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 that can help you come up with a fun party theme is encouraging your guests to choose a costume that starts with a specific letter of the alphabet.
To go along with this idea, you could:
- Allow guests to dress up in a costume related to their initials (or just their first names if you want to keep it simple).
- 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 because if your guests are confused, they may not attempt to dress up. Even worse, they might skip your party altogether.
This article will give you some ideas for costumes that start with the letter "C," some based off of famous characters or people.
If you have any other ideas, please put them in the comments box so you can help other people too.
Have a fantastic party!
Caesar — There were many Caesars in Roman history but Julius Caesar is probably the best known in modern times. Famed for his association with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and for his conquest of Britain, he was murdered by an assassin on behalf of those who thought he was becoming too powerful. A range of togas and Caesar-style costumes are available to hire or purchase.
Cabaret Dancer — Liza Minnelli starred in the film of the same name but nowadays with the new interest in burlesque, the costume choice for this theme is wider. You should be able to put this costume together with a few items. For the Minnelli or Sally Bowles look you will need a tailcoat or leotard, a top hat, a cane, and fishnet stockings. Other outfits might involve a basque (or corset) and a tutu. Ostrich feathers can be purchased for a fan, and the makeup should be strong and theatrical.
Caesar's Wife — Calpurnia married Julius Caesar in 59 BC. You can use a toga costume to get her look. Julius and Calpurnia would also make a good couple costume.
Calamity Jane — She was a hero of the wild west. In a film of the same name, Doris Day played Calamity Jane and wore a two-piece buckskin outfit with a matching hat and rifle.
Calypso Girl — This is a colourful carnival costume that has a top and skirt with many multi-coloured frills.
Camel — As you can stand up in the humps, we do find that camels are far more comfortable than a two-man horse or cow! Camel costumes are usually only found to hire.
Can-Can — Interest in this style of costume has intensified since the release of the film Moulin Rouge. Dresses tend to be plain but secretly stacked with lovely multi-coloured layers underneath that are revealed only when the dress is lifted.
Cardinal — This is a religious costume that usually involves a long red robe and cap and is available to hire or purchase. For an original look, mix the costume with elements of one of the Seven Deadly Sins, like money for avarice, a fat stomach for gluttony, or condoms for lust, and go as a cardinal sin.
Various Kinds of Captain Costumes for Halloween
Captain America — Captain America is an American comic strip hero created in 1941 and most recently seen in Avengers Assemble. A licensed version of the costume is available to purchase.
Captain Hook — Captain Hook is the arch rival of Peter Pan from the JM Barrie book Peter Pan. You can either go for the Disney look, or Dustin Hoffman's dandified version from the movie Hook.
Captain Jack Sparrow — Another Disney success, Jack is the hero of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Aside from an official costume, you can purchase many pirate accessories to get the look for this character.
Captain James Cook — Captain Cook is a famous explorer and known as the father of modern Australia. Wear a three-piece Georgian suit with a jacket, a waistcoat, pantaloons, a tri-corn hat, and buckled shoes.
Captain James T. Kirk — Captain Kirk is the commander of the US Enterprise in the Star Trek series, first seen in 1967. Star Trek tops are available to hire or for purchase.
Captain Pugwash — Captain Pugwash has been a popular children's pirate since the 1950s.
Captain Scarlet — Captain Scarlet is Gerry Anderson's indestructible hero from the television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Wear a red vest with a black long-sleeved shirt and a red cap with a clear visor.
Captain in the Royal Air Force — Royal Air Force uniforms are available to hire from fancy dress shops or for purchase from an army surplus store.
Captain in the Army — Army uniforms are available to hire from fancy dress shops or for purchase from an army surplus store.
Captain of a Ship — Wear a white naval uniform which you can either hire or purchase.
Using cartoon characters as an umbrella term might be a bit of a stretch but it does give a good range of costumes to choose from.
