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.
Letter and Alphabet-Related Parties
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.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Allow guests to dress up in a costume related to their initials (or just their first names 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, be sure to explain the idea thoroughly—since if your guests are confused, they might not dress up. Even worse, they might skip your party altogether.
This article will give you some ideas for costumes that start with the letter "R," some based on 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!
Rabbi — A rabbi is a Jewish authority figure who can have a number of different looks. The most well-known is perhaps the Hasidic look that includes two long curls, a hat, and a beard. Aside from its obvious use at a professions-themed event, the costume could also possibly be useful for a heaven-and-hell party.
Ra — Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god and the supreme deity of Egypt. Many Egyptian gods and goddesses are pictured with animal heads and human bodies. Ra is typically depicted with the head of a falcon and his symbol is a sun disk. You could either wear a white loin-cloth or body covering with stylised Egyptian makeup, a headdress, and a staff, or go for an animal head look.
Rah-rah Skirt — A rah-rah skirt is a short tiered and frilled skirt which is a feature of many American cheerleader uniforms and a style of skirt that was especially popular in the 1980s. With reference to the previous entry, you could create a mash-up outfit of an Egyptian god-cum-cheerleader.
Rambo — This character was played by Sylvester Stallone in the film First Blood and its sequels. Wear a headband or bandana, a string vest, camouflage trousers, and holsters to signify weapons.
Race Goer — Horse racing spectator characters have been seen in films such as My Fair Lady and the James Bond film View to a Kill, but the concept is open to interpretation according to context. Lady spectators at the Kentucky Derby are especially known to wear large, elaborate hats.
Raggedy Ann — Raggedy Ann is a patchwork doll of American ancestry. Wear a white apron, a blue patterned dress, a red wool wig, and rag doll makeup.
Rainbow Warrior — Rainbow Warrior was the name of the Greenpeace-owned ship that was sunk in 1985. Dress colorfully and in an eco-conscious nautical theme!
Rally Driver — One fun take on this costume is dressing as Stig from the BBC's Top Gear program. Wear a full racing suit and a helmet. The anonymity is part of the fun!
Ranger — There are a number of rangers to choose from to portray this costume, from the Texas Rangers to the Lone Ranger to park rangers. You could even go as Smokey the Bear, the well-known mascot of the US Forest Service who urges park-goers to help prevent forest fires.
Rapper — Rap is a popular type of music that originated in the 1980s and '90s. There are a number of different styles and models to go off of, from the more old-school MC Hammer to something more recent, like Eminem.
Rat — Rats are potentially the most successful mammals on the planet (aside from humans), and one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. There is also a character called King Rat in the pantomime Dick Whittington. For old-school British TV fans, there is now an outfit for Roland Rat on the market. Aside from a standard rat costume, a novelty rat trap outfit is also available.
Rasputin — Rasputin is a well-known historical figure from the court of imperial Russia in the late 19th century. He was a spiritual advisor to the Romanov family and was most famous for surviving many attempted murders until he was finally killed in 1917. Wear a monk's habit (or long robe), long hair, and a beard.
Raven — There are many potential interpretations of a raven costume. There is a myth that the raven was originally a white bird that was blackened by the gods for its chattering and lies. There's also a legend that if the ravens at the Tower of London ever leave, the kingdom will fall. In Celtic folklore, Bodhbh, the goddess of war, took the form of a raven as a harbinger of death. More recently, the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman featured a character called Queen Ravena, a shape-shifting sorceress.
Red Admiral — The red admiral is a type of butterfly that has marking similar to a monarch. Wear butterfly wings and black clothing. Go bold with some face paint if you dare!
Red Cross Nurse — Wear a blue uniform, a white apron with a red cross on it, and a headdress. Please note that technically the Red Cross symbol is an internationally protected icon of neutrality and therefore should not be used on imitation medical wear.
Red Queen — The Red Queen is a character in Lewis Carroll's fantasy novella, Through the Looking-Glass. She is often confused with the Queen of Hearts but is a very different character. She is shaped like a red and black queen chess piece, hence her costume may use a series of large crinoline-style hoops on the outside of a red dress. In the 2010 Alice in Wonderland film, the Red Queen is a despotic ruler, played by Helena Bonham-Carter who wears a costume featuring numerous heart motifs.
