Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England, since 1998. I'm happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.
In costume party season, the pressure is on to host a fun, unique party. One idea for a fun party theme is encouraging your guests to choose a costume that starts with a specific letter of the alphabet. There are a few ways you can approach it.
Party Ideas Inspired by Letters of the Alphabet
- Allow guests to dress up in a costume related to their initials (or just their first name if you want to narrow their choices).
- Ask guests to dress up in costumes related to your initials.
- Choose one or two letters to inspire their costumes. These could be randomly or deliberately chosen.
When you first send out invitations, it's possible that your guests will be confused about what you're asking them to do. To avoid confusion, it's a good idea to explain the idea thoroughly and simply since if your guests are confused, they may not dress up. Even worse, they might not attend your party.
This article will give you some ideas for costumes that start with the letter "P," some based off of famous characters or people. All you need to do is put on the kettle and go through the list!
If you have any other ideas, please put them in the comments box so you can help other people too. Have a fantastic party!
Costumes Beginning With "P"
Panda Bear: The panda bear is an endangered species native to central and southwestern China. It is easily recognised by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. You can find costumes in various styles.
Paddington Bear: Paddington Bear is a popular children's book character created by Michael Bond. Dressed in a blue duffle coat, Wellington boots, a red floppy hat, and carrying a suitcase, he was found at Paddington station (hence the name.) Now he has a movie of his own!
Painted Lady: A Painted Lady is technically the name of a butterfly but it is also the term for a brazen female, possibly derived from the biblical queen Jezebel who was known for her heavy makeup and seducing powers. Your costume could be inspired by either one of these origins, but it will certainly be a way to show off your creativity!
Palm Tree: Use a beige tube for the trunk and green crepe for the leaves, plus coconuts. You might also be able to have a toy monkey in the branches!
Pantaloon: A pantaloon is a character found in sixteenth century Italian and Venetian commedia dell'arte drama. At the heart, a pantaloon is basically a foolish clown who has given his name both to a loon (a crazy person), and a style of baggy trousers.
Pepper Shaker: Pepper shaker costumes are available for purchase. Salt and pepper makes a great couple costume!
Paris: Paris can take a variety of interpretations. It could be the city or the Paris who caused the Trojan war on account of Helen of Troy. You could also go as Paris Hilton, the well-known socialite. Use a skimpy dress, a long blonde wig, and a small dog in a handbag to create that look.
Parliamentarian: A parliamentarian is a military character from the English Civil War (early Stuart period, between the reign of the two Charles.) His dress is similar to that of a cavalier but is generally in more sombre colours with a plain collar and cuffs. The hair should be worn short with a sugarloaf hat.
Parrot: A parrot can be a standalone costume or teamed up with a pirate companion. For extra fun, mix the two to create 'Parrots of the Caribbean!'
Parson: A parson is similar to a vicar and is often shown with a round brimmed hat and pince-nez glasses.
Patsy: Patsy is a character from the 1990s British TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous and she is played by Joanna Lumley. To create the look, you must have a beehive hairstyle and accessories indicating love of booze, fags, and champagne.
Paul Revere: Revere is an American patriot who rode through the night to warn New Englanders of the movement of the English Troops. Recreate Revere's look with an American colonial outfit.
Pavarotti: Pavarotti is an Italian opera singer and one of The Three Tenors. He was usually seen in black evening wear and occasionally wore a hat. You'll have to sing a lot throughout the evening to pull this one off.
Peacock: This flamboyant and colourful bird is now commonly found on country estates, making this a perfect costume for a garden party! Costumes can be purchased or made.
Peasant: Depending on the historical era, you can get this look with a skirt and blouse (sometimes with a mop cap and shawl) for females, and trousers or breeches and shirts for males.
Pantomime is a form of theatrical entertainment that originated in Britain and features exaggerated characters and productions that usually take place around the holidays. Here is an abbreviated list of characters to inspire your costume:
- Dame: Traditionally a male wears this exaggerated parody of a female, though it is slightly less subtle than drag. Females are also welcome to have a go!
- Horse: One can find single- and double-person costumes but they may be less complex than the professional panto-horses seen on stage which can flutter their eyelids, move their mouths, etc.
- Cow: Single- and double-person costumes are available. As with the horse, less complex models should be easy to find and very fun to use.
- Cat: (a la Dick Whittington or Puss-in-Boots). Use a black catsuit and mask or cat face makeup. Puss may also have a jacket, hat, and boots.