Female cartoon characters include:
- Minnie Mouse
- Daphne (Scooby Doo)
- Wilma (Scooby doo)
- Wilma Flintstone
- Betty Rubble
- Betty Boop
- Jessica Rabbit
- Snow White
- Tinker Bell
Male cartoon characters include:
- Scooby Doo
- Fred (Scooby Doo)
- Shaggy (Scooby Doo)
- Fred Flintstone
- Barney Rubble
- Pink Panther
- Dangermouse (& Penfold)
- Mr Incredible
- Captain Hook
- Peter Pan
Carnival Character — Carnival is approached differently around the world. One of the most famous ones is in Rio de Janeiro where carnival goers dress in very elaborate (and often skimpy) costumes. In Venice, revelers wear elaborate masks and costumes that are traditionally Georgian or 17th century-style though nowadays many kinds of costumes are common.
Caribbean Man — You can interpret this as either a rasta, dreadlock, Jamaican-style costume or carnival-style attire.
Carmen Miranda — This famous Brazilian actress of the 1940s was most well-known for her fruit bowl headwear.
Carol Singer — This is an easy costume that can be put together using your own warm winter clothing, including gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Add a Christmas song sheet and voila! Elaborate Victorian costumes are also available to hire.
Carrie — Leading female character in a Stephen King novel of the same name, this is a popular Halloween costume if you don't mind the bloodied look. Dress up like you're going to prom, and then cover yourself in fake blood.
Carrie Bradshaw — One of the four major characters in the popular television series Sex in the City and subsequent films. Played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie is a true fashion fan that favors trademark touches like large flower pins and name jewellery over retro and vintage styling.
Casanova — Legendary lover of the 18th century, Casanova's real name was Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt, which luckily for everyone was shortened to plain ol' Casanova! Wear a Georgian-style costume for this dreamy character.
Cat — There are a lot of different ways to be a cat. You could go as:
- Puss in Boots - Wear a Georgian costume, a cat nose and whiskers, a musketeer hat, and overboots
- Cat in the Hat - Wear a tall red and white hat and dapper bow-tie
- Sylvester - Costumes are available to hire
- Tom (from Tom & Jerry) - Costumes are available to hire
- Sexy cat - Wear a black leotard, cattail, cat ears, cat whiskers, and fishnet stockings to create this sexy look
- Cat-astrophe - If your improvised cat costume isn't all it could be, or your cat-face makeup doesn't quite work, there's always this idea!
Caspar — To portray this friendly ghost, you can throw on a white sheet. Costumes are also available to hire or purchase.
Castaway — Robinson Crusoe and Ben Gunn are two good examples of a castaway. Abandoned by shipmates or attacked by pirates, a castaway style costume would normally consist of a ratty shirt and trousers or shorts with a beachcomber-style hat. Just add some stubble and a straggly wig to complete the outfit.
Cat Ballou — Cat Ballou was played by Jane Fonda in a western film. Wear a cowgirl costume to get her wild west look.
Cat Burglar — Wear a black and white striped top and a black eyemask but add cat whiskers, ears, a tail, and a sack with 'SWAG' written on the side. This costume is a people pleaser and a great play on words.
Caterpillar — This is a great choice for an ugly bug ball or garden party. However, it's difficult to find off-the-peg caterpillar outfits for adults. Children have better luck since there are costumes available based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a popular children's book.
The Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine Howard — Catherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and was beheaded. Wear a Tudor costume and go as bloody (or not) as you dare.
Catherine of Aragon — Catherine of Aragon was the first wife of Henry VIII, who he eventually divorced. Wear a Tudor costume.
Catherine Parr — Catherine Parr was the sixth wife of Henry VIII and actually outlived him but died in childbirth after remarrying. Wear a Tudor costume.
For a fun twist, put on a fake head as well as a bloody neck stump and go as all three!
Catwoman Through the Decades
Catwoman Version One — This original Catwoman was the comic book foe of Batman in the 1960s. Her costume was based on a standard black jumpsuit with a black eye mask and cat ears on a headband.
Catwoman Version Two — In the 1992 film, Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer wears a PVC costume with white stitch marks and a matching half-face mask. The look echoes a dominatrix with strong makeup behind the mask. Heeled pixie boots, gloves, and a long whip (a substitute for her tail) complete the ensemble.
