Halloween is on the way, and it's time to help your tween or teen put together a wonderful costume to amaze their friends and family. If you're looking to children's literature for costume ideas, Alice in Wonderland is one of the classics and has been adapted for comic books, television and movies. While some girls may dress up as Alice, and others prefer the Queen of Hearts or the Cheshire Cat, a Mad Hatter costume is a creative addition to a crowd of kids traipsing through the neighborhood or heading off to a cosplay event or Halloween party.
Start with the hat
While there are many portrayals of the Mad Hatter and his famous tea party, the hat with its 10/6 label tucked into the hatband is a central element to the costume. Pick an oversized top hat that matches the book's original illustrations or a colorful hat found at a thrift store, Amazon or other online vendor.
Video of the Day
You can choose a hat ranging from the green and dark green of the 1951 Disney film or the 1948 Batman No. 49 comic book, the black with a wide pink hatband worn by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's 2010 film adaptation, the gray and pink from the 1986 TV miniseries, or go completely cartoonish with a hot pink or bright red hat with a rainbow hatband.
If nothing suits your teen, and you have the time, you can also make a DIY Mad Hatter top hat out of cardboard, quilt batting or recycled foam padding, stretchy T-shirt fabric or felt, packing tape and fabric glue or hot glue.
It's just as easy to make multiple hats in other sizes and colors; coordinate with the teens to ensure you aren't making several more Halloween costume hats at the very last minute.
1. DIY Mad Hatter Hat
Making your own Mad Hatter hat allows you to build an extra-large or extremely tall bell-topped hat in whatever color your teen prefers. Just measure their head and cut out a cardboard brim with the flap to glue to the upper part of the hat. Measure and cut a piece of cardboard to the desired height, ensuring it is wide enough to roll and fit to the brim.
Cut a series of tabs in the cardboard, 1 inch wide, from the top of the hat to about halfway down. Fold the top tabs to make a 1-inch flaps; these will become the "bell" part of the Mad Hatter hat.
Cut a circle of cardboard as wide as you'd like for the top of the hat. Tape and glue the cardboard hat together, cover it with a layer of quilt batting or thin foam to soften the lines, then stretch and glue the fabric over the framework to make a Mad Hatter hat.
Choosing the Ascot
The ascot, or scarf, is the next important piece of an effective Mad Hatter costume. Matched with a button-up shirt with the collar turned up, a bright polka dot, checkered or plain scarf or oversized bow tie adds the colorful elements to finish the outfit. It may be the same fabric as the hatband or only include the hatband color in a bright pattern.
The Mad Hatter supervillain in the Batman comics wears a bright red scarf loosely tied into a bow-tie shape, while Disney's character features a bow tie that almost matches the green of his hat. Tim Burton's version uses a black, white and pastel orange and lavender scarf as an ascot, which is tucked into his jacket.
Choose the ascot or tie first, then coordinate the hat band and other costume elements with the patterns and colors in the fabric.
Assembling the Mad Hatter Costume
Plain, checkered or striped, choose a blazer and capris, pants or a skirt in your teen's favorite colors, green, red or black to complete the outfit. The clothing might match the hat and ascot, or the colors may clash wonderfully to make a true "mad" hatter. Underneath, put on tights or leggings and a long-sleeved T-shirt or long underwear for warmth if heading into the streets to trick or treat.
Put on comfortable boots or sneakers suited for walking when assembling a Halloween costume. Though an older teen may prefer high heels, they are better saved for indoor parties where seating is available.
Applying and Removing Makeup
Mad Hatter makeup can be as simple as a good moisturizer and foundation, blush, black eyeliner and mascara, and pink or red lipstick, or it can include a full-face makeover.
To duplicate Depp's portrayal, use white clown makeup over the entire face, then apply red under the eyes and green or teal on the eyelids. Black eyeliner and mascara provide a more conventional look, but novelty colors like white or green mascara add to the otherworldly appearance of the Mad Hatter. Red lipstick and, if desired, a bit of contouring to emphasize their cheekbones finishes the makeup.
Put on a frizzy red wig or brush out your teen's natural hair so it fluffs out under the hat. The bushy red eyebrows are optional — your teen may not like the wild, overgrown eyebrows, so consult with her before applying to her face. The classic Mad Hatter look doesn't include glitter, but if your teen loves the sparkle, go for it with glittery eye shadow, face paint, fingernails and temporary hair spray to dress up their Halloween costume.
Remove the makeup at the end of the night using makeup remover, coconut oil or cold cream, then a mild soap and warm water. Stubborn makeup may require baby oil or petroleum jelly. Remove glitter from skin and clothing with an adhesive lint roller, and wash temporary hair color out in the shower before hitting the pillow.
- IMDb: Alice in Wonderland (1951)
- The Economic Times: Mad Hatter Day: Interesting Facts About This Famous 'Alice in Wonderland' Character
- Felt Magnet: How to Build an Upcycled Mad Hatter Top Hat
- IMDb: Alice in Wonderland (2010)
- IMDb: Alice in Wonderland (1986)
- Cosmopolitan: 9 Foolproof Ways to Remove the Difficult Halloween Makeup You Applied Tonight