- Ugly Sisters: These characters are normally portrayed by men as dame-style parodies. Increasingly, however, girls are joining in the fun and going over-the-top with their outfits too.
- Principal Boy: This mainstay is created by a girl playing a boy in an outfit which does little to disguise her gender e.g. short tunic, fishnet tights, boots, etc.
- Heroine: Depending on which panto character you're going as, usually the heroine is a princess of some kind.
- Witches: These are often the stereotypical nasty type, although good witches can be found.
- Wizards: as above.
- Fairies and Fairy Godmothers: These characters are the saviours of many a pantomime story! Whilst there are plenty of short-style flirty fairies on the market, the traditional fairy godmother tends to have a longer dress. For a racier crossover, try a godmistress or even darker, a gothmistress.
Penguin: An inhabitant of the South Pole and one of the easier bird costumes, penguins are often depicted wearing a bobble hat and scarf.
Penguin (The): The Penguin, also known as Oswald Cobblepot, is a character from the Batman cartoons, TV series, and 1992 movie, Batman Returns. He is a squat, rotund character in a tail suit and top hat who has a penchant for novelty umbrellas.
Peasblossom: Peasblossom is a supernatural fairy and part of Titania's entourage from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Pegasus: Pegasus is a winged horse from Greek myths and legends.
Penelope Pitstop: Penelope Pitstop is a character from the TV cartoon series Wacky Races. She drove the number five pink compact car, spoke with a US southern accent, and wore a pink driving suit, a scarf, and goggles.
Pennywise: Pennywise is the evil clown and antihero of the Stephen King book and movie IT. You can find both male and female versions of the costume.
Peppa Pig: Peppa Pig is a popular female cartoon character from children's TV in Britain. Along with her brother George, she is notorious for jumping in puddles in her wellies.
Perry, Katy: Katy Perry is a popular American pop singer of recent times, and you can easily find costumes based on her hit song, 'California Gurls.' Other incarnations have included a safari or jungle outfit for 'Roar' and variations on Cleopatra for 'Dark Horse'.
Peter Pan: Peter Pan, also known as 'the boy who never grew up,' is a character from a book and movie of the same name. His outfit consists of a green or olive point-edged tunic, matching pixie-style hat, shorts or tights, a hessian belt, and a rubber knife along with green pixie overboots or shoes.
Phantom of the Opera: The Phantom of the Opera is the anti-hero of the Paris opera-house underworld. His look includes an opera cape, a tailed evening suit, a top hat, gloves, and a half-face mask.
Pharaoh: Kings of ancient Egypt, nowadays the best-known pharaoh is probably the boy-king Tutankhamen. Aside from his famous death-mask, his costume consists of lightweight blue, white, and gold robes, often with an elaborate headdress.
Pimp Suit: The pimp suit is a popular look for 1970s-themed parties and consists of an unusually coloured suit (oftentimes purple) made out of velvet or a similar material and trimmed with an animal fur collar, plus a matching wide-brimmed hat. A frilly shirt, gold bling, and cane complete the look.
Pink Lady: A Pink Lady is a female gang member from the film Grease. Her costume consists of a jacket emblazoned with 'Pink Ladies,' worn over black pedal pushers or a skirt with a white or coloured top. You can also accessorize it with a scarf and 1950s-style sunglasses.
Pink Panther: This lanky cartoon character originally appeared in the Pink Panther film credits and ended up getting his own cartoon series. You can purchase or make an outfit.
Pinocchio: Pinocchio is a wooden puppet who became a real boy in the traditional fairy tale, which was made into a hit Disney movie. Pinnochio's outfit consists of shoes, socks, yellow shorts, a red shirt, a hat, a blue floppy bow tie, and a long nose.
Pip: Pip is a character from the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. You can create his look with any Victorian outfit for a young boy.
Pied Piper: This character is the oddly garbed musician of 13th century Germany, subject of a well-known folk story and epic poem, in which he steals the children of Hamelin as punishment for not being paid for ridding the town of rats.
Pierrot: Pierrot is a white-faced character in a clown bodysuit which needs to be either black, white, or half-and-half. You can create the look with a white face, red or black lips, black accentuated eyebrows, and the trademark teardrop.
Pig: Pigs are prominent characters in a number of different nursery rhymes, stories, and mythologies. You could dress up as one of the Chinese Zodiac signs, one of the three little pigs from the nursery tale, or any one of countless variations. See also Peppa Pig.
