When I initially started organising our Church Nativity I used to find costumes a massive problem, due to the fact that we have a blended age group of children in our cast, and the amount of kids changes every year. One year Mary might be played by a small 5 year old, and the following year by a tall 9 year old, so the same outfit wouldn’t work! Plus, if we were blessed with the same kids continuing to attend, the WHOLE WARDROBE of costumes would need to be bigger, not just a few. Hence, for many years, we have developed a stock of varying sized outfits that will suit a number of purposes, but below are a few hints and ideas to assist those of you that are still working towards that.
The details of the outfits
SHEPHERDS, INNKEEPERS, JOSEPH
Use dull colors and affordable looking material (gray, brown tweed/linen effect) for the tunics.
Use the waistcoats to include contrast and make them look different from one another.
Maybe make use of striped, patterned material for the shepherds and plain for Joseph. Perhaps make the shepherds’ waistcoats all in the very same material but various lengths and sizes so that you have a theme, but some variety.
Use white, satin-look material so that it has a result of purity. Do not be afraid to ask if any of the kids have an outfit of their own, as they invariably do if they enjoy dressing up in the house.
Have lots of gold and silver tinsel to make basic halos, and to use as belts to hitch up any tunics that are too long. If you have an extremely tall angel (or if, like me, you have some ‘good for a laugh’ teenagers joining in as comic angels!) just wear white pants and a white t-shirt. Again, ask whether they have their own, as many school t-shirts are plain white.
Use the basic tunic, hitched up with a belt of some sort; perhaps a dressing gown belt, or a really brightly colored cord (perhaps even a drape tieback cord).
Do not believe that the crowns have to be anything expensive. Simply a piece of silver or gold card wrapped around to the size of the head, with some stick on gems or shine will be okay.
Try to keep the mixes of cape and tunic flexible so that they will interchange to offer even more choices as your wardrobe of costumes hopefully grows for many years.
We tend to use blue as the color of Mary’s outfit to make her significantly distinct and recognisable as a character. The most flexible mix we have actually made use of has actually been a basic blue tunic of medium length which worked for little and medium sized kids. We also added a long blue gathered skirt which could be worn with it for a bigger sized kid to play Mary.
Fasten some fuzzy ears to ladies hairbands for the donkey, sheep, cows and so on. Make waistcoats as above in fleece product for sheep or black and white product for cattles etc, and wear appropriate color trousers or thick tights or leggings. (Do not forget to tuck a tail in at the back for full effect). Alternatively, make use of face paint, or masks.
Shepherds: Make the crook from a long piece of yard staff and use something flexible, like a coat-hanger, to make the crook shape, then cover it with duct tape. Keep in mind that you’ll need a cuddly lamb too.
Kings: You’ll require something to serve as gold: simply make a brick shape of cardboard if you don’t have anything ideal. For frankincense and myrrh, simply make use of a few bronzed looking containers (something that looks suitable for fluid).
A manger and a baby; honestly, I have actually been spoilt because we had assistance from a member of the congregation who made a manger for us! However, if you don’t have that advantage, simply use a wooden crate for the rustic look, or a cardboard box repainted to look wooden. Remember a doll, ideally with a basic cloth wrapped around him as the swaddling bands.
Do not try to make the costumes too perfect or ‘show-like’. The simpleness makes it more unique and charming! Even better, let the kids make their own crown, halo or animal mask etc for a personal touch.
Wardrobe Ideas For A Nativity Play