Halloween is a big deal in my family. Each year, my dad creates a haunted front-yard with various contraptions and decor he’s created. He’s done it for a little while now, and keeps adding new stuff each year. All the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood come through as well as family and friends. Some people even volunteer to dress up and help scare people. My parents make a big batch of chili and we all bring dishes. It’s as much of a holiday to us like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
This year, I decided to dress up. I haven’t done that since… oh, about 20 years ago? Whenever the last time I could trick or treat was, and we weren’t allowed to do it once we got to junior high. I tossed around a few ideas and decided upon being an Oompa Loompa from the original Willy Wonka movie:
Did you know this year is the 40th anniversary of this great movie? It’s always been one of my faves and to this day, if it’s on, I will take time out to watch it. I love the fantastic scenery and plot, plus there’s a certain trippiness to the film (aside from the obvious, like when they’re on the boat going through the tunnel).
I could have easily purchased a ready-made costume, but it was so much more fun creating it from scratch. It probably cost about the same, but I made sure to use supplies that could be used again so that it wouldn’t be an impractical purchase. Because the pants are so comfy, I plan on wearing them around the house (and maybe even to work out). The brown flats were cheap but can easily be worn again with untying the balls; the elastic suspenders can be used again in another sewing project; the gloves can be worn in a few months (or less) for winter.
This is everything I used to create the look:
- White acrylic craft paint
- Brown acrylic craft paint (I used Espresso from Craft Smart—Michael’s brand of paint, which looked more like milk chocolate)
- 2 papier-mâché ball ornaments
- 4 wooden disks (2-3/8″ diameter)
- Polyurethane sealer
- 2 screw eyes
- 2″ elastic
- 1/2″ elastic
- Brown turtleneck
- Brown flats
- Baggy white pants (I used some from a used karate uniform)
- Painters tape
- White duct tape
- Brown tights
- White gloves
- Green wig
- Foundation much darker/oranger than your natural complexion
- Make-up sponges
- White fur trim
- False eyelash glue
For the shirt, I turned it inside-out to paint the white stripes on the neck and cuffs. Because my sleeves were a little long for me, I painted the stripes on the inside so I could cuff them. I used painters tape to mark off the areas that wouldn’t be painted. I had to use about 4-5 coats of the white paint before the white was solid enough against the brown:
The pants I scored at a thrift store as part of a karate uniform. It was only $5, crisp and so white it was almost like brand new! I think any other white baggy pants would work as well, such as scrubs. I’d planned on adding wire into the outside seams of the legs to create the part that juts out, but didn’t get pants that were baggy enough. Instead, I sewed elastic at the bottoms of the legs so that they were gathered and had a bit of a puffy effect.
Instead of purchasing 4 large brown buttons (which I found to run about $4-$5 apiece!), I bought wooden disks and drilled holes in them to make my own buttons. I then painted these several coats of the brown paint & a few coats of the polyurethane.
Suspenders… you wouldn’t think these would be so stinkin hard to find at a store, but I couldn’t find any. It turns out that was better anyhow, because the ones I created from 2″ wide elastic were much cheaper than I planned on spending. I sewed this to the inside of the waistband of the pants.
I had intended to create stripes on the tights in the same manner I’d done with the turtleneck. But, this would’ve been time-consuming and worried about the stretch of the tights distorting the stripes. I’d read of someone using white surgical tape for the stripes on their Oompa Loompa costume, so I improvised this and used white duct tape. (I did have to cut this in half since it’s so wide.) This worked so-so and was easier to recreate horizontal stripes on my calves than the true vertical stripes.
To recreate the shoes, I originally searched for white pom-poms. I wasn’t able to find any large enough, so the idea came to me to use papier-mâché balls instead. I painted the swirls with the white and brown paint and then applied a few coats of the polyurethane sealer.
The ornaments had a gold string attached, so I planned on simply tying these with the string on the top of my flats. However, as I was painting and dangling the balls by the string, it broke off. To attach the balls to the shoes, I created a hole in the ball with a small nail and screwed in a small eye screw. I then tied the eye to the laces.
Instead of having to wear that heavy ol Halloween make-up, I purchased some foundation in a much darker (and more orange) shade than my skin. It wasn’t nearly as orange as the in the movie, but still good enough.
For the eyebrows, I used fur trim that was trimmed in a slight eyebrow shape. I applied Fray-Check to all the edges, because the fur was falling off easily. I then applied these to my eyebrows with eyelash glue.
All in all, a good time was had. I may even use the costume again next year, since it was so much fun… or just channel my creativity again and come up with something new.