Ready for Your Close-Up: 20 Celebrity Costume Ideas

Choosing a costume for the holidays, a school event, party or other special occasion can be difficult, particularly if you’re short on creative inspiration and find yourself light on cash. So this time around, ditch the standard character ideas and dress yourself up as a famous celebrity from the annals of Hollywood history. With so many dramatic and comedic personalities to choose from, let us help make your disguise decision a bit easier. Here are 20 ideas for celebrity costumes new and old that will get the flash bulbs popping:

1. Marilyn Monroe – Who doesn’t know the iconic Marilyn look comprised of a white dress with billowing skirt, platinum blonde hair, seductive pout, and high heels. To complete the look, ask a friend to place a fan where you will be standing to send your skirt billowing

2. Elizabeth Taylor – Here’s one actress whose beauty hasn’t faded over the years. You can dress up as Liz by donning a Cleopatra ensemble or choose an elegant black dress and style your hair with a black classic wig. Don’t forget the violet contact lenses!

3. Lucille Ball – I love Lucy! And you will too when you dress up like this much-loved comedienne of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Her look comes with her curly red hair up (usually with bangs) and a ‘50s-stye dress.

4. Madonna – Like a Virgin? Material Girl? There are a multitude of Madonna incarnations to choose from. You can express yourself as blonde or brunette, just don’t forget the fishnet stockings, short dress, cross and other religious accessories. Go for the Pre-Raphaelite look from “Ray of Light,” the urban cowgirl of “Music,” the Patty Hearst look of “American Life,” the gangsta pimp and Art Deco style from her current “Sticky and Sweet” tour, or her longest-running fashion inspiration — the dominatrix.

5. Elvis Presley – Hundreds impersonate the king of rock and roll especially during Halloween and costume parties. If you can’t beat them, join them! You have the option of going as a young Elvis (thinner) or the older (and heavier) original American idol. Just don’t forget the guitar, flashy outfit, jewelry, and scarf.

6. Michael Jackson – The king of pop may be misunderstood but he’s still one of the most famous legends of the music industry. A fedora, big eyeglasses, sparkling military jacket, black pants (a bit short to show off a pair of glittery socks) and a flashy glove worn only on the right hand – this ensemble will automatically be recognized as the “King of Pop” even at a distance.

7. Audrey Hepburn – Elegance epitomizes what this famous actress is known for. Show up in character as Holly Golightly in her famous black Givenchy evening dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, wearing a ‘60s hairdo will help you pass as Audrey for sure.

8. Zac Efron – Sport a basketball uniform and dress up as his character Troy, Captain of the East High basketball team, from Disney’s High School Musical, or show up as Zac (the actor) wearing the Hollywood teen heartthrob look.

9. James Dean – If you want to appear as a suave Rebel Without a Cause, then James Dean it is. Hair should be combed back and parted at the middle. You should also wear a plaid shirt, and tight fitted jeans. Don’t forget a prop cigarette, preferably a fake one, to complete the look.

10. John Wayne – Who wouldn’t want to go to a costume party as a cowboy? The Duke is the most famous actor from the entire Western movie genre. All you need here is a cowboy suit and a pioneer attitude.

11. Liza Minnelli – Think Broadway. Liza is renowned for fishnet stockings, black mini dress or tanga, short black hair, and well made-up eyes.

12/13. Donny & Marie Osmond – Flashy costumes with big hair, heavy on the rhinestone jewelry, feathers and gold lame should do the trick.

14. Sammy Davis, Jr. – A founding member of the Rat Pack, Sammy is best known for his sleek performances wearing a thin moustache, sunglasses (day or night) and open neck suit.

15. Liberace – Here’s one guy whose appearance defines flamboyancy. Flashy clothes, big blonde hairdo, lots of gold and a loud personality should complete the look.

16. Bruce Lee – If you are into martial arts then you shouldn’t mind dressing up as Bruce Lee. An apple cut hairdo and a martial arts gi (uniform) are pretty much all you need. Note: simply wearing a black belt does not mean you should demonstrate how to break a wooden board with your forehead.

17. John Travolta – If you love disco dancing and the ‘70s then John Travolta is your best pick. Remember his white suit while dancing under a disco ball during his Saturday Night Fever heyday? Let that image be your costume guide.

18. Cyndi Lauper –One of the most popular female performers from the 1980s. Well-known for a crazy hairdo, almost skin head shaved on one side and long and colorful on the other, her clothes were also very vibrant and outrageous.

19. Boy George – Famous for a strong, soulful singing voice and provocative sense of fashion, this lead singer of the ‘80s group Culture Club made a loud fashion statement with his androgynous persona, distinctive costumes comprised of trench coat, long hair and fedora along with heavy makeup.

20. Don Johnson – Detective Sonny Crockett from the hit ‘80s TV series Miami Vice, he’s well known for a fashionable open neck shirt with coat folded or pushed back and leather shoes worn without socks. Prepare yourself for the inevitable barrage of people asking “Where’s Tubbs?”

These 20 famous actors, actresses and musicians should provide you with plenty of options when it comes time to assemble an instantly recognizable costume. Just remember to stay in character when star-struck fans flock toward you for an autograph!


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