Catwoman Version Three — Halle Berry took Catwoman to another level with an urban street fighter and bondage look. This Catwoman is not associated with the Batman franchise series.
Catwoman Version Four — For the 2012 Batman film Dark Night Rising, Ann Hathaway took on the role of Catwoman in a back-to-basics leather catsuit as a cat burglar. She also had a novel set of goggles-cum-ears as part of her ensemble.
Caveman — Many caveman costumes are available to purchase and tend to be very reasonably priced. You could also try something along the lines of The Flintstones costumes.
Cavewoman — Costumes are available to purchase and tend to be on the sexy side. A more primitive style can be achieved by channelling Daryl Hannah's warpainted look in Clan of the Cavebear or to go totally over the top, research the film, The Search for Fire!
Cavalier — Cavaliers is the term used for those who supported Charles I in the Civil War, which Charles ended up losing. The outfit is best described as a dandified musketeer and may be a costume that you will need to hire rather than buy off-the-peg as they tend to consist of rather ornate jackets, frilled shirts, pantaloons, overboots, and a large hat as well as a sword. A ringlet wig crowns the outfit (figuratively speaking).
Cavalryman — The style will change depending on the era and country. You could use most military-style costumes to suit this costume choice and it might be a good idea to bring along a toy horse.
Centurion — To become this Roman warrior, use a standard Roman soldier costume and wear a short sword for close combat fighting.
Ceres — Ceres is the Roman goddess of the earth and crops and also a character in Morris dancing. You can either go for a goddess-style toga (normally white), and hold seeds or flowers, or wear green and brown clothes with matching face and hair (use face paint and hairspray) and a headdress of ivy.
Chaplain — A chaplain looks after the spiritual side of prisoners, servicemen, and hospital patients. A vicar's costume would suffice.
Charleston — Also called flappers, this style of dress was very popular during the 1920s. To be authentic, the hem should finish at the knee. Traditionally, Charleston dresses would have fringing or beading to emphasise dancing. Popular with the bright young things of the day, the outfit allowed girls the chance to show off their daring cropped or bobbed hair.
Charles I — The first king of the Stuart period, he opposed Parliament and was beheaded following the Civil War. As noted previously, his followers in the Civil War were the Cavaliers.
Charles II — Following the Civil War and puritan Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, the monarchy was restored with Charles I's son. The Cavalier-style costume is ideal for this character, and you should add a cape if possible. He was famous for his relationship with Nell Gwyn, the actress and orange seller.
Charles Dickens — Charles Dickens is possibly the best-known British Victorian author. Wear any standard Victorian costume featuring a tailcoat.
Charlie Chaplin — Charlie Chaplin was a comedy film star who was very popular during the silent era of film history. He was most commonly known for his black suit, tie, bowler hat, cane, and thick black eyebrows along with a small moustache.
Charlie's Angels — Charlie's Angels are heroines of the cult television series by the same name from the 1970s and '80s, which has been adapted into recent films. The Angels would wear tight fitting catsuits with '70s style haircuts, the most famous being Farah Fawcett's volumised wave style. In addition, the trio dressed in all kinds of undercover outfits.
Cheerleader — Though this is an outfit with American origins, it has become increasingly popular in the UK and is easily put together using a leotard or top, a short-tiered skirt, and pom poms. Complete costumes are available to hire or purchase.
Chauffeur — A chauffeur is a uniformed car driver, usually with a peaked cap. The most famous one is probably Parker, the chauffeur, servant, and accomplice of English agent Lady Penelope from the Thunderbirds television series.
Chef - You can easily find chef costumes available to purchase, or buy a hat on its own for a very simple costume. Bloody chef costumes are a big hit at Halloween.
Cher — This pop star had many hits with her partner Sonny Bono in the 1960s. Cher had a distinctive look with straight dark hair, both with a fringe and without, and a long afgan coat. More recently, Cher is known to wear very sexy clothes and change her hairstyle frequently.
