Make a Dandy Mad Hatter Costume
Storybook Drama for Halloween
In 2008, I dressed up as the Mad Hatter for our elementary school's October storybook costume parade. Child after child asked me who I was. The Librarian (dressed as Little Bo Peep) and I lamented over our students not knowing this standard literary classic.The Alice in Wonderland Movie came out spring of 2010. That fall, I dressed up again for the parade. This time almost all the kids recognized me. "I know who you are! You're Johnny Dep!"
Just kidding, most knew I was the MAD HATTER. Actually not all kidding, I did get asked a lot if I was supposed to be Johnny Dep! During my music classes dressed in costume, I took some of my class time to explain how the phrase 'Mad as a Hatter' came about in real life. Now that this movie has been out, hopefully families will either read the book with their children or have them read it.
I made my Mad Hatter costume. The only thing I really had to buy was this great oversized hat and an inexpensive miniature tea set. You may need to fill in some things at a thrift shop.All photos are mine except where noted.
Start with the Hat - Try this on for size.
"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Hatter "let's all move one place on."
The Mad Hatter Hat
Twinkle, twinkle little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly
Like a teatray in the sky.
--quote by Lewis Carroll in the public domain
The Hatter in the Story
I found the Mat Hatter the most interesting character in Alice in Wonderland. Before I knew the real life details that in the 18th and 19th century, Hatters often started to act irrationally after becoming poisoned from the mercury they used to cure hats, I just thought he was quirky. I liked how he developed his own rules for his own idea of how you conduct a tea party. He had his own kind of sense like all the creatures in Wonderland and
Your Put-Together Costume
List of Items
- Tea set necklace
- White business man's shirt
- Black pants that taper to the ankle (or you can pin them back to look more narrow.
Coat with Tails
How to Make a Tie-dye Coat with Tails
This coat required NO SEWING but a lot of TYING!
This particular coat was actually made to wear for my rock shows. A very talented bandmate (thanks Meegan) was designing clothes like this and selling them in East Village shops.
She made this for me. I can't tell you exactly her process, but here are the basics.The materials you'll need:
- White cotton medical coat or lab coat(mine was an old one of my Dad's who was a physician)
- White cotton string different thicknesess
- Rit dye in several colors
- Fabric scissors
- Big rubber tubs
- Nimble fingers (lots of dyeing, cutting, and tying)
Procedure: I'm pretty sure she dyed both the overcoat, and string - traveling from tub to tub, tying them with rubberbands and trying to get a gradient look. She may even have used rubber gloves. You may need to experiment on plain white cotton cloths first to make sure it's the way you want. Let it all air dry.Now the fun part, you need to design and then start cutting.
Make tails for the lab coat
Add string fringe to hems and pockets
If you're brave, try to create a sleeve out of thin strips of cloth.
Have fun and make it your own!
Coat with Tails Photos - Made From a Lab CoatClick thumbnail to view full-size
To Rent or Buy Digitally. This TV movie from 1999 was surprisingly good. My favorite character was Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle.
The Final Result
I did not wear makeup, but you can jazz it up with makeup and a wig like the movie, if you wish. You could also add a floppy bow tie or cravat. This costume can easily be adapted for a child.I used this every Halloween and every Costume Parade until I decided to change one year and become DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba. Now EVERY kid knew who THAT was!