Ideas for Costumes Based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

Updated on November 16, 2016
Costumes for various characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol"
Costumes for various characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" | Source

Costumes Ideas Inspired by "A Christmas Carol"

Charles Dickens's timeless novel, A Christmas Carol, has been regarded as a classic since the time it was first published. Its undying popularity is due to the fact that the story deals with the very core of human nature in a way all of us can relate to and understand clearly.

Many people identify with at least one of his characters. Others inevitably remind us of people we've encountered throughout life.

By bringing together this cast of characters, the story brings us face to face with the nature of humanity. Combine this moving theme with the setting of Christmas, a season of family, friends, and giving, and you have all the elements of an awesome story. Of course, Dickens did just that.

In order to create a terrific costume based upon this classic tale, you need to recreate the clothing from the period of time in which the story was written and set. Period costumes are cool even outside of Christmas plays and theater because they have an appealing and distinctive look. And of course Scrooge and the Christmas ghosts make fun costumes, not only for you, but for everyone whom you encounter.

To make it even better, some people memorize a few lines spoken by the character they're dressing up as in order to boost the effectiveness of their costume. Great fun!

Finally, the characters from A Christmas Carol make a fantastic group costume for going out caroling. It doesn't get much more festive than singing Christmas carols in period costumes.

Below are some characters you can choose from for your costume.

Cast of Characters and Their Defining Characteristics

Ebenezer Scrooge
You can dress as Scrooge the business man by wearing a suit. However, it is more popular to dress as Scrooge does when the ghosts arrive—in a nightgown and slippers.
Tiny Tim
Carry a crutch and wear a battered vest and cap.
Jacob Marley
Wear ghostly face paint and heavy chains.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
For this costume, you want your head to appear as though it's glowing. Wear a cap over a few glow sticks.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Wear a green robe. Any Christmassy decorations are a plus.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Wear a hooded black robe.
Wear a beautiful Victorian dress.
Bob Cratchit
Wear shabby clothing and a mild demeanor.
Peter Cratchit
Wear a stiff-collared shirt.
Martha Cratchit
This is a fun one—Martha designs, makes, and sells hats, so that can be a defining element of her costume.
Mrs. Cratchit
Wear worn-looking Victorian clothing.

Photo Gallery for Inspiration

Looking at how other made their costumes is a great way to find inspiration for your own. Now let's look at how some people made their costumes.

Period Costumes


The Background for "Carol"

Dickens lived and set his story in the Victorian era. Period pieces from the era have a magnificent look that goes well with the holiday season.

Here, we have a group called the "Charles Dickens Carolers." As you can see, they incorporate the costume theme into their performance—a must, because of their name.

Many plays tone down the look, especially that of the women; in comparison, this is an awesome and lively interpretation of how people of that day dressed. And it is also a good depiction of Victorian dress. Overall, these are great costumes.

Wouldn't it be great to dress up like this as a family at the Christmas dinner? The resulting photos would always remind you of that special day, and future generations will be sure to appreciate the over-the-top family photo.

Group Costume Perfect for Carolers

A Christmas Carol Costumes
A Christmas Carol Costumes | Source

Here is a group photo of the various characters in A Christmas Carol to help you get a good look at whichever one you decide to emulate.

It's good cross section of clothing you could find at a thrift shop with higher quality outfits. My favorite part of the outfits are the beautiful period capelets the women wear. The hats are also very attractive.

Scrooge in Business and Nightgown Outfits

Scrooge Costumes
Scrooge Costumes | Source

To me, the best way to dress up as Scrooge would be to appear in the nightgown. After all, the majority of the story centers around the ghosts' visits in the middle of the night. But some may like to dress up as the wealthy version of Scrooge because the costume looks really cool.

Though I believe the gown would get the most comments and chuckles, Scrooge is one of the most recognizable characters whether dressed in a nightgown or a business suit. People will truly enjoy the sight of his grumpy face during the holiday season.

Jacob Marley Costume


Jacob Marley's ghost is one of the more important characters in Dickens' novelhe is the apparition who warns Scrooge about the three ghosts that will visit him. Marley was Scrooge's business partner who died and is now facing eternity; he urges Scrooge to take the right path in order to avoid becoming a shackled ghost like himself.

Costume-wise, this character is my favorite of the four ghosts, as he is carrying around all those chains and padlocks—great material to creatively represent or interpret the ghost.

Ghost of Christmas Past
Ghost of Christmas Past | Source
Ghost of Christmas Present
Ghost of Christmas Present | Source
Ghost of Christmas Future
Ghost of Christmas Future | Source

Costume Ideas for the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Next we have costumes representing the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. My favorite among those three is the ghost of Christmas future; I enjoy the ominous feel of its message regarding Scrooge's future if he doesn't change. Here, the cowled head and robe add to the tension associated with the scene.

I've only included one interpretation of each of these ghosts, but they do give some good ideas on how to put together a costume. You can either make the entire costume by hand or buy various items to create the look you are going for.

Tiny Tim

This group costume provides a great look at a number of different characters. It is included here because it features one of the better Tiny Tim costumes. It would be fairly simple to put together; the hat would probably be the biggest challenge to find.

The character of Tiny Tim is a major character in the life of Scrooge. The ghosts used Tim as a challenge to Scrooge's way of life, and he and his family are the recipients Scrooge's newfound generosity at the end of the book.

Because Tiny Tim was a poor person in the story, his costume or look isn't that difficult to recreate, although one has to be careful to capture the essence of who he is. You won't miss if you dress up a child like this to portray the struggling youth.

Final Thoughts

When viewing the various characters from Dickens's A Christmas Carol, you can see why they're such a compelling group of costumes to choose from.

Since their Victorian period dress is fantastic, the clothing looks great on its own and can be used for many different costumes. But add the clothing to the classic book, its important themes, and the Christmas season, and you have a fantastic costume to wear.

Costumes based on this novel work well for the Christmas season and are an option that a family or group of friends can decide to do together.

No matter why you dress up or which one you dress up as, choosing to be a character from A Christmas Carol will be a choice you'll never regret and a pleasant Christmas memory you'll always remember.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 MakinBacon


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      • ajwrites57 profile image

        AJ 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

        Looks like fun!

      • TopTenChristmas profile image

        Brandon Hart 4 years ago

        Dressing up at Christmas time is always fun. We do a dressup party for our white elephant exchange so this is perfect for that or Halloween coming up!

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

        The costumes are indeed a part of Dickens' Christmas Carol. It always pops in the head together. Like the Charleston dance, those costumes pop in mind they wore back then.