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Old Woman Costume Characters

Updated on August 23, 2017

Create an old woman costume for stage, Halloween, or for a play

Dress up in an old woman costume for Halloween, for a costume party, or even for fun. The costume character of the old woman is a favorite among actors, party-goers, and young people. Why? Because the old lady role is fun. Little old ladies are trotted out every day in movies, commercials, and TV shows. How many times have you seen the nosy old neighbor lady in a mystery or the busybody old woman in a movie? Old women show up as sweet grandmothers, raging hags, old crones, and wicked witches. We know them well.

Tyler Perry banked on the Old Woman character with Madea

Tyler Perry has built a career and a fortune from his "Madea" character, but he wasn't the first. Comic actors and comediennes have entertained us with their own versions of the old lady for years. Ruth Buzzi of Laugh-In fame captured the hearts of America with her depiction of the spinsterish Gladys whose purse packed a whallop. Later comedienne Vicki Lawrence gained fame as Mama, that razor-tongued, blue-haired angry grandma and matriarch of the Harper family in the TV show Mama's Family.

Are you up for a costume challenge?

Are you content to simply buy a costume and be done with it? Or would you rather accept the challenge of identifying and creating your own old woman character? Sure, you can find a frumpy dress, some baby powder to grey your hair, and a pair of orthopedic shoes. But wouldn't you like to do more? Halloween is the time to release your inner actor and take on the role of the old woman. Which old woman will it be?

Read on for more tips, suggestions and ideas to help you create your Halloween old woman costume.

Not every old women is sad

Not every old women is sad
Not every old women is sad

Act like an old woman

How does an old woman act? - Things to watch for with little old ladies

Think you might want to dress up like an old woman for the next costume party? Here's a fun way to research the actions of a little old lady.

How Not to Act Like a Little Old Lady
How Not to Act Like a Little Old Lady

The little old lady is a well known and beloved character with plenty of behaviors that are recognizable. Here's a way to learn them quickly and have fun at the same time.

 
How Not to Become a Little Old Lady
How Not to Become a Little Old Lady

Have fun learning some of the little "tells" that can quickly demonstrate the old lady character.

 

How to act the part of an old woman - Frances Bay as the old woman on Jerry Seinfeld

Ruth Buzzi as Gladys Ormphby from Laugh-In TV show - Ruth Buzzi roasts James Stewart - Dean Martin Roast

Ruth Buzzi wowed America with her portrayal of the dowdy spinster Gladyx Ormphby on Laugh-In. Every week she'd put on that old brown dress, put up her hair in a bun, cover her hair with hairnet, and whack someone with her big purse.

5 tips on how to act like an old lady - Create your own old woman costume and character

Transforming yourself into an old woman is more than putting on some old clothes and lining your face with wrinkles. Each old woman is different and unique. Here are some questions that will help you define your old woman character.

  1. What kind of personality does this old woman have? Is she happy, sad, silly, or just plain crabby?
  2. How does the old woman talk? Is she always flustered? Does she talk fast? Or is her speech short and stacatto as if she's mad all the time?
  3. Does this old woman have a lot of energy or is she a couch potato?
  4. How does this old woman dress? Does she care about her appearance?
  5. Does this old woman use a cane or a walker? Does she stoop and walk slowly, carefully? Or does she hold herself erect and act like she's a queen bossing everyone around?

Famous "Old Woman" Characters

Watch and Learn

Old Lady roles made famous by actors and comedians - Maude Frickert, Edna Turnblad, Dame Edna, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the famous Pepperpots

In addition to Ruth Buzzi and Frances Bay's famous old woman characters, many men have earned fame by donning the costume of an old woman.

  1. Jonathon Winters entertained us as the crusty Maude Frickert.
  2. John Travolta danced his way into our hearts in Hairspray with his loveable Edna Turnbald
  3. Barry Humphries made it real with Dame Edna.
  4. Robin Williams played the old woman to the hilt as Mrs. Doubtfire.
  5. The Monty Python group became Pepperpots, "screeching middle-aged, lower-middle class housewives."
  6. Tyler Perry gains fame as the infamous Mabel Simmons, otherwise known as Madea.

