Personally, I've been a horror nerd ever since I accidentally saw the movie Alien as a 10-year-old — my parents put in a VHS, sent me to my room, and then promptly fell asleep on the couch. It was a golden opportunity to stay up past my bedtime, and catch some nightmares, too. It probably comes as no surprise that I also became a huge Stephen King fan in high school. If you too are a new parent with the spirit of Halloween in your bones, you might consider finding some It costumes for babies. Some are budget, and some will cost you an arm and... well, an arm. But guys, it's worth it to really creep people out.
Pennywise the Clown first terrified readers when Stephen King's fantastic book hit stores in 1986. In 1990, an IT miniseries, starring Tim Curry as a gruesome Pennywise, became a cult classic. This year, fans returned to Derry, Maine for more chills orchestrated by director Andy Muschietti.
Whatever version floats your red balloon, there's a costume variant for your baby. And if anyone asks why you decided to dress your baby up as tiny, razor-toothed clown, remember to roll your eyes crazily and shout, "We all float down here!"
1. The Classic Pennywise
Fans know that Pennywise likely acquired its off-white clown suit in the 18th century or earlier, so truly scary takes on the outfit will look faded and antique, even Edwardian. Think France's pantomiming Pierrot, with ruffles and lace. While babies aren't known for their love of wigs, Pennywise also famously sported tufts of bright orange hair in the book and new movie. And of course, IT almost always carries a haunting — ahem, floating — red balloon.
For this look you'll need a mandarin orange hat-and-glove set ($8, Etsy), a basic yet atmospheric Ruffle Collar Bodysuit ($29, Janie and Jack) in ivory, and Monsoon Baby Pretty Lace Socks ($9, Monsoon), but I bet you have a pair just like them lying around somewhere. Sewing on a few red felt circles as faux-buttons won't hurt, either.
However, if you go for full clown makeup, check that your face paint is safe for babies. Aida Garcia, Founder, Non-Toxic Munchkin, and Expert at The Tot explains in an interview with Romper that commercial face paint generally isn't safe for kids, and may contain lead, cadmium, and chromium, among other things. Garcia sells natural face paints for children at The Tot, and offers this recipe for anyone looking to make their own:
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp water to make paste
1/2 tsp Diaper rash cream (California Baby and Burt’s Bees are good and natural)
Add food coloring or DIY pigments. Mix the first three ingredients together to make a thick white paste. Then, take a little bit of the base and mix with different foods to create your desired colors.
Who knew diaper rash cream could be so versatile?
2. The Not-Trying-To-Scare-The-Neighbors Pennywise
Sure, the real Pennywise wears a very specific ensemble while dancing through black-and-white yearbook photos — and somehow, the sewage never stains. But for those not interested in hewing so closely to the core text, loads of stores sell baby clown costumes and accessories. Store-bought, bright, and comical outfits are also a good idea if you're worried about scaring baby's brothers or sisters.
Remember too that trying to bring the clown too much to life is what resulted in this seriously horrifying child-themed IT photo shoot. Maybe it's better to play it safe than go viral?
3. Antique IT
Seriously, though, IT isn't like other costumes — or other monsters. If you go with the clown incarnation, it's more important to capture an essential creepiness than any specific detail.
Orange hair and red balloons are all well and good, but IT is an ancient menace that should exude a dusty age. So what's my actual, best advice for an IT costume you don't make yourself? Steal your outfit from a creepy antique doll ($400, Ruby Lane). Just know that a real antique doesn't come cheap.
4. Little Beverly Marsh
Beverly 'Bev' Marsh is my favorite character in the book, hands down. (Remember when she gets the Loser's Club to help her squeegee the blood off her bathroom walls?) In the new movie, she's a red-headed tomboy who often wears crimson, sometimes under a very 80s pair of overalls.
To copy Bev's look, dress your baby in a red baby bow short-sleeved bodysuit ($9, YesStyle.com), and army green overalls ($27, Walmart). Don't forget the iconic pair of white Keds ($30, Shoes.com), and consider a key necklace — you may have spotted our heroine wearing one throughout the movie.
5. Baby Loser's Club
The Loser's Club is at the heart of It, which is ultimately a story about the power of friendship in childhood. To dress your baby up as one of these precocious, town-saving kids, think 80s, 80s, 80s. (You literally cannot go too 80s.) Don't forget your infant-sized Keds ($35, Shoes.com) or your flannel bodysuit ($16, OshKosh B'Gosh). Also, consider a pair of chunky glasses ($15, Bed, Bath & Beyond) your baby will wear for exactly two seconds, if you're lucky.
6. Tim Curry's Pennywise
Want all your friends to know that you preferred the earlier movie to the remake? I mean, Tim Curry played one unforgettably monstrous clown. Go for bright colors, as in this custom clown costume ($80, Etsy), and don't forget to dot tiny noses red ($35, Etsy). An infant Raggedy Ann wig ($10, Etsy) will give you that shock of hair. Beep beep.
Again, handle all baby clown costumes with care, and be careful you don't end up with a seriously creepy situation — a la this awful child clown photo. You want to have a fun Halloween, right? Try not to end up on The Today Show.
7. Baby Red Balloon With Rain Slicker
Both the book and the new movie rely heavily on recurring motifs. In the films, color plays a huge role — specifically red and yellow. Georgie wears a yellow rain slicker in the opening scene, and everyone knows red belongs to IT. Tie a red balloon to your stroller, and if it rains on Halloween, a yellow raincoat ($40, LL Bean) and a red umbrella will be frighteningly appropriate.
8. The Turtle
Truly devoted fans know that IT's nemesis is a cosmic turtle ("Even the Turtle can't save us"), so consider dressing your baby on the side of universal good. This turtle swims through the galaxies in a Leveret green turtle bodysuit ($4, Zulilly), or possibly a 'Turtle Power' bunting ($10, Zulilly).
You'll probably have to explain the connection to the movie here, but who cares? Turtles are cute, and no messy clown makeup is required.
9. Bestseller Baby
While it may seem easier to buy a costume from the store, Garcia is all in favor of making your own, finding heirloom costumes, or ordering something handmade if you're not handy with a needle yourself. Why? "Store-bought Halloween costumes have been found to commonly contain lead, flame retardant chemicals, vinyl, and phthlates," she explains, noting also that if you make your costume yourself, it will be around for any siblings who come along later.
In any case, this costume is surely worth the work — anything emblazoned with this author's name is sure to make millions, and that includes your baby. Right?
10. Baby Spider
Remember how I mentioned that IT is a shapeshifter? Werewolves, Frankensteins, and yes, giant spiders — whatever you fear, IT can become. If you remember the end of the book, you'll also remember the grown-up Loser's Club battling one scary eight-legged monster.
You can go as creepy as you want with this one. This Itsy Bitsy Spider Costume ($30 HalloweenCostumes.com) personally scares me. You can also opt for this far-less nightmarish Spider Sleepsuit ($35, Wolf & Badger). Don't forget your red balloon. Happy Halloween, fans.
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