Did You Know?
Ever since the Alice in Wonderland movie came out, the Mad Hatter outfit has become highly sought after for costume parties. But what do you know about this ever popular character? Did you know that the term "mad as a hatter" had been around long before the Alice in Wonderland story? It came from the time hat makers were prevalent in England, they would use mercury to produce the felt material in hats, and in doing so were susceptible to the negative effects this element had. And did you know that the Mad Hatter was never called the Mad Hatter in the book? He's simply The Hatter thanks to his most obvious characteristic. Also, the "10/6 " on the hat means ten shillings and six pence.
The Costume in Movies
The movie itself has a gothic feel to it which is, as we all know, Tim Burton's signature way of making movies, and there are a lot of costumes that resemble the character in the movie. The orange hair and the reddening under the eyes were meant to symbolize the mercury poison the character received from making hats, further paralleling the phrase "mad as a hatter". And of course that helped in producing the gothic look and feel of Johnny Deep's character. The movie was a hit at the box office grabbing the 20th spot of all time ticket sales, and now you'll see many variations of the popular costume worn in the film.
A Cheery Costume
If you're not into the gothic style, there are other more colorful outfits you can wear. I mean if you think about it, The Hatter should be a grateful person always being able to hold tea parties at any given moment since time was eternally halted for him at 6 pm - that's a less harsher sentence than what the Queen of Hearts wanted to do to him. And of course, you don't have to don the Mad Hatter outfit if planning the party, just including him on the tea party invitations will get imaginations running and people excited about your event.
The Hatter is such a popular and well-known character that you can find him in numerous comic adaptations. He was in the original Batman series as well as the cartoon which aired in the 90s. Because of the twisted nature of the character, he's one of the villains the caped crusader routinely has to defeat. The Mad Hatter in the series was delusional, yet a genius in neurological technology. He actually invents a mind-controlling device, in keeping with the twisted mind theme, so he can control others into doing his bidding. In the first episode he appears in the Batman cartoon series, he has a blond-haired secretary who resembles the sweet and innocent Alice and desires to do anything he can to win her heart, even if it means taking over her mind. Of course the plot is foiled by Batman, but that doesn't mean he's down for the count.
The Looking Glass Wars
Another comic adaptation is actually a graphic novel by Frank Beddor. It's a trilogy titled "The Looking Glass Wars" and basically turns the story into a thriller. In the first book, the author suggests that the story is fiction, but Wonderland and all the characters therein are real with a few of them either professionally trained assassins or bodyguards. Alice (spelled Alyss in the book) and her body guard Hatter M, escape Wonderland after getting into some trouble and enter the real world. When they explain to other people of their daring escape, they receive nothing but dumbfounded looks all around. The two are separated for thirteen years with each taking different paths in life - The Hatter holding true to the hope of returning to Wonderland, and Alyss despising her imagination, thereby giving up hope altogether. After thirteen years they're finally reunited thanks to the Alice in Wonderland book by Lewis Caroll. In this adaptation, instead of being twisted - even though he does wield a knife - he's at least the good guy.
More to Come
You can find Mad Hatter costumes at online retailers or in your local costume shop. Whatever your style is - whether fun and cheery, or gothic and dark - there are many available that you can choose from. There are sure to be more comic book adaptations of this ever tea drinking character in the future and possibly more movies that'll help inspire more costume designs.