Maude Frickert and the other old woman - Tim Conway and Jonathan Winters

Monty Python - Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion

John Cleese is Mrs. Premise and Graham Chapman plays Mrs. Conclusion in the Monty Python sketch Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion visit Jean-Paul Sarte. Also in the sketch are Eric Idle as Mrs. Inference and Michael Palin, again, as Mrs. Sartre.

Famous "Old Lady" characters - Tyler Perry, Ruth Buzzi, and Carol Burnett dressed up as old women

Click thumbnail to view full-size
RUTH BUZZICAROL BURNETTTYLER PERRYMAMA's FAMILY
RUTH BUZZI
RUTH BUZZI
CAROL BURNETT
CAROL BURNETT
TYLER PERRY
TYLER PERRY
MAMA's FAMILY
MAMA's FAMILY

Faces of Old Women

Ceramic sculptor Philippe Farautâs sculpts an old man's eyes
Ceramic sculptor Philippe Farautâs sculpts an old man's eyes

Study the face of a very old woman

Learn how to look like an old woman

Are you ready to dress up as an old woman for Halloween? Then you'll want to look intently at the faces of the old women below. Study each face. What do their faces reveal about who they are?

Today's focus is so much on the young that the value of the old has tarnished. Women today are exterminators in the battle against creases and lines that tread upon their faces. They arm themselves with needles loaded with Botox, remedies that promise the return of youth. But is what revealed of the soul when a face is allowed to age naturally?

Take a look at the photos below and you tell me.

Image Credit. Ceramic artist sculpting an eye via Ceramic Arts Daily

Old woman in Lahic, Azerbaijan
Old woman in Lahic, Azerbaijan
African American woman working at quartermaster depot,  (1941-45)
African American woman working at quartermaster depot, (1941-45)
Old woman of Ladakh, India
Old woman of Ladakh, India
85 year old woman from Ivatan
85 year old woman from Ivatan
Sad, old Iranian woman wearing a black chador
Sad, old Iranian woman wearing a black chador
Elderly Gambian woman's face
Elderly Gambian woman's face
elderly woman, B&W by Chalmers Butterfield
elderly woman, B&W by Chalmers Butterfield

How to look like an old woman

Create your own "old woman" look - Quick tips on what to use to create an old lady's face

One actress = many faces - Frances Bay's many old woman faces

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Aunt Ginny The Middle  ABC via POP 2 itPhoto credit: Frances Bay as grandma, Happy Gilmore  via The Gossip WirePhoto credit: Frances Bay as Esmerelda, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) via Junta Juleil's Culture ShockPhoto credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Pickman, In the Mouth of Madness (1994) a>Photo credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Tremond, Twin Peaks via The Add Blog
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Aunt Ginny The Middle  ABC via POP 2 it
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Aunt Ginny The Middle ABC via POP 2 it
Photo credit: Frances Bay as grandma, Happy Gilmore  via The Gossip Wire
Photo credit: Frances Bay as grandma, Happy Gilmore via The Gossip Wire
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Esmerelda, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) via Junta Juleil's Culture Shock
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Esmerelda, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) via Junta Juleil's Culture Shock
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Pickman, In the Mouth of Madness (1994) a>
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Pickman, In the Mouth of Madness (1994) a>
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Tremond, Twin Peaks via The Add Blog
Photo credit: Frances Bay as Mrs. Tremond, Twin Peaks via The Add Blog

With a little bit of makeup, you can become an old woman - Dress up as an old woman, a grandma or even an old hag

This time-lapsed video shows the transformation from a young woman to an old woman, all using a few makeup tools to make it happen. Watch how it happens.

Old woman costume makeup for Halloween or any other time - Have an Old Lady Party using these old age makeup tricks

Makeup tools to create your "old woman" - The right tools can be a big help

TEKTON 7601 Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up Tool
TEKTON 7601 Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up Tool

Nothing like having a pick-up tool to make the job of applying makeup easier.

