Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a childhood book staple by Roald Dahl, I have very fond memories of reading this book and ended up reading several of Dahl’s other works.
But when I watched the movie (the 2007 one with Johnny Depp) the oompa loompa stood out to me the most because thy were identical but there was so many of them and at that age I thought they were all individual people and wanted to adopt an oompa just like Wonka did.
However this article will be focused on the costumes for the older oompa loompas (1971) as I know they are more recognizable with their bright orange skin, green hair and white suit.
By the way if you are wondering what the picture of the dog is about, I thought it was pretty cool that an owner went to all of that trouble to dress their dog up and went as Wonka, you could use this image as a frame of reference for your own too even if you aren’t a canine yourself :).
The first step is to get the clothing sorted, we all know the oompas love to dress up in brown and white. Scour your local thrift stores for a decent brown turtle-neck, don’t worry nothing fancy.
Here’s where you’ll need to do some adapting when going the DIY route, the collar is black and white stripes so sew several lengths of white fabric around the collar until it looks right, then do the same for the wrists.
For convenience here is a complete outfit with the striped turtleneck, suspenders, jumpsuit, wig, gloves and foot covers.
The next part is the suspenders, simple as a pimple. Looking in thrift store again find a pair of white pants or for women you can opt for a skirt. Then pick up the suspenders for a few dollars and criss-cross them over your chest.
Hair and Make-up
The hair and make-up are the two key parts that make or break the outfit, the oompa loompas definitely weren’t trying to look good when they choose the orange and green combo but it sure makes them stand out.
There are two ways to do the hair, I’m sure your hair is not naturally green so you’ll need green dye spray or a wig either is fine and both have their pluses and minuses.
Above is a green elf/troll style curly wig that you can use, the rest of the items in the picture are not included and are for illustrative purposes only.
The dog above may not have face paint on but you will, you’ll end up looking like you’ve put on way too much fake tan. After you’ve thoroughly applied the orange paint to your face and neck the eyebrows are the next focus.
Loompa’s eyebrows stand out from their face, and that is saying something, colour them in either white or light grey and enhance them with an eyebrow brush to make them bushier.
Either paint your hands orange too or wear gloves to conceal them. While you can wear regular footwear (something you already own) but otherwise put on brown and white stripped knee length socks and a pair of brown shoes after that.
Hopefully you’ve ended up with someone like this (looking at this photo makes me think this outfit is perfect for twins), you can go solo or as a group of two or three with the third person being the great Chocolate maker himself. Have fun!