Alice In Wonderland is a popular choice for fancy dress costume parties all year round, as well as for Halloween. Whilst women and girls can choose to be Alice or the Queen, men have the Mad Hatter, or Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The Mad Hatter seems like a good Halloween outfit choice given those options.
You can buy some great off the shelf Mad Hatter Halloween costumes, either straight from the 2010 Johnny Depp movie, or more stylized versions based on the book. You can buy an outfit based on the 1940 film costume, but it’s terrible, so don’t. The modern Mad Hatter outfits do abandon the rabbit look altogether.
I’ll give you some options, either to buy a complete ready to go outfit, build your own from scratch, or a halfway house option where you can buy some elements to fit with your own look. The upside of off the peg is you have no worries about getting the look, but you may find yourself in the same Halloween costume as several other people. Creating or customizing your own may be more time consuming, but you’ll have an original look.
This works perfectly and is instantly recognizable as The Mad Hatter from the Johnny Depp portrayal in the 2010 Alice In Wonderland movie.
As with any store-bought costume, it’s wise to take it out of the pack as soon as you get it and hang it up to ease out the wrinkles. It will look better after pressing.
Don’t bother with the face-painting kit Amazon suggests you buy with it, it’s rubbish.
The black and white version looks great and have a slightly sinister, darker edge. It would work well for a monochrome, black and white themed party too for double service.
Press it to make it look fancier, and if you have the chance get the hat out early, pull it into shape and leave it sitting on something that holds that shape for a few days to settle it down. If you don’t have time, you can just stuff it with a ball of newspaper.
So the Mad Hatter is a male rabbit, but it’s Halloween, girls can be drug addled rodents too, right?
This outfit is cheery and fun, and whilst it’s not instantly recognizable as the Mad Hatter, it can be repurposed for any kind of fun tea party dress up occasion.
Buy Or Build?
Do you like to buy a complete Halloween outfit, or fashion a unique one yourself?
Build The Outfit
You can build an outfit that looks good quite cheaply. If you have a suit, or can borrow a suit then you have the core look. An out-sized suit looks good, possibly better than a well fitted suit, so don’t worry about a perfect fit.
You’ll need a colorful vest, preferably purple, red or burgundy. It’s surprising how many people have one lurking in a closet from a wedding or other event, so it’s often easy to borrow one, but they’re pretty cheap to buy as there’s not a lot of material involved.
A top hat is essential. Real felt top hats look marvelous, but are expensive. A costume one is fine. You can buy a Mad Hatter Halloween costume specific one, I’ll recommend a couple in the “Half Way House” section, but you can accessorize a cheaper plain one, and then you’ll have a hat that is more flexible for future Halloween or dress up events
Use a bright ribbon to attach to the top hat to perk it up and attach a price sticker made with a piece of card and a Sharpie. You may have something suitable lurking in your gift wrapping crates – everyone has those right? OK you may not have one, but I’m fairly certain you know someone who does. Add a cheap, yet functioning pocket watch for under $20. It really sets off the outfit and makes it look like you spent a lot more on it than you actually did.
If you have a keen tailor in the house they can make you a passable bow tie in any color, but the quickest and easiest route is to choose a giant clown bow tie.
Choose one robust enough to go into your dressing up box for future outings.
Not got a vest? How remiss of you.
This one is available in a few different color choices. You can pick one up for less than $20 and it can form the basis for many future Halloween or costume party outfits. Alternatively see if you can borrow one from someone who went to a wedding or had a style breakdown at some point.