Chewbacca — Chewbacca is a beloved wookie and Han Solo's co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon from the original Star Wars films. Costumes are available to hire and purchase.
Chick — Go as a baby chicken and be one of the cutest chicks at the party!
Chile Pepper — This spicy foam costume is available to purchase.
Champagne Bottle — This celebratory foam costume is available to purchase.
Chimney Sweep — This popular character is associated with the Victorian era and Mary Poppins as well as being good luck for newlyweds. The outfit is comprised of black trousers, a waistcoat, a shirt, and a neckerchief. The formal lucky sweep at a wedding will also wear a top hat and tailcoat. All types should carry a sweep brush. Though not easy to find, these can be improvised.
Chimp — Monkey face bops are available to purchase but you would normally have to hire this costume.
Christmas Angel — Angel costumes can be hired or purchased although you can also make your own costume by using a white dress and buying some angel wings and a halo.
Chippendale Stripper — This is a simple costume that involves a variety of purchased items as well as things that you likely already own. Wear your own trousers and add a Chippendale set that includes cuffs and a bow tie. You can also purchase a fake chest if you haven't spent enough hours in the gym!
Christmas Pudding — This costume is available to purchase as well as hire.
Christmas Tree — This costume is available to purchase as well as hire.
Christopher Columbus — Wear a Tudor or Elizabethan costume with a doublet and hose to become this explorer of the New World.
Chubby Brown — Chubby Brown is an English stand-up comedian known for his loud checkered suits and flying helmet.
Cleopatra — Cleopatra became the queen of Egypt in the year 51 B.C. This costume is fun because you can wear a plain gown and then spice it up with elaborate jewellery like necklaces and headpieces. Wear a bobbed black wig and dark elaborate makeup. Check out Elizabeth Taylor's interpretation from 1963 for a reference.
Cigarette — This fun, foam costume is available to purchase
Cilla Black — Cilla Black was a 1960s British singer and TV personality. Get her look with a '60s mod costume and a beehive wig.
Cinderella — You have two choices with this character. Do you dress up in rags, or do you dress up in riches? You can use a wench costume that is tatty looking for doing menial labour, or an ornate ballgown ready for the palace ball where she meets her Prince Charming.
Circus Performer — Choose from the following:
- Acrobat - Wear a leotard and fishnet stockings
- Clown - Many costume are available to hire or purchase, or you can make your own using a nose, wig, makeup, and an oversized tie
- Ringmaster - Wear a tailcoat and a top hat and carry a whip
- Strongman - Use a caveman outfit
- Knife Thrower - Wear an Indian outfit
Clint Eastwood — This Hollywood actor was first seen in Rawhide and is famous for his portrayal of many western characters. You can use a standard cowboy costume or a Mexican-style poncho with a cowboy hat (such as a Stetson) if you prefer.
Chicken — Chicken costumes are mainly available to hire. You can also purchase masks and face bops to help create your look.
Clown — Many varieties of clown costume are available on the market but it is also a costume that can be put together quite easily if you have some colourful clothing. Accessories that are available to purchase include: wigs, noses, ties, braces, shoes, and makeup. Be aware that there are some people who have a genuine phobia of clowns, so don't go too over-the-top.
Clyde Barrow — Clyde is one half of the notorious 1930s Bonnie and Clyde bank-robbing team. The film from 1967 starred Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
Colonial Lady — This costume is open to interpretation as it could be anything from a genteel lady during the last days of the Raj in India to an early American pioneer.
Commando — To be a commando, use an all black or camouflage military uniform and carry weapons.
Confederate Soldier — A confederate soldier of the US during the American Civil War fought for the South. Confederate costumes should be in grey as the North fought in blue.
Convict — The traditional cartoon convict depicts a black and white striped top and trousers with a matching hat. More modern designs comprise of an orange jumpsuit. Add a ball and chain for comedy value.
Costume Designer — Use your imagination for this one. Any wild mixture of clothing and hairstyle will do!
Count Dracula — Count Dracula is still a popular costume after all these years. Complete costumes are available to purchase, but it is very easy to put your own costume together with the many accessories that are available to buy.
