The Masked Peculiar Twins, also referred to as the Masked Ballerinas in the book version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, are played by a set of twin boys, Joseph and Thomas Odwell.
One of the most disturbing looking outfits of all of the peculiar children, the masked twins are an obvious twin attire for Halloween, but the double outfit idea could also be a creepy twin costume to use for friends, a boy and a girl, or even two girls. (Click on the creepy twin link to jump to the “how to” information)
A September promotional photo shoot in London featuring the telepathic twins from the Miss Peregrine movie had Londoners shocked, confused and maybe a trifle scared, wondering if their nightmares had come to life.
Many commuters were trying to make sense of what the masked duo were doing on the Tube and at Buckingham Palace, but ultimately discovered it was a unique way to promote the upcoming film, by the master of the peculiar, Tim Burton.
Image of Telepathic Peculiar Twins from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Who are the Masked Ballerinas?
Ransom Riggs, a collector of old anonymous found photos, used images he had found and ones from Robert Jackson’s collection as the basis to craft his story of peculiar children with special powers. The Masked Ballerinas were among the images used for the book.
When asked about the stories behind the photos, Riggs offered this explanation, for the images that inspired his peculiar tale and a few readers’ nightmares:
The photos are anonymous, long divorced from whatever context might have explained them, I don’t know what’s up with them any more than my readers do.
All I know is that they creep me out.
Each photo is an unsettling little mystery — and I like them that way.
The telepathic twins from the movie are featured in Rigg’s first book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as the Masked Ballerinas and the Snacking Ballerinas with photo credits to vintage photo collector and curator Robert Flynn Jackson.* (More on Mr. Jackson below)
The twins’ outfit for the movie is based on these two old anonymous found images. In the photos two children, possibly twins, are posing in Victorian style clothing, most likely Halloween dress-up attire.
They look to be a very disturbing combination of a clown, ghost and ballet dancer wearing an old fashioned white romper with white stockings and double buckle leather shoes with a complete hood and face mask.
Facial features are highlighted in the mask with painted eyebrows, lips and outlines on the eyes for an eerie, “creepy clown” effect.
If you look closely you can see that only one of the two twins masks has painted nostril holes, the one staring straight at the camera. One can only speculate on the true story behind this unsettling, nightmare-causing duo.
* For more on Robert Flynn Jackson, Curator Emeritus of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, see the online exhibit The Art of the American Snapshot 1888-1978 from the National Gallery of Art or his book on The Face in the Lens: Anonymous Photography.
Who are the Masked Telepathic Peculiar Twins?
Other than the photos and photo credits, the Masked Ballerina’s do not have much of a role in the books. In all likelihood Tim Burton liked the “creepy clown” element of these twins in the book and decided to incorporate them into the film version of the book.
In the video clip on “Meet the Peculiars: The Twins” Miss Peregrine introduces us to the telepathic masked and silent peculiars that share a special twin bond.
Peculiarity Designed by Award Winner Colleen Atwood
The costumes for Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children were designed by Colleen Atwood, three-time Academy Award winning designer for Best Costume Design. This is her eleventh film collaboration with Tim Burton.
In an interview for the Fashionista offered a few insights into the making of the twins unsettling face covering attire. Apparently the hood and face cover were fashioned from an old piece of handwoven wool, purchased in Turkey, though it looks like it might have been used all of the garments. You have to wonder how itchy the wool made wearing their outfit.
The Atwood remarked that the real life Odwell twosome did actually liked being weird and strange. These two acted very odd when wearing their face masks and costumes, which is quite evident with the London publicity photo shoot.
Comparing the Telepathic Peculiar Twins with the Originals
Colleen Atwood’s design for the movie’s peculiar twins incorporates many of the features of the Masked Ballerinas from the found old photographs with a nod to the Victorian era rather than World War II.
With a more simplistic, minimalist design for this pair, their complete head and ear coverings have face masks with smaller eye openings and tiny slits for the mouth and almost unnoticeable ones for the nose.
They also wear the off white linen vintage romper* that combines features of a clown, ballet dancer and ghost with the large over-sized clown-like gathered collar. The long sleeved romper is gathered at the wrists and below the knee. Their off-white shoes instead of straps, like the originals, are leather high tops with laces.
* A romper is a one-piece garment, a onesie that combines a blouse with bloomer-like pants.
Masked Peculiar Twins Costume Supplies
The list of clothing items and shoes needed for this costume from top to bottom include:
- Head covering or hood with padded ear coverings
- Fabric face covering
- Large ruffled collar
- Linen or muslin long sleeved romper suit
- White Stockings
- White Victorian leather high-top shoes
- Teddy Bear
Of course you need two of everything, except for the Teddy bear, who didn’t make it into the example photo above.
As with many of Colleen Atwood’s designs this outfit worn by the telepathic twosome is quite detailed. In deconstructing the design there are two options for recreating this vintage look.
- Premade Options – Modify existing clothes and costumes which can be revised and renovated in a few hours
- Sew Your Own – Use clothing patterns to sew your own which will take longer.
There are also a few commercial sites that have twin items available for purchase. By next Halloween there may be a few more, especially if the creepy clown craze dies down.
Premade Options to Modify for Adults
With the premade options below and to the right, I searched for existing Halloween costumes and Victorian-style, vintage nightgowns and Medieval Chemise (loose-fitting undergarment or nightdress) that can be adjusted and altered to create a stylized version that gives the impression of the telepathic twins garments.