Red Riding Hood — Little Red Riding Hood is a well-known goodie smuggler of Grimms’ fairy tale fame. The red-hooded cape is the essence of the costume, but variations such as Little Dead Riding Hood may be found around Halloween time.
Reggae Singer — Perhaps the most famous reggae singer is Bob Marley. To get his look, wear dreadlocks, a brightly coloured top, and jeans. Marijuana-themed clothing or accessories are also a nice touch.
Rene — Rene is the cafe owner and reluctant hero of the French Resistance in the British sitcom ‘Allo, 'Allo! His costume involves a normal shirt and trousers plus a bar-keep apron.
Rhett Butler — Rhett is the hero from Gone with the Wind portrayed by Clark Gable in the classic 1939 film. Rhett was an elegant Mississippi gent who wore a frock coat, a fancy ornate waistcoat, a shirt, a cravat, and trousers.
Rhiannon — In Celtic folklore, Rhiannon is the princess daughter of the King of the Otherworld, who is celebrated in the Fleetwood Mac song of the same name. She is also known as a witch and linked in some mythologies to Mab, Queen of Fairies and enemy of Merlin. Rhiannon is coldly beautiful and wears shades of blue, purple, and black. She also features those colours in her makeup.
Rhinemaidens — Rhinemaidens are mermaid-like river spirits who are featured in German composer Richard Wagner's Ring series of four epic operas loosely based on Norse mythology. They are depicted as the initial guardians of the Ring, which is stolen by the dwarf Mime, causing much trouble for both men and gods. Wear river-coloured clothing and fabrics evocative of water.
Rhinestone Cowboy — "Rhinestone Cowboy" is a song written by Larry Weiss and performed by Glen Campbell describing show cowboys who are more glitter than substance. Wear a white cowboy outfit with plenty of studs and rhinestones.
Rhinestone Cowgirl — A rhinestone cowgirl is similar to the above rhinestone cowboy. Possible inspirations for your costume could be Dolly Parton and old-school Shania Twain. Wear an elaborate and bejeweled cowgirl outfit, decorated with fringe and rhinestones.
Rabbit — A rabbit is a popular costume choice, even outside the Alice in Wonderland connection. Costumes typically come in fake fur and feature the colors white, pink, or brown. This is an especially popular costume around Easter time.
Rhinoceros — This could be a fun DIY costume, made with grey clothing and a horn. Fancier costumes might be slightly less practical to wear. Most of the ones available are from specialist suppliers, often built using fibreglass and regularly seen running the London Marathon!
Richard I (also known as Lionheart) — Richard I was an English king in the late 12th and early 13th century. He spent much of his time fighting the Crusades in the modern-day Middle East. During the Crusades, St. George was adopted as a patron of the English forces, so you could dress in a crusader outfit with a white tabard and a red George cross to portray this character.
Riddler — Riddler is one of Batman's arch-foes from the Batman comics. Wear a green lycra catsuit and a bowler hat imprinted with question marks. A black eye mask and a cane with a question mark handle will finish off the costume.
Ride-on Emu (or similar) — Though British comedian Bernie Clifton's heyday was a couple of years ago, his ride-on emu act is still remembered and the costume is still fairly popular. You'll have to purchase or hire this one, though. For those who don't know, this costume has the effect of making one look like they're riding an emu.
Riff Raff — Riff Raff is a character from the cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wear a black, well-worn tail suit with a white shirt and no tie. Also be sure to get a bald wig with long straggly hair. In his Transylvanian guise later in the story, he wears a silver tabard-style space suit with black PVC trim, gauntlets with silver gloves, black stockings, and suspenders. For this look, wear a mohawk wig or quiff.
Rihanna — Rihanna is a popular modern R&B singer who was born in the Bahamas. She is noted for her eye-catching and sometimes controversial outfits both on and off-stage. Some have tried to recreate her leotard and bowler hat ensemble from her music video for the song "Umbrella."
Ringmaster — A ringmaster is an outfit derived from that of a horseman as used in a dressage event. Wear a top hat, a red coat with tails, and riding boots and carry a whip.
Rimmer, Arnold — Arnold is a human holograph and one of the remaining crew aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf in the BBC sci-fi comedy which is also called Red Dwarf. An official costume has recently become available.
Ringmistress Magda — This is another take on the ringmaster look as featured in the Bond film Octopussy. Magda wears a top hat, a red or black tailcoat, fishnet tights, and boots.