Comic Book Characters that Start with "C"
Rather like the cartoons earlier, going as a comic book character might seem like cheating. But if you do the costume well, no one will complain. There are plenty of costumes on the market to choose from.
Some examples of male comic strip costumes:
- Banana man
- Mr. Incredible
- The Hulk
- Iron Man
Some examples of female comic book costumes:
- Wonder Woman
- Super Girl
- Mrs Incredible
- Poison Ivy
- Cat Woman
Court Jester — Traditional jester costumes are made up of a multi-coloured jacket, pantaloons or tights, and a three-pointed hat that usually comes with bells.
Condom Costume — Yes, it's true! You can purchase a foam condom costume.
Cop — There are plenty of variations on this costume idea. Some of those include: an American cop costume such as the one worn by a member of the YMCA, Keystone Kops, a sexy policewoman, or a standard UK police officer. Accessories are widely available for purchase.
Cossack — A Cossack is a Russian Slovak warrior and peasant horseman. The costume consists of a traditional red jacket, trousers, and a fur hat and can be found in both male and female versions.
Country and Western Singer — You can purchase a cowgirl outfit or simply accessorise your own clothing to create a look based off of country stars like Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, or Tammy Wynette. Men should wear blue jeans, a western shirt with snap buttons, and a cowboy hat (preferably black).
Cow — Though you'll have to hire a high quality cow costume, you can also buy cheap one-man cow costumes, or get a cow face bop for an easy costume.
Cowboy — This is one of the most popular fancy dress costumes of all time. Though there are costumes available to purchase, you can easily make up your own. Some of the most common accessories include: spurs, hats, cowboy ties, fake gun or rifles, sheriff badges, ponchos, and bandannas.
Cowgirl — These costumes are similar to a cowboy's costume, but feature more bling and wilder colors. Feel free to glam it up with glittery makeup and big hair.
Crab — One of the world's most well-known crustaceans and also the symbol of the astrological sign Cancer, crab costumes are usually available as foam-based outfits. (Thanks Cassandra W.)
Cricketer — The traditional look is comprised of a white shirt and flannel trousers. To complete it, throw on some pads, a bat, and a jumper.
Criminologist, The — The Criminologist is the narrator from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wear a suit jacket, a shirt and tie, some fishnet stockings, and suspenders on your legs. Go on I dare you!
Crocodile — The crocodile is the nemesis of Captain Hook from Peter Pan. Crocodile costumes are available to hire.
Crocodile Dundee — To get this look, you will need a battered buckskin jacket, jeans, and a bush hat. A large toy knife and a blow-up crocodile will complete the look.
Cruella De Vil — Cruella De Vil is the famous villainess with a fondness for little spotty dogs! The character is originally from the 1950s book 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith but she has since starred in a few films. You can find versions of the costume that all include some rendition of black and white wigs, cigarette holders, and gloves.
Credit Card — A fun foam credit card costume is available to purchase.
Crusader — Any knight costume will be suitable for this character and many are available to purchase.
I hope you've been inspired for your party theme! If you have other ideas that I have missed please do not hesitate to add them in the comment box below.
I hope you have a great party! Let me know how it goes.
Please give us some feedback...
We'd love to know what you think, or if you have any costume ideas that may help others...
hhhh on May 30, 2016:
vibesites from United States on October 17, 2013:
What an exhaustive hub about costume ideas! You really took time and research for this -- and it's just the letter "C" at that. Wonderful work.
Party Girl (author) on June 06, 2012:
Thanks Reagu, I think we all do!
reagu from Los Angeles on May 28, 2012:
I love the fake abs of the Chipendale dancer costume.
Cassandra Walsh on May 20, 2012:
You missed CRAB!!!
kk on March 19, 2012:
what about cornflake? it woul be hard, but it beggins with C. There is also car + caravan. I thought that there is also Cod (fish), Caterpillar + Crow!
Amazing list though, it took me hours just 2 think of 5!!!
