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Parks and Recreation Costume Guides

Dress like Your Favorite Parks and Recreation Characters

Browse through the costumes and cosplay guides for the award-winning comedy television series Parks and Recreation. Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the NBC series showcases the life of the parks and recreation department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. The show follows Leslie Knope as she tries to humorously improve the beauty of the city and launch her career in politics. With the following step-by-step costume guides, you can be ready to party like Tom Haverford or spew sarcasm like April Ludgate. With cosplay guides for characters like Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, and alter-ego Burt Macklin, you and your friends can bring the town of Pawnee to your next party.

Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson Costume

Certainly known for being one of the more masculine characters on television, Ron Swanson is adored by fans for his iconic mustache and his love for bacon and eggs. As a man’s man, Ron enjoys all things manly, including hunting and woodworking, and eventually starting his own development company aptly called Very Good Building and Development Co. Ron is also well-known for being twice divorced, both to women named Tammy, so of course, he likes to refer to his first wife as Tammy I. Working in government, Ron has an odd perspective and believes that government should be privatized and small which is why he hires only those that are incompetent in hopes that they won’t get anything done.

Ron Swanson Costume
Ron Swanson Costume Guide
Burt Macklin

Burt Macklin Costume

Burt Macklin is one of the many alter-egos of Andy Dwyer. Andy Dwyer, known for his laziness and loveable idiocy, enjoys helping others when he can. Enter: Burt Macklin. When there’s a need for law enforcement, Burt Macklin is there, sporting his signature sunglasses and FBI jacket. Audiences are first introduced to Burt Macklin in season two after the vandalism of a local statute. Andy thinks the best way to help is by impersonating a police officer, so Burt Macklin enters and questions the suspect, Greg Pikitis. However, known for being a rude delinquent, Greg ends up making Burt cry. For the rest of the series, Burt Macklin makes an appearance each season as he tries to help solve crimes around Pawnee.

Burt Macklin Costume
Burt Macklin Costume Guide

Parks and Recreation Cosplay Costumes

Since the Parks and Recreation premiere in 2009, people have been laughing with Leslie Knope as she paves the way for women in politics. Now, you can bring Parks and Recreation to your life through cosplay. Any character from the series will be sure to deliver plenty of laughs especially Leslie’s serious boss Ron Swanson and the cynical intern, April Ludgate.

Dressing like a member of the Parks and Recreation department doesn’t have to be as hard as filling in a giant pit. You’ll find each costume guide has the character outfit broken down into simple step-by-step instructions for bringing Parks and Recreation to life. All you need is to pick a character to cosplay, and you will discover all the items to look like you care just enough about your job. That is unless you’re like Leslie and take your job way too seriously!

Parks and Recreation Costume Tips & FAQs

Step into the quirky and heartwarming world of “Parks and Recreation,” where the dedicated employees of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department navigate the challenges of local government with humor, passion, and an unwavering commitment to community service. Whether you’re drawn to Leslie Knope’s boundless enthusiasm and love for waffles, Ron Swanson’s rugged individualism and woodworking skills, April Ludgate’s deadpan wit, or any other beloved character, this FAQ section will guide you through creating costumes that capture the essence of the series for cosplay events, Halloween, or any themed gathering that calls for a touch of optimism, civic pride, and the enduring power of friendship.

To cosplay as Leslie Knope, opt for her signature business-casual attire, such as a pantsuit or a skirt with a blazer, in bright or pastel colors. Adding a “Knope 2012” campaign button or a Pawnee Parks Department ID badge will enhance the authenticity. Leslie’s blonde hair is usually styled simply, and don’t forget to include accessories like a waffle or a binder labeled “Pawnee Projects.” Embodying Leslie’s optimistic spirit, her dedication to her friends and Pawnee, and her endless supply of quirky ideas will bring depth to your portrayal.

For a Ron Swanson costume, wear a plaid shirt or a dark polo shirt with slacks and a mustache that captures Ron’s iconic look. Adding a wooden nameplate that reads “Ron Swanson, Director” or carrying a toy saxophone to represent his alter ego, Duke Silver, can reference his multifaceted personality. Adopting Ron’s disdain for government interference, his love for meat and woodworking, and his gruff but caring demeanor will enhance your portrayal of this character.

To cosplay as April Ludgate, choose dark, gothic-inspired casual wear, like a black shirt with a skull print, dark jeans, and a leather jacket. April’s dark hair is often straight and styled with bangs, complementing her deadpan expression. Accessories like a stuffed animal representing Champion, the three-legged dog, or a fake skull can nod to her morbid sense of humor. Embodying April’s sarcastic wit, her unexpected moments of kindness, and her unique worldview will make for a compelling representation.

A Ben Wyatt costume requires his “calzone enthusiast” or “Cones of Dunshire” geek persona, which can be portrayed with a button-up shirt, a tie, and a sweater vest or blazer. Including props like a calzone or a board game can highlight his interests. Ben’s clean-cut hairstyle and his awkward yet sincere charm are key to capturing his character. Embodying Ben’s love for Leslie, his fiscal responsibility, and his nerdy hobbies will bring authenticity to your costume.

Including memorable quotes from “Parks and Recreation” can add character and fun to your costume or themed interactions. Here are a few iconic lines:

“Treat yo’ self.” – Tom and Donna, on their annual self-indulgence day

“I’m a simple man. I like pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food.” – Ron Swanson

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it really, really well.” – Andy Dwyer

“Ovaries before brovaries.” – Leslie Knope, on female friendship

“I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things.” – Leslie Knope

Choose quotes that fit your character and the situation, practicing their delivery with the appropriate humor and timing for a truly immersive experience.


About Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation follow the parks and recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana, as they navigate all kinds of issues around the town. The director, Leslie Knope who is portrayed by Amy Poehler, takes her job very seriously. She often annoys her colleagues who try to complete as little work as possible. Some of the laziest employees include Tom Haverford, who believes his confidence and entrepreneurial skills will take him far in life. However, displaying the most apathy is intern April Ludgate, who completes the less than the bare minimum.

Despite the incompetent employees, Leslie Knope eventually inspires the department to accomplish projects that improve both Pawnee as well as their lives. After successfully filling in a giant construction pit, surviving a government shutdown, and countless setbacks, Leslie and her colleagues develop close bonds and begin to support one another in both their political and personal endeavors.