Robbie Burns — Robbie Burns is a well-known and celebrated Scottish poet who has a national day on January 25th. Wear a standard frock coat and breeches outfit.
Robert Clive — Robert was a British militarian of Victorian times who was best known for his role in controlling the Indian Mutiny. Wear a red and black Victorian military outfit.
Robert the Bruce — Robert the Bruce was a Scottish military hero who became King of Scotland in 1306, supposedly having been inspired by a spider to prevail in his struggle against the English. His costume may be similar to that of Braveheart (William Wallace) but should not feature a tartan.
Robin — Robin is also known as the Boy Wonder and is the sidekick of Batman. You could wear either a yellow cap, a green shirt, a red vest with yellow tights, and a black eye mask, or the more modern variation featuring black and red colouring.
Robin (bird) — Robins have a number of different interpretations for costumes. Among other things, they are bird characters found in many nursery rhymes, although robins tend to fair poorly in such tales. For example, one robin is potentially homeless in “The North Wind Doth Blow,” and another is shot in “Cock Robin.” Nonetheless, the robin is a potentially popular seasonal costume, as it is known as a harbinger of winter months. It is also associated with blood from Christ’s thorns and the sacred fire-bird of Thor in Scandinavian myth. To create the costume, create a round brown body using stuffing, plus brown or yellow tights, bird feet, and an appropriate head piece. Don't forget the red breast!
Robin Hood or Herne the Hunter — Robin Hood is a major figure of English folk history. Wear a medieval tunic and trousers in green or brown with a matching cap. Carry a bow and arrow set to finish off the costume.
Robinson Crusoe — Robinson Crusoe is a character from a book by Daniel Defoe of the same name and also the hero of one of the less performed pantomimes. Wear ragged clothing, including a cap.
Rock-and-Roll Star — There are a number of rock-and-roll stars to choose from for this costume idea. Some possible inspirations include Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Cliff Richard. Each one has their own signature look. Dress accordingly!
Rock Chick — This character is open to interpretation. You could either be a music artist such a Suzi Quatro or Joan Jet, a follower of similar artists, or a variation on a biker girl. Typically, you might wear a biker jacket or T-shirt, a leather or PVC mini-skirt, a cap, and a feather-cut wig.
Rock Star — For this costume, dress as any well-known or iconic rock or pop idol. Examples include Freddie Mercury and Janis Joplin.
Rocketeer — Hero of Saturday matinee cinema and a 1991 film, the Rocketeer fights evil with the help of his jet-powered backpack. Wear a red jacket and a gold helmet that covers your face.
Robocop — Robocop is the main character and cyborg policeman of several films in the 1980s and '90s. Since the costume is quite involved, purchasing one might be your best bet. Luckily, there is an official licensed costume available on the market.
Robot — Robots have taken many forms in popular culture, leaving plenty of room for invention and interpretation. Typically, costumes feature metallic materials and makeup, and they are often futuristic. Look to inspiration from Star Wars, Wall-E, and The Jetsons.
Rodney Trotter — Rodney Trotter is the brother of Del-Boy Trotter in the British comedy Only Fools and Horses. A mask is available, although an alternative popular guise is Del-Boy and Rodney's getup as Batman and Robin from the special Christmas show of 1996.
Rocky — Rocky is a character created by Frank ‘N’ Furter in the cult film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wear mummy-style bandages and Lurex or Spandex trunks with body glitter. In the floor show sequence, he wears a basque, a boa, and stockings.
Rod Stewart — Rod is a rock star who was initially associated with The Faces but then pursued a successful solo career and is now known for recording easy-listening crooner standards. His '70s look consisted of tight leopard-print trousers and an open-neck shirt. Wear a spiked and streaked wig.
Roger Rabbit — Roger Rabbit is the cartoon star hero of the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His main costume is a white rabbit in red dungarees with a spotty bow-tie. The obvious couple costume idea here is to go along with someone dressed as his wife Jessica Rabbit.
Roller Skater — This could either be a sports character in its own right, or a character from films such as Rollerball, Boogie Nights, Xanadu, or the show Starlight Express. Aside from the skates, the exact costume will depend upon the nature of the character you choose.
Rolling Stones — Possibly one of the most well-known bands of all time, the Rolling Stones started making music in the 1960s and are still at it. There are numerous looks to choose from, though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are possibly two of the most recognized band members.
Romans — Wear a male or female Roman tunic or toga with strappy sandals and laurel garlands.
