Create a Pippi Longstocking costume with materials you have on hand or find in a thrift store, such as mismatching knee socks, a blue jumper dress -- and for the only challenging part of the costume, a wire coat hanger to support her pigtails to make them stick straight out. If your hair is too short, purchase a costume wig with long red hair, which you can use to create the wacky signature hairstyle.
The creation of the Hans Christian Anderson award-winning author, Astrid Lingren (1907 to 2002), Pippi Longstocking is an exuberant, kind but highly independent 9-year-old girl. Her last name alludes to her thigh-high knee socks, often mismatched, and her seafaring father. Pippi lives alone in an abandoned house with her monkey and horse. She teaches her neighborhood friends the joys of independence -- jumping on the bed as often as she pleases and doing things her way. Her attitudes are contagious but not always to adults and especially not by the crooks she foils using her quick wit and superhuman strength. Pippi Longstocking movies include The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Those crazy pigtails spring from Pippy's lack of concern for convention and braiding her hair too tightly.
To create Pippi's signature braids, follow this procedure:
Things You'll Need
- Metal coat hanger
- 4 ponytail elastics
- Cloth headband or similar cushiony material
Straighten the hanger
Pull the coat hanger open and straighten it. Use pliers if needed.
Make the ponytails
Part hair in the middle, and comb it into two ponytails, securing it above the ears with elastic ponytail holders.
To get Pippi's vibrant red hair, consider a temporary hair color. Whether brushed on, sprayed on or massaged into the hair, use coloring safe for kids that can easily be washed off hair and scalp.
Make a semicircle
Bend the wire so that the center of it forms a semicircle.
Place the wire over the head, molding the semicircle of wire to fit like a headband. This will support the sections braided into the hair so they don't flop down under the hair's weight.
Hide the wire
For comfort and to hide the wire of the headband section, twine a soft piece of cushy material around it. Leave the excess wire intact.
Stick it out
Beginning where the headband part reaches the ponytails, bend the wire on each side of the head straight out.
Cut the excess wire
Grasping the end of each ponytail, hold them against the wires. Mark the wire about a few inches above where the ponytail ends, and cut the wire with wire clippers.
Braid and secure
Braid the ponytails tightly around the wires, and secure each braid when you reach a point at which the wire's hidden, and you have a little free-flying ponytail left.
Bend the wires
Sometimes Pippi's braids stuck arrow-straight out, and at other times, they formed wide upward loops. Bend them to create the look you want.
Pad the wire's ends to ensure anyone bumping into the wild pigtails doesn't get hurt. Fold a paper towel or scrap of material over a few times to create thickness, and secure it to the wire with duct or electric tape.
Things You'll Need
- Knee socks, plain or with mismatched patterns
- Tops cut from two knee socks (optional)
- Permanent markers (optional)
- Fabric paint (optional)
- Leg warmers (optional)
Ways to Create Pippi's Stockings
Select two pairs of knee socks. The first pair will be worn as knee socks. It they're mismatched already, all the better. If they're plain, brighten them up with markers or fabric paints, adding stripes or other designs to them.
Cut the upper sections off the second pair of knee socks, and fit these on the child's legs so they extend over the top of the first pair of knee socks to about mid-thigh. Alternatively, use leg warmers instead of knee sock tops for the extensions. Mix and match as you please. Pippi would be proud.
Things You'll Need
- Blue jumper dress
- Classic Pippi top: This may be a turtleneck, red-and-white striped jersey or other top you've seen in one of her movies and books and that you have on hand or can inexpensively and easily acquire.
- Colorful fabric scraps
In the book series and in the American-made movie, The New Adventures of Pippi Locstocking, Pippi wore a blue jumper, but in other versions, including the Swedish, Pippi alternately wore pink and checkered green jumpers and blue jumpers.
Cindy Blankenship, a California native, began reporting in 1996 for the Grants Pass Daily Courier after teaching in Hawaii where she lived 14 years. As assistant editor at the Rogue River Press, she wrote and edited several stories that earned awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Her writing appears in numerous publications.