Movie character dress-up day ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

Thinking of a costume for a party or dress-up day can be a frustrating undertaking, but some of the best costumes are movie characters. Some costumes based on movie characters are very elaborate and very time-consuming and labour intensive to prepare. No matter how ambitious or low-key you want your costume to be, there is a movie character you can easily emulate for dress-up day.

Jack Sparrow

The swashbuckling rogue Jack Sparrow, from the popular movie franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean," is a sure-fire dress-up day hit. Be sure to apply plenty of black eyeliner. A headscarf will keep your black wig in place. Braid a few strands and hold them together with pieces of tacky jewellery. With a white, puff-sleeved dress shirt under a vintage black vest and a sword on your hip, you'll have an instantly recognisable costume of one of pop culture's best-loved characters.

Scott Pilgrim

For those of you that don't feel too daring or are on a limited budget, a simple black T-shirt with the word "Zero" emblazoned across the front in bold, silver letters, accompanied by blue jeans can pull off the Scott Pilgrim look quite accurately. Be sure to add a matching black and silver wristband and take a blow dryer to your hair to lend it some poof. If your dress-up day has a couples theme, Ramona Flowers, Scott's girlfriend, can complement this costume nicely, provided your significant other is willing to wear a bright blue wig, red lipstick, fluorescent leggings and knee-high black boots.

Marilyn Monroe

A timeless favourite for any dress-up day is Marilyn Monroe. The costume itself can be taken from any of her roles, one of which consisted of a colourful evening gown, matching elbow-length gloves, and plenty of jewellery. Coupled with the platinum-blonde colour, Marilyn's hairstyle was one of her trademarks, and she wore it in a variety of shoulder-length styles throughout her career, from short and curly to long and windblown. Each one will take plenty of time, and plenty of curlers, to perfect.


A quick, easy costume that's also easily recognisable is Hermione's school uniform from the popular "Harry Potter" movie franchise. A simple white dress shirt, with a red-and-orange-striped tie serves as the basis for this costume. Cover it with a grey cardigan and black cape, much like a graduation gown, and you're almost there. A couple of accessories such as a hardcover book posing as your spell book and a magic wand are all it takes to complete this dress-up day costume.

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About the Author

Michael Faye garnered his first writing credit in the upcoming television documentary series, "Greatest Tank Battles." He is entering his fourth year of full-time television research, having worked on several documentary series for History Television, Discovery International, and a full-length feature examining independent music in the current digital music landscape. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto's professional writing and communications program.