Just like how Harley Quinn costumes were the hottest thing this side of Jack-O’-Lanterns last Halloween, It baddie and walking clown nightmare Pennywise is destined to be everywhere. Like EVERYWHERE. (Including your local sewer system.) When something becomes the year’s go-to costume, there’s an understandable amount of reluctance to go with the popular pick. There’s nothing wrong with bristling at going with the default option, but maybe don’t give up on playing Pennywise just yet if that’s what you originally had your heart set on.
Going with a popular costume isn’t bad. In fact, it’s a beautiful thing. “Creative” costumes tend to often be era-specific pulls too and there’s no rule saying you can’t add your own twist and touches if you want an It-inspired costume. Thanks to the brave cosplay warriors out there, we’ve already been able to see how all the little variations in makeup, costumery and presentation can bring out unique touches that can make a gaggle of Pennywises (including the Tim Curry version) seem more distinct than the Party City set.
To accomplish a worthwhile Pennywise look, achieving the chalk white look and strikes of red is key. You can show up in a co-ed Naked Lacrosse tee and sweats, but if your makeup is on point it would do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Touches like novelty contact lenses, prop teeth and appropriate clown coiffure enhance the look and give some welcome detail. There’s room for creativity and (more importantly) it’s not that difficult to track down or DIY a lot of these small but significant factors. Once you get across that you’re Pennywise with your makeup, there’s ample room for your own personal expression and interesting adjustments.
It wouldn’t hurt if someone in your circle of friends was Georgie or a floating pack of red balloons, but we can see every individual take on the character makes it its own limited edition variation. The inescapability of the Stephen King character is also a godsend for those of us that need visual aids and video tutorials to DIY up a look. Prince De Guzman channels a faithful Pennywise in the video below and it gets the wheels turning on little changes you might make.
You can hone the fundamentals of how to look like Pennywise courtesy of the excellent step-by-step makeup tutorial from Pinkstylist nestled below.
If you can get down with the clown (make-up), put the overall package together with appropriately sinister jester attire. Pennywise’s 2017 look is more old-timey than the 1990 version, requiring a look that’s more inspired by centuries past than a Dollar Tree clown costume. One major perk of the “new” Pennywise look is that the costume’s ol’ timey feel is something where you can get creative on how it’s presented. It’s a ruffled, off-color sort of look (without Krusty the Clown style shoes) and veers closer to American Horror Story‘s Twisty in its neck-down presentation. Think Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian in your approach rather than a standard birthday clown.
As is the case with any wardrobe homage, you don’t need to have the exact measurements of Bill Skarsgård to pull it off either.
Props are fun, although you’ll either have to be 1) committed to lugging ’em around or 2) be totally cool with potentially leaving things behind. Your smiling grease painted mug will be in plenty of pictures so it’s alright to abandon as required.
There’s an endless supply of It inspiration out there to guide you wherever your supernatural clown freak flag flies. Your Halloween look will be richer for it.