Michael Jackson's "Beat It" Costumes for Kids

by Alice Drinkworth

Today's kids are too young to remember when "Beat It" was the number-one song on the charts in 1983, but they are not too young to enjoy dressing as Michael Jackson at the peak of his reign as "King of Pop." Michael Jackson had a distinctive style in the '80s, when his "Beat It" video was being aired on MTV. Create a costume with simple basics and one or two pieces that show Jackson's distinctive taste for a memorable and easily recognizable child's costume.

About "Beat It"

"Beat It" was released in 1983 as the third single off Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album. The song won a Grammy Award as Record of the Year. In it, Jackson wrote about gang activity and life on the streets. The music video reflects his vision by depicting a highly choreographed confrontation between well-dressed rival gangs. One is dressed in black, the other in white.

The Jacket

The jacket is the most important element when putting together a Michael Jackson costume from this era. Jackson wore a red leather jacket with stud detailing at the shoulders for the "Beat It" video. If you are lucky enough to find a red leather (or leather-looking) jacket from a thrift store, you can enhance it by adding silver studs, rhinestones or other details. Color is not crucial, but shape is. Jackson did not wear puffy bomber jackets. Look for jackets that fit close to the body, have substantial shoulders (in details or in shoulder pads), are cut at the waist and have a collar. Be sure to turn the collar up and roll or push the sleeves to the elbows.

The Outfit

The base outfit Michael Jackson wore in "Beat It" was his usual wear -- close-fitting black pants that were too short, white socks and black loafers. Top this combination with a plain white T-shirt under the jacket.

The Glove

The accessories often make the outfit, especially when it comes to costumes. Michael Jackson wore a white sequined glove on his right hand during the '80s. Although he did not wear it in the "Beat It" video, it was a recognizable accessory during the tour for "Thriller." Add sequins to a stretch white winter glove for an extra touch for your child's Michael Jackson costume.

The Hat

Michael Jackson often wore a fedora hat in the early-to-mid-'80s, and it can be an identifying accessory for a costume. A black fedora, worn low on the forehead, will show off a Michael Jackson sense of style.