Romeo — Romeo is one of the main characters from William Shakepeare’s romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Wear a traditional medieval Italian costume with a doublet, tights, and a cap.
Rosalind — Rosalind is a character from Shakepeare’s play As You Like It. The daughter of a banished Duke, Rosalind disguises herself as a boy, Ganymede, in order to avoid getting attacked in the Forest Arden. She is noted as having a curtle-axe and a boar spear, so it seems the costume would combine elements of a pantomime principal boy and Robin Hood.
Rose — Aside from the obvious flower interpretation, the heroine of the film Titanic (based on a real-life survivor of the disaster) was also named Rose. For that costume, wear period dress appropriate to the 1920s.
Rose Red — Rose Red is a character from a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. The costume is similar to Snow White but done in shades of red.
Roulette Wheel — You can have some fun with this costume by wearing elements associated with gambling. One way to create a DIY costume for this idea is to design a skirt that looks like a roulette wheel.
Roy Orbison — Roy Orbison (also known Boy O) was a popular music star who died in 1988. Wear a black two-piece casual suit and dark glasses.
Rumba Dancer (Male or Female) — The success of Strictly and other dance programmes has made these Latino-style costumes very popular. Typically rumba costumes involve lots and lots of colorful ruffles.
Roy Wood and Wizzard — Wizzard was a glam rock group of the 1970s and '80s. Their seasonal hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" continues to sell and receives airtime every year. Wear a patterned kaftan, wild hair and beard, and face makeup.
Royal Air Force Pilot — A typical outfit might consist of a leather or faux-leather aviator jacket, a helmet, a flying scarf, and goggles.
Roy Rogers — Roy Rogers is one of the early TV cowboy personalities of the 1950s and '60s whose television programmes had a large following and benefited from spin-off merchandising. Wear an over-the-top patterned western shirt with a fringe and a white cowboy hat.
Rubbles, The — The Rubbles are a prehistoric family from the popular American cartoon series The Flintstones. The family includes Barney, Betty, and Bam-Bam Rubble.
Rubezahl — Rubezahl is a Germanic weather spirit living on the Riesenbirge mountain in that country. He is also known as Herr Johannes and can be portrayed as a Germanic version of Jack Frost.
Rudolph Valentino — Rudolph Valentino was a silent screen heartthrob who drew unprecedented crowds to his funeral. His best-known costumes are those of an Arabian sheik or a matador.
Rudolf or Reindeer — To create this look, you can hire or purchase either a one- or two-man costume (or add antlers to a horse costume). At Christmas-time, it might be appropriate to add a red nose to become Rudolf!
Rugrats — The Rugrats are a cartoon brat pack of TV and film fame. All of them (except Chuckie) wear diapers, but their hair and t-shirts differ depending on the character. Costumes were once available but may be on limited license and are copyrighted.
Rumplestiltskin — Rumplestiltskin is a dwarf from a Grimms’ fairy tale who spun gold from straw in exchange for the first-born child of a princess. He is also seen as a character in the final Shrek movie.
Rumpleteaser — Rumpleteaser is a character from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Cats. Rumpleteaser is a cat on the up and up. He is lithe of body, keen, and tiger-like.
Runner — Runners have a number of different looks and styles. Wear an official race number, shorts, a running top, trainers, and socks. Go in a group if you can!
Runner Bean — A runner bean is a type of bean, but it's also a fun pun and a great costume for a marathon or fun run. Wear a basic pod-shape with suitable holes for your head, arms, and legs made of lightweight green material topped off with a stalk hat. Finish off with green socks and trainers.
Russian — In these post-Cold War days, a Russian might not be an obvious costume choice, although it could be useful for a countries of the world event. The stereotype is based on the Russian Cossack which comprises of a faux fur-based ensemble, but other possibilities are Rasputin (previously mentioned above), Anya Amasova (the Russian agent from Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me), or one of the characters from Russian literature such as Lara from Dr Zhivago.
What do you think? Leave comments, questions, and your own suggestions here!
R on February 16, 2019:
John is clearly too shy to wear a dress...
John on January 09, 2019:
Not good only girls outfits most of the time
Glenda on November 19, 2018:
Mac on January 31, 2017:
very helpful thank you!
Ron on June 07, 2012:
This is very interesting post, I like your fantastic hub!
Ron from Fitness http://www.intervalstraining.net