Let’s take a look at what it takes to cosplay as Pennywise.
Pennywise Cosplay Costumes of 2023
You want to cosplay as THE creepy killer clown? Pennywise from Stephen King’s horror novel “It” is the quintessential psycho clown with supernatural powers. Whether it’s for Halloween or just for kicks, a Pennywise cosplay is sure to get a reaction out of people. Let’s take a look at what it takes to cosplay as Pennywise.
Who is Pennywise?
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the earthly manifestation of It, the ancient cosmic evil who acts upon its malevolence by preying upon children in Derry, Maine every 27 years. It is a shapeshifter and reality manipulator who cannot be seen or sensed by adults.
The character was created by Stephen King after the prolific author asked himself the question “What scares children more than anything else in the world?” and came upon the answer of clowns. As Pennywise, the character was famously portrayed by the actor Tim Curry.
The horror of its clown form has endured not only due to the terror that the character alone inspires through the story, but also real-life killers who are known to have dressed up as clowns. The idea of a psycho clown murdering innocent people has pervaded in mainstream imagination for many decades, and Stephen King has surely contributed to that with It.
How to Look Like Pennywise
Pennywise’s most distinct physical feature is its clown makeup, as shown in the movie. The look is quite distinct, even among clowns (both killer and non-killer varieties). It’s made more menacing by the smile that effortlessly increases the character’s level of menace.
The two notable depictions of Pennywise, the first by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries, and the second by Bill Skarsgard in the 2017 film and in its 2019 sequel, both have very high hairlines. This serves to add to the alien appearance of the clown when combined with the white face paint, making the head look bigger. This also gives a physical representation of the clown’s supernatural mind and reality-bending abilities.
When Pennywise closes in on its prey for the kill, it tends to reveal sharp teeth with its widening smile, seemingly getting ready to devour the unsuspecting child. To the outside observer, namely the audience, the clown is horrifying right from the start, but the child is made unaware of this due to the clown’s ability to mesmerize and bend their will.
It’s only when it feels that it’s close to accomplishing its goal does it show an appearance that’s unambiguously frightening. You can choose to cosplay Pennywise’s regular clown look or its monstrous final form.
Pennywise Cosplay Variations
Pennywise cosplay is simple enough. While it is a shapeshifter who could choose different forms to appear as, it chose the appearance of a clown to lure children. There are two main variations of the Pennywise costume, and your choice will depend on which movie you’re trying to evoke.
Top Pennywise Costumes of 2023
This is the Pennywise that’s most familiar to fans, especially since it was played by Tim Curry. This outfit is more colorful with orange pom poms, blue sleeves, yellow body, and red hair. His face makeup is more reminiscent of circus clowns with the red pierrot nose.
This is the more generic-looking clown of these two variations, but what made the character especially frightening was Tim Curry’s performance in the miniseries. The sewer scene has even become an online meme over two decades after the premiere of the miniseries.
This Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgard, has more distinctive face makeup and an outfit more reminiscent of Italian opera clowns. This outfit has a silver suit, orange hair, and red lines on the face that go from the edges of the lips, streaming up the cheeks, and ending at above his eyes.
This makeup makes this version of the character more distinct and recognizable. The image of this version of Pennywise has since become widespread on the internet, thus showing how designers have succeeded in making the clown even more terrifying.
If the chilling persona of Pennywise leaves you wanting more, you might also find the mysterious allure of Death Note‘s mind games captivating. For those interested in a villain with a side of unpredictability, Hisoka from “Hunter x Hunter” fits the bill.