Monopoly, is the mascot of the classic board game Monopoly. Instantly recognisable, Mister Monopoly is also a relatively simple costume to make. Striped trousers, a cutaway coat and a top hat create the look of a 19th-century tycoon, while a grey handlebar moustache completes the costume. A cane makes a great accessory. Dedicated costume creators should find a large sack, fill it with play money, and run through the crowd scattering it wildly.


The characters from the classic murder mystery board game Cluedo are among the most recognisable in the gaming world. The key element is to match the colour scheme to the character: brown and yellow for Colonel Mustard, purple for Professor Plum, a maid's uniform for Mrs White and so on. This makes a great group costume concept for up to six friends. Groups with seven members may have to force someone to dress as the unfortunate Mr Body.

Chess pieces

They may not have much individual character, but chess piece costumes are easy to design and immediately recognisable. Completely black or completely white costumes combine with medieval weapons and shields to produce pawns, while more elaborate knight or rook costumes call for horse- or tower-shaped headgear. The king and queen make a good costume concept for a couple; the lazy, ineffectual king and the powerful, aggressive queen make a great change from dashing heroes and fainting princesses.

Evil player

Underground board game sensation War on Terror requires one of its players -- randomly determined by a spinner known as the Axis of Evil -- to don the Evil Balaclava, a black hat with "EVIL" on it in large red letters. This conveniently helps to remind the other players who it's OK to beat up. The Evil Balaclava may not be a very inventive costume, but it has one great advantage: the balaclava itself comes in the game box, so if you own the game you have your costume already.

Guess Who characters

You probably remember Guess Who from your childhood. It's a classic two-player board game where you each have the same 24 characters, using the process of elimination to guess what character your opponent has chosen. Most Guess Who characters look rather normal and can be hard to pull off. However, some characters, like the character Claire, have quite a distinctive look. You can easily copy Claire's style with an orange wig, a pair of blue-rimmed sunglasses, and a yellow sun hat topped off with a few fake flowers. If you really want to get creative, have a go at styling yourself like on of the other Guess Who characters. Just ensure they look distinctive enough to be recognised.

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About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.