In real life, this particular Scarecrow has ample brains! So much so, that it is a challenge to find hats that fit him! Speaking of hats, the hat that Jeff wore was a loaner from my mother-in-law.
Theatre pro that he his, Jeff handled his own makeup, using his own Ben Nye Theatrical Makeup Kit. He simply gave himself black, pointed eyebrows, painted his nose red, and drew brown lines across his cheeks. You could probably achieve a similar effect with eye shadow and an eyeliner pencil. Gentlemen, if you are raising your own eyebrows at the idea of makeup, you have no idea how studly it is when you can apply it on your own! Trust me. I was so relieved and impressed, because I was already busy dressing the kids in their costumes and slapping green makeup on my own face!
I made his cowl from the backing to a comforter. I bought it, years ago, when I was costuming “A Christmas Carol” for Leavenworth Summer Theater. I had a very tight budget, so I took apart a thrift store comforter in order to use the top, fancy, brocaded fabric for Mrs. Fezziwig’s gown. Buying equivalent, brand new fabric would have easily cost $20/yard. I threw away the polyester batting in the middle. (It gave me a sneeze attack, so I advise wearing a face-mask if you attempt this!) I washed the remaining materials in hot water, with non-chlorinated bleach, and plenty of vinegar.
I saved the backing material, and it was the perfect color for Scarecrow’s cowl! As you can see, nothing about this cowl is perfect. Both the circle and the hole for the face are wonky. However, this is the beauty of last-minute, low-budget costuming. I normally would have spent lots of time measuring everything and getting it “just so”. However, I had to go with my gut and just do it! I put about as much thought into it as the fictional farmer who made the Scarecrow for his fictional field in the “Wizard of OZ”. And, you know what? It still worked!
That comforter was really the gift that keeps on giving! The edges were trimmed with this flanged cord trim. This cord would be around $10/yard brand new. I got the entire comforter for $10, and it yielded yards upon yards of trim! We cut lengths of it to tie around Jeff’s hat, neck, and waist.
I stumbled upon this green, peasant shirt, several years ago, at the Goodwill Seattle Outlet A.K.A. “Goodwill-By-The-Pound”. This place has to be seen to be believed, and shopping there is not for the faint of heart! Bring some rubber gloves (and possibly a face mask) to their massive warehouse and dig through mounds of items that didn’t sell at their retail locations. Almost everything is priced by the pound, and the prices are rock-bottom. This helpful site provides good tips for shopping at Goodwill Outlet stores and a location guide by state. (Fun fact: Hip-hop artist and Seattle native, Macklemore, is filmed in the Seattle outlet store in his music video “Thrift Shop“. *Disclaimer: Unfortunately, there is a lot of swearing in this song, and I can’t find a censored version of the music video!* I just about fell out of my chair the first time I saw the video. I felt like a celebrity by proxy. “I’VE BEEN THERE!” Jeff created a censored version of the song for me as a birthday present. As a die-hard thrift store shopper, I regard it as my anthem.)
Well, that was quite the rabbit trail! Anyway, this green shirt has been a very versatile piece in our family costume collection, as it lends itself to all sorts of time periods and fantasy characters.
Jeff wore these brown, corduroy pants and scuffed, black shoes to complete his rag-tag outfit.
These pants may no longer be in style (Jeff wore them in college), but they have heaps of costume potential! In fact, Jeff has worn them as part of his Halloween costume for the past three years! Fun fact: I am pregnant in each of these photos.
What is it about these pants? Well, they’re a fabulous neutral, and they have awesome texture. I mean, check out that chunky, wide wale! (Wale: The ridges of vertically cut pile.) My work in theatre has taught me how important texture is. The distance between the audience and the actors can create a need for high-impact materials with well-defined features. Surface texture is an integral part of creating exciting costumes with elements that “read” across the physical distance. This is partly why I try to steer clear of store-bought costumes. In order to be affordable, they are typically made from very cheap, flat, two-dimensional materials. I like to costume using real clothing because I always find a wider range of fabrics in thrift store clothing than I ever would at a craft store. (Not to mention that thrifting is usually way more time and cost-effective!)
As ever, I can think of further details I could have added to this costume, such as patches and straw. However, I am overall quite pleased with how this Scarecrow costume came together! It’s definitely recognizable, and that was my main objective.