Ash on March 18, 2012:
thank you! this website was very useful!! :) well done.
clair on March 04, 2012:
viktoriya on March 01, 2012:
hellpfull , but i wish i had one of those costumes wich i don't have any kind of costume ... But awesome ideas
Cassandra on February 11, 2012:
Castiel from Supernatural. Just wear a trench coat over a shirt and pants, with your tie loosely undone. Wings help for when you tell people you're an angel.
Shelly on January 23, 2012:
ME on November 27, 2011:
Christmas angel bingo!!
jasmin on November 19, 2011:
how about charlies angles :)
hannah on November 11, 2011:
Emily on July 12, 2011:
Should definitely add Captain Planet!
Feecy on April 14, 2011:
Annie on March 15, 2011:
Cheshire Cat is one of the good costumes I had in mind for my best friend's 21st party. Her name also begins with C. You should add Carrot.
Sitcy fan on January 25, 2011:
You could also ads carrie bradshaw character from sex in the city
Ellie on December 06, 2010:
Thank you for the ideas!
However I think I will settle for either cupcake or crayon :)
bobby joe on September 24, 2010:
you should have a conquistador costume
Chimney Sweep Sheffield on September 21, 2010:
I usually go to fancy dress parties as a chimney sweep as I actually am one. I have a victorian chimney sweep costume I wear which always goes down really well. I would therefore recommend that to anyone struggling for ideas.
Sysy on July 30, 2010:
This is the best list on the net! Thank you SO much xx
sofiababy on July 27, 2010:
omg this was so helpful! thanks so much :)
Johnston on June 18, 2010:
Awesome Ideas that will help alot of people
Shawtyy Gheee on April 30, 2010:
Niceee costumes :L
JJ Kingsford on April 24, 2010:
thanks so much i so needed these for my party
Niamh Stafford on April 12, 2010:
These are all well good ideas, i couldn't think of anything.
But i didn't see any food, like dressing up as a carrot or something ??
Hazel on March 04, 2010:
Great list, thanks, it's just going to be difficult to choose one outfit!
Rhys on February 17, 2010:
What a great hub. Full of ideas now need to choose just one outfit, this morning I had no ideas!
Cyrese on February 03, 2010:
This is perfect! We have a party on the weekend...and were struggling with different and original ideas!! This is awesome!!
Betty Reid from Texas on November 25, 2009:
Wow, that's a lot of ideas!
Sez on October 28, 2009:
This hub is brilliant.. there are some origina ideas for the more adventurous (credit card made me chuckle when I pictured it) and more mainstream and easy to make ones. Very good!!! :P
Stace on October 26, 2009:
Wow what a list.... I was struggling for ideas and now as lexicon says... I have so many to pick from!
Felicity Spagnagle on October 05, 2009:
H@y guyz! Gr8 site! U R 2 cool wiv ur cos2ume ideaz!
lexicon on August 02, 2009:
thanks a heap this site helped me out like you would not believe... Now my only problem is picking ONE of your fabulous ideas :)
John Austwick from Bolton on August 12, 2008:
Another grat page Adele, I would love to go as a Chippendale but the Chewbacca would suit my shape much better :)John
Party Girl (author) on July 31, 2008:
Yes Kyle, I think that you could take the easy option if you ever went to a 'C' party! thanks for looking at the hub.
Kyle Bruening from Florida on July 30, 2008:
Read this hub to learn what a neat way for a costume party. I especially like the one for the ships captain. But I am a little partial on that one.
Kyle (the Captain)
Party Girl (author) on July 30, 2008:
Thanks Sisterkate, - I will add 'costume designer on now!'. We've also just remembered 'Cigarette', 'Caped Crusader' & 'Cardinal', so I think I will be constantly adding more costumes to this hub!Cilla Black is not seen as often as she was, but does still pop up from time to time on UK TV.
sisterkate from Chicago, IL on July 30, 2008:
What a great hub! I loved all those captains and the list of Charleses and Charlies but if I were doing a costume, I would go as Cher.
I suppose you could add "costume designer" to the list and dress up as just about everything.
And I hadn't heard of Cilla Black in ages! She isn't on TV in the US.