The Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is a classic character. There are two distinctly different directions that can be taken for making a Mad Hatter costume. There is the children's storybook character as seen in the Disney adaptation of the story. There is also the potential to make a darker version of the costume more similar to the one seen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland film.
There are some parts of the costume that must be maintained for any Mad Hatter costume. The Mad Hatter must have a large top hat. There should also be a white card or tag in the hat band that read "10/6." The "10/6" is a joke from the story that the hat is for sale. Typically, the Mad Hatter's hair is long enough to stick out from underneath the hat. A tea cup and saucer are nice accessories to include with the costume. The Mad Hatter should have an oversized bow tie.
Disney-Style Mad Hatter
The more cartoon style Mad Hatter costumes should use very brightly colours for the tie, hat, jacket, and vest. The exact colours do not matter too much. Usually the hat is green; the vest, tie and hat band are blue; and the jacket is yellow or green. One easy way to make the costume is to sew felt over a thrift store suit to get the right colour. The same can be done for the hat as well. This version of the Mad Hatter typically has a much smaller bow tie, so a regular-sized one can be used. The tie just needs to be a bright colour to look appropriate for the costume. A large prosthetic nose can be a nice touch, but it is not strictly necessary.
Darker Mad Hatter
The darker Mad Hatter, as portrayed by Johnny Depp in Burton's film, has all the same elements as the Disney-style costume, but the final details change the overall appearance. Make-up serves a big part of making the costume more disturbing. The entire face should be covered in white make-up, with red lips, blush and eye shadow. The blush and eye shadow should both be applied very thickly. The "10/6" tag in the hat should about the size of an actual price tag. The suit should look like a real suit, but a very old, second-hand one. A good way to get this is to simply just buy an old suit from a thrift store.