Pilot: Unless you go for the Biggles flying ace look, the most recognizable costume would be a RAF pilot costume. If you choose the flying ace look, wear goggles, a flying helmet, and a leather jacket.
Psycho: It's Halloween! Get a little wild and let out your inner psycho. The photo above is just one imagining of how you could pull off this concept.
Pixie: A pixie is a fairy or a sprite. You could use many different fairy costumes in a range of light colours.
Plastic Toy: You can find a range of toy-style costumes, although dolls such as Barbie and Ken will be most readily available and easily recognized. There are also outfits based on the green marine soldiers from the Toy Story movies.
Playing Card Painters: These are characters with playing card bodies from Alice in Wonderland that are carry pots of red paint. You can use cardboard to make the cards. Black shoes, gloves, and balaclavas with face-paint markings complete the costume.
Playing Cards: You could either go as a numbered card or dress up as one of the face-cards.
Pop Art Outfits: Recently, costumes inspired by the style of Roy Lichtenstein have hit the market, featuring graphic illustration formats as seen in comic books and the like with bright colours, bold pictures, and words on the costume fabric. These outfits may require some extra preparation time to get the quirky stylised makeup just right since it's based on the dots and lines of graphic illustration. A bright wig (perhaps even in rubber) is also recommended to get the best effect.
Pocahontas: Pocahontas is a Native American woman whose love story with British explorer Captain John Smith was popularised by Disney. Get her look with an Indian squaw costume, a feather headdress, and a long black wig.
Poseidon: Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea. Like his brother, Zeus, he is depicted wearing classic Greek robes and carrying a trident.
Poison Ivy: Originally a juvenile delinquent in the Batman comics, more recently, Poison Ivy evolved into a bio-ecologist hungry for revenge in the film Batman and Robin. You can find a costume as part of the Gotham girls character costume range.
Polar Bear: Gigantic bear from the North Pole, this majestic mammal is also found advertising Coca-Cola and Birds Eye foods.
Policeman: There are myriad ways to use a policeman-inspired costume. One version is a 'jolly wobbly' (laughing policeman), a Gilbert and Sullivan constable, or more modern versions like representatives of the LAPD or NYPD.
Poodle: Poodles are dogs with distinctive haircuts that are often used as a fashion accessory. You can make a novelty costume with a pink and white lyrca bodysuit plus a fur-fabric collar, cuffs, a tail, and makeup. Use makeup to create black eyes, a black or pink nose, a lip-split muzzle, and a black extended mouth.
Pop or Rock Idol: The success of any pop or rock group depends on their fan base, part of which is marketing a well-known image. Most artists have distinctive looks. For example, Dusty Springfield has a characteristic beehive hairdo and panda eye makeup. Rod Stewart's style is tight leopard-print trousers and a mullet hairstyle. This is also a good group costume idea, with costumes based off of bands like Kiss or the Village People.
Pop Star: To pull off being a pop star, you should be instantly recognisable either through mannerisms, props, or costume style. There are many cardboard masks that you can use to help, though it might prove difficult to eat and drink in them.
Popeye: Popeye is the most famous sailor of them all. Become the big-armed hero with a white American sailor uniform, bulging biceps with anchor tattoos, and of course, a can of spinach!
Postman Pat: Postman Pat is a children's TV programme character who forms a dynamic duo of mail delivery along with Jess the cat in the village of Greendale. They now have their own feature-length movie. Wear a postal uniform!
Potato Head (Mr & Mrs) :Much-loved toys, these characters are amongst the stars of the Toy Story movies. Mr Potato Head costumes have been available for a few years while recently a Mrs Potato Head has also come onto the market.
There are plenty of different pirate costumes and characters to choose from. Some specific ones include:
- Captain Jack Sparrow
- Captain Morgan
- Captain Kidd
- Black Jake (arch-enemy of Captain Pugwash)
Or, for a more off-beat DIY approach, try just a shirt or blouse and cut-down jeans and make up your own pirate name!
Prince: There are princes found in several English pantomimes like Prince Charming from Cinderella. You could also play this in a realistic manner as a member of the royal family.
Prince: Prince is a popstar who got big in the 1980s. Get his look with a purple velvet suit or long coat, a black crop-top, and matching jeans with conchos.
Prince Caspian: Prince Caspian is a character from The Chronicles of Narnia. His outfit consists of a jerkin, cross-gartered trousers, boots, a patterned cloak, and a sword.
