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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Too bad the Vroom Broom wasn’t included.
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I like to look back at our collectively-shared Pop Culture history and write about it, but mostly I try to buy it all back off eBay.