How to Make a Riff Raff Costume

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Riff Raff is one of the main characters in the cult classic film "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Originally played by Richard O'Brien, the writer of the script, Riff Raff is equal parts ghoul, butler and mad scientist. While the clothing and general look will take some time to get right when making a Riff Raff costume, watch the film a time or three to get the proper voice and behavior of the character down as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Black pants
  • Black boots
  • Black jacket with tails
  • White vest
  • White suspenders
  • White spats
  • Blond wig
  • Bald cap
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Fingerless black gloves
  • Makeup
  • Create a wig for Riff Raff. The character has a bald pate with a horseshoe of stringy blond hair all around it. Some wigs on the market have this look, but you can cut out the center of a blond wig and glue it to a bald cap. Place the bald cap on your head and mark the wig where it needs to be cut. Cut out the center and use glue to attach the blond wig to the bald cap. Allow it to set and try it on once it's dry to be sure that it covers your natural hair.

  • Put on the components of Riff Raff's suit. The character wears a traditional butler's suit with a topcoat and tails and black pants, and the sleeves are just a little bit too short. He wears no shirt, but does wear a white tuxedo vest beneath. He also wears white spats over pointed-toe black boots. To be completely accurate, you'll also need black fingerless gloves (weightlifting or bike-riding gloves work well) and old-fashioned white suspenders under the vest.

  • Add finishing details. Slap some dust onto the shoulders of the coat and add makeup to your face. Riff Raff has a decidedly pale, corpse-like look to his skin, with dark circles around the eyes. A green wine bottle as a prop references a scene in the movie, as does a blood-stained cloth, which he keeps in his left inside pocket. Riff Raff also has a slight hump in his back, which you can use cloth padding to simulate, or which you can duplicate by stooping over.

Tips & Warnings

  • Watch the movie several times to get the character's voice and movements correct. The character is more than proper costuming, and his mannerisms are very recognizable.
  • Thrift stores are the best places to get authentic-looking pieces for Riff Raff's costume. Even in the film his clothes look old and secondhand, so using clothes genuinely in that condition adds realism to the costume.

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