Prince Charming: Prince Charming is a well-known character from Cinderella. Be Charming with an ornate jacket, tights, and boots. Complete the look with a silver or glass slipper.
Prince Valiant: This prince is known for waking Sleeping Beauty after 100 years of sleep and wears a costume similar to Prince Charming sans silver slipper.
- Princess: An elaborate ball gown creates the perfect look for any princess
- Princess Jasmine: Character from the Disney version of the Aladdin story; wear an Arabian-themed princess costume
- Princess Leia: Character from the original Star Wars films known for her characteristic hairstyle. You could go with either the gold bikini look for something sexier, or a costume with white and brown robes
- Princess Fiona: Fiery red-headed character from Shrek. You could play her either before or after her transformation into an ogre
Aside from those already mentioned, Disney has several other princesses, including:
- Belle (from Beauty & the Beast)
- Snow White (from Snow White)
- Cinderella (from Cinderella)
- Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty)
- Ariel (from The Little Mermaid)
- Rapunzel (from Tangled)
- Merida (from Brave)
Principal Boy: The principal boy tradition of British pantomime has females dressing to play male roles in costumes which do little to disguise their femininity. The outfit is usually based on a short jacket or tunic worn with fishnet tights or leggings and may feature knee-high boots (e.g. Whittington and Aladdin).
Pris: Pris is one of the main characters from the film Bladerunner. Get her look with a fur coat over a grunge dress or a white catsuit with blue punk hair and raccoon-like eye makeup.
Professor Dumbledore: Professor Dumbledore is one of the principal characters from the Harry Potter books. He's known for dressing in wizarding robes and has flowing silver hair, a beard, and a moustache as well as half-moon glasses.
Prospero: Prospero is a magician character from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Pudsey Bear: Used regularly for the Children in Need charity, this outfit consists of a yellow fur jumpsuit with black circles on the front and attached hands. The mask has a detachable bandage around one eye. Technically, this character is under the copyright and control of the BBC but lookalikes can be found. He has a female but lesser-known counterpart called Blush.
Pumpkin: With an orange jumpsuit and hat, you can create the perfect Halloween costume by becoming this distinctive fall squash.
Puppy: You can become a puppy in several different ways. Mascot-style costumes are available to hire based on several different breeds. You could also get a mask and coordinate the color of your clothing.
Puppet: This costume can be created using a Doli or Jester outfit and a painted doll or clown face. If practical, the costume can be coupled with a puppet master or mistress who would control the puppet through a wood crosspiece and strings.
Puck: Character from A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is often portrayed as an imp or a little devil.
Pugsley Addams: Son of Gomez and Morticia Addams of The Addams Family, he is normally seen wearing a striped jumper and dark trousers.
Punch: Punch is a puppet from the seaside show Punch & Judy. He's not really a politically correct character since he does beat Judy, his wife, as part of a typical show.
Puss in Boots: Traditional story book and pantomime character, Puss was recently made more famous by the Shrek films and his own spin-off film. Whilst the panto Puss tends to be traditionally female, the Shrek version is a male. Use a fur suit and knee-high or thigh-length boots and a cat mask or makeup. You can also find official costumes for children.
Pussy Galore :Pussy Galore is a female character from the Bond film, Goldfinger. She is an assistant to the villain Auric Goldfinger, owns a 'Flying Circus' acrobatic team, and wears a jumpsuit in many of her scenes.
A range of outfits can be created with a punk theme. Build them with accessories including:
- Tartan clothing
- Leather trousers
- Studded dog collars
- Punk makeup—this can be heavy and non-realistic, using bold lines and bright colours around the features of the face with colours extending into the hair, which is gelled or spiked
Prophet: This is an easy costume to make yourself, but there are also many different styles to purchase. Biblical prophets often have long beards.
Priest: There are several different kinds of priest robes in different colours, like a Church of England vicar or parson which would be in black, or a Roman Catholic cardinal costume which would be in red. The priest costume will have people praying with you or asking you to take confession all night long!
Pregnant Nun: Thank you, Father! A classic and hilarious costume that will get everyone talking!
Share your thoughts, comments, and suggestions in the section below!
Emma Watson on June 21, 2020:
SO AMAZING! I found several ideas that would be perfect for me. Thank you so much, you saved my party!
Dixie normous on July 14, 2019:
It didn’t work
E on August 08, 2011:
Other costume ideas I have come across are:
Mr Potato Head
Emily on December 29, 2010:
This sight is just perfect