I am an entertainment enthusiast with six years of experience as an online pop culture writer.
Costumes From the Wonderful World of Oz
The Wizard of Oz was created by L. Frank Baum in 1900. His books took us on a journey through the wonderful world of Oz. The stories about this magical land revolved around the whimsical and strange characters who lived there. Baum’s stories have grabbed readers' attention for over a century, and Oz books have continued to be written by different writers well after Baum’s death.
Countless movies have been made from his book, and people are constantly reimagining Baum's timeless tales. However, we will be focusing on costumes from the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland. This is the film most people are familiar with, and it has become a classic in itself.
Dorothy's Dress Often Gets a Different Cut
Dorothy Halloween costumes do a good job of capturing the distinct pattern and colors of the film’s wardrobe. However, the cut of the dress is under debate. In the movie, Dorothy’s dress goes past her knees and covers half her shins, but for Halloween, none go past the knees, and most don’t even cover a significant portion of the thighs.
The ruby slippers in the film had a very short heel, which makes sense for the long journey on the Yellow Brick Road. The Halloween costume's heels are too large to be practical for a long hike or trick-or-treating. Judy Garland’s white shirt was very proper for a young lady, but for Halloween costumes, there is a tendency to create a low-cut top.
Men's Scarecrow Costumes Stay True to the Original
Men's scarecrow Halloween costumes do a pretty good job of matching Ray Bolger’s clothes. There is some discrepancy in the colors, and they look a lot cleaner, but it is obvious who this costume represents.
Women's Scarecrows Have a Skimpier Look
However, women's Scarecrow Halloween costumes keep the basic idea and then add some of their own touches. The pants are switched out for a skirt. This is fine, except what is holding all the straw in? Given the cut of some of the shirts, these costumes don't hold much in overall.
Tin Man Costumes Are Changed to Be More Comfortable
A Halloween costume like the outfit worn by Jack Haley would be very expensive and difficult to move in, so designers use their creativity to make a close representation. For men, this consists of a full-body silver suit that, with some slight modifications, could also be used for a spaceman costume. The funnel hat, ax, and sometimes heart let people know this is the Tin Woodman of Oz.
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"Tin Woman" Costumes Are Just Made Smaller
The female Tin Woman had the largest variety of costume designs for characters in The Wizard of Oz. The silver color is kept, but the design teams took a lot of liberties with everything else. Instead of pants, knee-high and thigh-high boots were the preference to cover the lower half of the body. The mini skirts and dresses sure are not doing the job.
While Tin Man costumes are baggy, Tin Woman costumes are form-fitting. The bosom in all the costumes is cut low enough that there is no question about where the heart should go. The classic funnel hat looks nothing like it does in the movie. There was an attempt to make them look more feminine. While sometimes this was done with a ribbon, other times it looks more like a dunce cap.
The Cowardly Lion Gets a Makeover
Bert Lahr’s costume was made from real lion skin and weighed 90 pounds, so making an authentic Cowardly Lion costume for Halloween is a little impractical. (You’re welcome, PETA.) Men can buy almost any lion Halloween costume with their head replacing the face and say they are the Cowardly Lion.
Women's Lion Costumes Cover Much Less
Women can do the same thing, but the lion costumes marketed to them show a lot more than their faces. In fact, their design will probably make it difficult for many people to just focus on the face.
Wicked Witch Looks Like a Classic Witch
There is no shortage of witch Halloween costumes. These classical characters have been a staple of Halloween and its mass commercialization. Since many of these costumes are sold as "sexy" witches, I was surprised that more liberties were not taken in their design.
However, these Wicked Witch Halloween costumes stick pretty close to the garb worn by Margaret Hamilton. They tend to add green to what should be an all-black fabric, but green is closely associated with the Wicked Witch of the West. The one short skirt costume is nothing compared to what other witch costumes try to get away with.
The Flying Monkey Stays the Same
There were only two flying monkey Halloween costumes available for either men or women. They were a full-body grey monkey suit with a blue and red vest. The only option available was the full monkey mask or to use your own face. The hat size goes with whichever costume you pick. All other flying monkey costumes were for dogs.
Glinda the Good Witch's Outfit Became More Practical
The Glinda Halloween costumes get you thinking about the whole mentality of costume design. It is understandable that Billie Burke’s fairy costume would not be practical for people to wear on Halloween. The huge hoop dress and gigantic shoulder ruffles would make maneuvering in a crowded environment next to impossible. The tall tiara crown would make any doorway a challenge.
For Halloween, there is one simple puffy dress that has slightly exaggerated shoulders. By eliminating the hoop, it becomes a very practical costume. However, the other two costumes look like something that would be worn at a gentlemen’s club or in the boudoir. The fascinating thing is that all the Wicked Witch costumes are very close to the movie, but the good witch has more wicked options for her clothing choices.
The Wizard Starts to Looks Like a Cartoon
Frank Morgan wore a dark green suit. Once he stepped out from behind the curtain, his colors were very muted and not very flashy. Wizard Halloween costumes like to lighten up the shade of green and sometimes add a little bit more color. Of course, a nice suit just won’t work for a Halloween costume, so they tend to be more cartoonish in their design.
The Munchkins Didn't Change Much
The Munchkins and their Lollipop Guild were the first glimpse that the audience saw of Oz. With those initial images burned into people’s memories, it is no surprise that Munchkin Halloween Costumes are fairly close to the movie versions. They are obviously not made of high-quality fabric or as detailed, but people know who these costumes are supposed to represent, no matter what their size. Of course, the ballerina Munchkin could also be from a Dr. Seuss book, but we won’t split hairs.
The costumes above were displayed multiple times in google image search results. These are the sites that I went to for the images. If you know of an image that belongs to a different site, please let me know in the comment section below, and I will make sure to give appropriate credit.
Geekdom (author) on September 27, 2013:
Good Luck! I hope it helps you find your unique spin on Halloween.
Anna Christie from London, United Kingdom on September 27, 2013:
Will take a look at this hub I'm writing a few hubs on Halloween as well. Am following yours. Toya
Geekdom (author) on September 25, 2013:
Thanks. What do you mean likeness?
Robert Wilkinson from Huntington NY on September 25, 2013:
Ha! Awesome, how did you notice the likeness?