Vintage-style linen or muslin nightgowns or chemises might be available at thrift stores or you can find reproductions on Amazon that can shortened. Pair the nightgown or chemise with a pair of old-fashioned bloomers (knee length vintage undergarments) and add a ruffled clown collar, Renaissance collar or wrap a lace white or off-white scarf around the neck.
For the various Halloween Costumes below you need to adjust them a bit depending on the costume.
One of the closest options is the Wicked Doll which comes with a lacy top and bloomers and just needs stockings to complete the look. With the Medieval Chemise (nightgown) add bloomers and a ruffled collar or an infinity scarf. The Heartbroken Clown comes with a hat, which isn’t needed and pom pom ‘buttons’ which need to be removed. Finish off whichever outfit you have chosen with the hood and mask (ideas below) or a modified version.
A big plus to altering existing garments is that you don’t need the additional recommended accessories.
The Semptress has a very helpful tutorial on making a 20 minute ruff, a Renaissance or clown collar.
Premade Options to Modify for Children
Premade options for children were more challenging to find. Remember that you need two of them for the twosome. Two options:
- Ivory colored romper
- Creepy, scary dress
The ivory colored romper (right) is a cute reusable option. It’s a bit short, but add an infinity scarf or a ruff, white shoes and stockings and you have an outfit that gives the impression of the twins.
The creepy, scary dress is and outfit that would well for girls, or by adding a pair of bloomers and the hood and replacing the voodoo doll with a teddy bear.
Costume Patterns to Make
For those wanting a more authentic look sewing a romper or nightdress and bloomers will let you create a more realistic and cosplay-worthy option.
Good patterns for adults include Kwik Sew K3106, Simplicity 5738, or Butterick 5854. For children include Butterick Patterns B5586, Simplicity 1575 and for toddlers Kwik Sew K3423. Many old vintage nightgown patterns will work.
Face Mask – Premade
Colleen Atwood might have been thinking about a balaclava* when she was designing the head coverings for the twins. The hood and face cover were made from an old piece of handwoven fine wool, that she had purchased in Turkey many years ago.
If you look closely at the image below you can see that the head covering was done in two pieces—a hood with a separate face mask and attached ear coverings. Her design has been adjusted from the original clown-like mask to a more minimalist look with the focus on the large triangular eyebrows and barely noticeable nose and mouth holes.
* A Balaclava is a late 19th century garment worn by soldiers serving in the Crimean War. This close-fitting garment covered the whole head and neck except for parts of the face. It was usually made from wool.
The easiest way to fashion a head covering is to use on the premade morphmasks, then color in eyebrows and cut tiny slits for the nose and the mouth.
Many Halloween carnivals and school functions do not allow children to wear masks which obviously is a problem for this look. In addition stores are pulling clown masks after the recent creepy clown scare.
A solution to manage these issues (and make the covering slightly less creepy) is to wear a single hole face mask and then add in the eyebrows and a tiny cut in the fabric for a mouth.
In place of the attached ear coverings you can wear a pair of white or off white ear muffs. The muffs will help in cold weather trick or treating.
Make Your Own Ski Mask or Balaclava
If you don’t want to purchase a ski mask or balaclava, you can make your own using fleece, which is a very forgiving fabric to sew.
Eyes and Eyebrow pattern
Use our online face mask pattern to help with the placement for the eyebrows, eye, nose and mouth openings.
Download the template and print to the size needed for your costume wearer.
With the template cut black fabric or felt in the triangle shapes for eyebrows and attach to the hood or balaclava.
Alternatively you can use the template shapes and color in the eyebrows on the mask or balaclava.
Cut holes for the eyes and smaller holes for the nose and mouth openings.
Accessories – Shoes, Stockings and Teddy Bear
Shoes and Stockings
The shoes and stockings are in the same color scheme as the romper, either a white or off white. For the movie version the duo wear leather high tops with laces. The options here are for adults. Use the Amazon search bar to check for children’s shoe and stocking options in the size you need.
Classic Teddy Bear
One of the most entertaining scenes from the initial movie trailer is of the boys squabbling over a Teddy Bear, which Miss Peregrine solves their argument by splitting the bear in two.
To add an aged Teddy Bear to the final outfit, create one that can be split in two.
- Drag the Teddy Bear around to age it and wear it.
- Carefully cut a bear in two pieces.
- Keep track of the stuffing.
- Cut out fabric that will cover the opening and keep the stuffing in place.
- Add Velcro or hook and loop tape to the fabric
- Stitch the fabric in place, replacing any stuffing as needed.
- Reattach the bear pieces so the Velcro sticks.
More Costume Ideas
To make it easier to find the different Miss Peregrine’s costume ideas we’ve created separate pages for the different characters. Clothing breakdown ideas pages for several of the other peculiar children costumes are in the works.
- DIY Miss Peregrine’s Costume Ideas
- DIY Miss Peregrine’s Makeup, Hair and Nails
- DIY Emma Bloom Costume Ideas from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
- DIY Olive Elephanta Costume Ideas from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Our Pinterest Board for Miss Peregrine & Peculiar Children Costumes
Visit our Pinterest Board where you will find a collection of ideas and images for making your own DIY’s featuring Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children Costumes
Stop by Pinterest and follow us for more ideas.