 
Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage Concealer 3.0 0.08 oz
Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage Concealer 3.0 0.08 oz

You can warm this up a bit before using by putting a little on the backside of your hand and apply with a brush.

 
bareMinerals Full Flawless Face Brush, 1 Count
bareMinerals Full Flawless Face Brush, 1 Count

This is a great brush. Highly recommend this for "old woman" makeup and for daily use.

 

Applying old lady makeup to a foam latex mask - Old woman make-up transformation with foam latex

Watch John Travolta become Edna Turnblad for the film Hairspray - Developing a character with makeup effects, costumes and props

Old woman costume props - Halloween costumes, old woman masks, old woman wigs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click on image to see tool. Click on blue link under image for more information.Mama - Old lady characterTry pink curlers.Lotta Slots Old Lady Gambler Adult Halloween MaskMother Superior CostumeTry a Queen Elizabeth White Wig as part of the Halloween costume.A simple Nanna Grandma grey wig works, too.
Click on image to see tool. Click on blue link under image for more information.
Click on image to see tool. Click on blue link under image for more information.
Mama - Old lady character
Mama - Old lady character
Try pink curlers.
Try pink curlers.
Lotta Slots Old Lady Gambler Adult Halloween Mask
Lotta Slots Old Lady Gambler Adult Halloween Mask
Mother Superior Costume
Mother Superior Costume
Try a Queen Elizabeth White Wig as part of the Halloween costume.
Try a Queen Elizabeth White Wig as part of the Halloween costume.
A simple Nanna Grandma grey wig works, too.
A simple Nanna Grandma grey wig works, too.

6 movies to study "old woman" roles - Old woman characters in movies

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click on image below, a link will appear below the photo for more information.Mrs. DoubtfireHairspray: Deluxe EditionThe Best of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-InMadea Goes to Jail (The Tyler Perry Collection)A Madea Christmas: The Play [Blu-ray]
Click on image below, a link will appear below the photo for more information.
Click on image below, a link will appear below the photo for more information.
Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire
Hairspray: Deluxe Edition
Hairspray: Deluxe Edition
The Best of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
The Best of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Madea Goes to Jail (The Tyler Perry Collection)
Madea Goes to Jail (The Tyler Perry Collection)
A Madea Christmas: The Play [Blu-ray]
A Madea Christmas: The Play [Blu-ray]

Costumes, Mardi Gras balls, and costume parties - Do you like to hide behind a mask? Take the poll

Wear this pheasant feathered mask to the Halloween ball
Wear this pheasant feathered mask to the Halloween ball

Halloween costume balls and Mardi Gras bring out the best in masks, don't you think? Pheasant Feather Mask

Have you dressed up and gone to a Halloween costume ball?

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Ready to wear an old woman costume for Halloween? - Share your rthoughts and what costumes you like

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      I'm afraid being an old woman isn't something I'd like to dress up as...I feel the years are slipping by quickly enough, LOL. However, your page will prove helpful for many who do want to become an old woman.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is fantastic. I don't even need make up.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image

      floppypoppygift1 5 years ago

      What a good idea for a fun costume! Your friends may not even recognize you! Cheers~cb

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I don't know if I will be personally, though I certainly think this is a great resource for those who do plan on it! :) Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens awesome pictures!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Great idea for a Halloween Costume Lens.

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 5 years ago

      What an inspiring costume page. I love the fact that you've included advice on how to act as an old lady as well as dress up as one.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Great ideas here - an enjoyable lens.

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      Great lens ViKK I really enjoyed the videos!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens...

      I recently started blogging on squidoo and I read various blog posts by searching on squidoo...

      i found your blog out there... My lens How to Get More Likes on Facebook

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Very neat and creative lens! A good variety of costumes! :]

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Wow! Truly a lot of great tips and advice for wearing an old woman costume. I have to admit, that is one I have never consider before :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      A very clever and different Halloween costume idea. I was only familiar with Mrs Doubtfire and Dame Edna, but can see many possibilities is this costume. One to try in 2012.