How to Make Pennywise the Clown Costume
While the production had been in development for a while, the remake release of Stephen King's famously disturbing clown horror It couldn't be better timing. This is partly due to the spate of real life creepy clown sightings which grew into a worldwide phenomenon in 2016. While we're not encouraging you to join in this antisocial behavior, if you're looking for a fun, but truly terrifying costume for Halloween, you can't get much better/scarier than Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It. The original was described in the book, the 1990 miniseries was sinister, but the 2017 remake movie is deeply disturbing. If you want to know how to make Pennywise the Clown costume, read on to find our easy DIY version from oneHOWTO.
Hair and Make Up for It the Clown
Pennywise the clown is actually a shapeshifter, so there are a few different versions which you could make. We're making the standard creepy clown which Stephen King used to base the character on. He did so because he thought clowns were the most terrifying to children, perhaps partly inspired by infamous serial killer Johm Wayne Gacy who enjoyed dressing up as a clown.
This DIY clown costume for Pennywise (also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, It or, strangely, Bob Gray) uses the newer version. There are some key characteristics which need to be copied for this creepy costume, but we'll start with hair and make-up:
- Bald scalp - while there is a mane of flame red hair (more on that below), It the clown has a bit of a widow's peak. This means a white bald cap needs to go over your head to both cover your hair and to make it white. If you are already bald, this might be an advantage.
- White primer - this might not be necessary, but it is recommended, certainly if you have darker skin. It the clown is chalky white all over his skin, so putting on a primer will help give an even texture and allow you to put the other color on better.
- Skin - if you have or haven't out on a primer, you will need to make sure your face is covered in white make-up all over. Make sure you go down your chin and neck to look truly grotesque.
- Eyebrows - Pennywise has arched eyebrows like a proper creepy and scary villain. They hook shaped and can be applied easily with black make up or even eyeliner. See picture below for close up.
- Eyes - outline the both eyes with black eyeliner and make the surrounding smoky with some dark eye shadow.
- Lips - if you haven't used a primer for the whole face, you should use it on your lips at least to make the red pop. It has tapered red lips which get fuller in the middle.
- Extra - Pennywise has some extra lines which go up from his lips across his eyes in a slash. Keep using the same red make up and bring them up like the picture, ending at the forehead.
- Nose - the nose is completely covered at the bottom with red face paint, but the bridge is white.
- Teeth - this is optional, but It has teeth which can be spiky and pointed like grotesque fangs. Buy a set from a costume store or joke shop if you want the full effect.
- Hair - as said before, Pennywise has a bit of a horrific Jack Nicholson hair line. An orange wig should attach to the back of the head so that the front is exposed, but the back is hairy. There may be some similar wigs with a bald cap available in most costume shops
You should only need 3 colors for the It the Clown face paint, white, black and red. If you want to use your own, you can even check out this article on how to make your own lipstick.
Pennywise the Clown Costume
Unlike clowns for children's parties, It the Clown doesn't have a colorful parachute type costume. He has a dirty white 'suit' which is in two pieces, rather than the one piece jumpsuit some are known for wearing. It is in the old fashioned 'Pierrot' style clown which originated in late 17th century Italy. it has frilly sleeves and a ruff, the kind of concertinaed neckwear worn by figures like Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I of England.
You may find it difficult to find this type of costume without buying a specific one from a costume store. However, we have some ideas to help you improvise if you need it:
- Blouse: wear a white shirt which you either dirty yourself or even a gray shirt which will give a similar effect. A flouncy and puffy type would work great (think Seinfeld and he puffy shirt).
- Pants: Same colored loose and baggy slacks or pants will work for a DIY costume. Try to get them to match the top as well as possible. Dirtying them yourselves will help you even out the design.
- Cuffs and ruff: use white crepe paper to make a collar around the neck and sleeves.
- Waist: to make the waist tapered use a white belt or affix a strip of white material around the waist.
- Pompoms: while the actual Pennywise costume is simple, yet creepy, the pompoms show that it is indeed a clown. You need red pompoms which you can buy at most material stores, but we also have a homemade version of how to make pompoms with wool. You might want to sew them on, but a quicker and easier way to attach the pompoms is to simply use some safety pins.
- Shoes - the clown shoes are specially made with red designs on them and they might be difficult to replicate perfectly. However, there is a popular show which can give a great cheap alternative. Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars are the best selling basketball shoe in history and can make a great alternative. Simply lace up white Chucks with red laces and attach a red pompom to both fronts of the shoe. They also have a little rubber ridge on the front, so you can use a temporary adhesive like tape and still use the shoes again for regular use.
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