Did you go as the PUSHMI-PULLYU for Halloween?

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What’s a Pushmi-Pullyu, you ask?

It is none other than the fabled double-headed llama from the 1967 musical motion picture DOCTOR DOLITTLE.

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Who is Doctor Dolittle, you ask further?

Take a moment to watch this one minute trailer for the 1967 musical motion picture starring Rex Harrison in the title role.

[source: youtube: robatsea2009]

“A double-headed llama”, you continue to ask, “does that mean this is a costume for two?!”

That would be amazing, but impractical so, no, the Collegeville Costumes’ Pushmi-Pullyu is a typical dimestore boxed costume for just one child to wear.

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This is a late ’60s, cloth-material jumper costume with long sleeves and long pant legs. This is a good example of the better quality costumes of the ’50s and ’60s (as opposed to the stiff, sleeveless vinyl smocks manufactured for costumes in the ’70s and ’80s). What makes the Pushmi-Pullyu costume really stand out is the uniqueness of the mask!

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That’s right, you wore a Pushmi-Pullyu on your face.

Covering just the eyes and the bridge of the nose, this partial-face mask is a wonderful modeling of the two-headed, circus-performing llama with the dual heads rising above the costume wearer’s own head like a pair of beast-of-burden-shaped antennae.

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This mask is one of the most unique designs in mass-produced children’s costuming. It is both wonderful and ridiculous at the same time; that’s why I think it’s so great. The costume that goes with this awesome mask is great in its own right too.

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The cloth costume, seen here with the pant legs folded up underneath, has a wonderfully stylish illustration of the Pushmi-Pullyu on the torso and the animal’s name right below it to help the more befuddled trick-or-treaters figure out exactly what you were dressed up as. The DOCTOR DOLITTLE film was fairly popular in 1967 so I wonder if the lack of knowledge about the Pushmi-Pullyu was even an issue that year. Nevertheless it was all spelled out all over your body to inform everyone who saw you.

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The Pushmi-Pullyu costume, is altogether charming and quite special with its unique approach in representing its unique subject, which I credit completely to its double-headed llama mask. This was the main reason why I wished to add the Pushmi-Pullyu to my vintage Halloween costume collection. After all, how often does one get a chance to dress up with two heads?

Did you go as H.R. Pufnstuf’s WITCHIEPOO for Halloween?

If you were to go as any character from a Sid & Marty Krofft children’s television program, none would be more appropriate for a creepy Halloween costume than practically every character found in 1969’s H.R. PUFNSTUF. I was a toddler when H.R. PUFNSTUF was first regularly broadcasting on television and I found that show both fascinating and frightening at the same time. There’s not a single individual found in this kindertraumatizing TV series who wouldn’t make a spooky subject for a costume.

One of the creepiest, and yet comical, characters of the show is none other than the main villain herself, Witchiepoo.

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Thanks to the Collegeville Flag & Manufacturing Company of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, children during the 1970s were able to go out on Halloween in costume as the cackling witch of Living Island, Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo.

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She is just one of two actual “real” persons in the show, Witchiepoo being portrayed by Billie Hayes while the other being the main protagonist Jimmy played by Jack Wild. The rest of the show’s cast are life-sized puppets and fully-costumed actors. You see, Living Island is a place where everything is, well, living!

If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing H.R. PUFNSTUF before, here’s the opening title sequence and the end credits to dazzle your eyes…

[source: youtube: TeeVees Greatest]

The Witchiepoo costume is a standard dimestore boxed kit with a plastic mask and vinyl smock. Even though the mask is an excellent rendition of the character as portrayed by the show’s actress Billie Hayes, the artwork on the smock is hardly an accurate image of  Witchiepoo as seen in the show.

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This particular Witchiepoo mask is the latter version put out by Collegeville. There are a few earlier versions where she has equal amounts of witchy auburn hair on both sides of her witchy face, even one with dayglo red “real hair”. The version I have is apparently the Vroom Broom windswept look.

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There are many other characters from H.R. PUFNSTUF who have been made into Halloween costumes, including the title character himself, and there are costumes of many other characters from many other Sid & Marty Krofft productions. The Witchiepoo costume is perhaps one of the more endearing of them. Witchiepoo is one of those laughable villains who, even though she may pose a threat to the show’s heroes, is in actuality her own worst enemy. Witchiepoo can never win because her own nature won’t allow that to happen. She’s very much a frustrated victim of her own shortcomings.

As a kid, that can be very relatable. Which is why there were children who dressed as Witchiepoo for Halloween back in the Seventies.

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Too bad the Vroom Broom wasn’t included.

Type “pufnstuf” in the Retroist site’s search bar to see more great posts such as:

Freddy the Flute