You might say, "What is a 'Hobo Clown,’ anyway?" Well...
A Hobo Clown is:
a sad and lovable tramp.
Everyone loves them.
Hey, that was a haiku. Anyway, hobo clowns, comedic caricatures of downtrodden tramps and hobos, were popularized in the depression era United States by the late Emmet Kelly. Kelly, in the role of “Weary Willie,” first introduced the hobo clown to American audiences, who found his underdog antics to be instantly lovable, and sometimes, even relatable. To learn more about Emmett Kelly and Weary Willie, do a quick Google search. A little research could go a long way in helping you flesh-out your costume.
So, you’ve done some research, read a pretty terrible haiku, and you want to make your own hobo clown costume. Before we get started, here are some notes:
- About 90% of the materials my fiancé and I used, we found at thrift stores. About 5%, we gathered from a craft store, and the remaining 5% we got from a local Wal-Mart.
- The overall cost for our costumes was about $70 each. The good news: that figure is on the high-end. Your cost could be significantly less, depending on what you have lying around your home.
- It took about two nights to make the costumes and less than an hour to do the makeup. That being said, this is definitely a costume that can be completed in a day.
If you’re still down, continue on and we’ll get started by gathering the materials.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind while gathering the pieces of your costume. When it comes to articles of clothing, you typically DO NOT want to color coordinate. Also, GO LARGE. The bigger the jacket, the baggier the pants, the floppier the shoes, the better your costume will be.
To make a hobo clown costume in the same fashion as we did, you’ll need to get your hands on the following:
- Suit jacket
- Dress slacks
- The largest dress shoes you can find
- Button-down shirt (either dress or flannel)
- Tie or bowtie (an exception to the rule, ties are sometimes funnier when they are excessively small. My tie was actually a boy’s clip-on.)
- Suspenders (these actually need to be functional and fit; they'll need to hold up your pants!)
- Knit or wool gloves
- Quilting squares
- Liquid Stitch
- A top or derby hat
- Clown nose
- Fake flower
- Inexpensive makeup kit
- Triangle makeup sponges
- Duct tape
- Thread and needle (optional; you can actually make this entire costume without a stitch if you can find all the right materials).
- Large boxer shorts (optional; as your slacks will be considerably large, you may want some larger unmentionables to cover up your… unmentionables)
- Bandanna (optional; you may want to make a hobo suitcase!)
So you’ve gone shopping (or rummaging) and you’ve got your hobo gear. Continue on and we’ll start putting it all together.