When I first started organising our Church Nativity I used to find costumes a massive challenge, because we have a blended age group of youngsters in our cast, and the level of youngsters changes every year. One year Mary might be played by a petite 5 year old, and the following year by a tall 9 year old, so the same costume would not work! Plus, if we were blessed with the very same kids continuing to attend, the WHOLE WARDROBE of costumes would need to be larger, not just a few. For this reason, for many years, we have developed a stock of differing sized costumes that will suit numerous purposes, however below are a couple of hints and pointers to help those of you that are still working towards that.
The details of the costumes
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 use 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 style, but some range.
Use white, satin-look material so that it has an outcome of purity. Do not be afraid to ask if any of the kids have a costume of their own, as they inevitably do if they love dressing up at home.
Have lots of gold and silver tinsel to make basic halos, and to make use of as belts to hitch up any tunics that are too long. If you have a really tall angel (or if, like me, you have some ‘good for a laugh’ teens participating as comic angels!) just wear white pants and a white t-shirt. Once 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 brightly colored cord (perhaps even a curtain 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 jewels or glitter will be fine. Attempt to keep the mixes of cape and tunic flexible so that they will certainly interchange to provide even more choices as your wardrobe of costumes hopefully grows throughout the years.
We have the tendency to use blue as the color of Mary’s outfit to make her significantly special and recognisable as a character. The most flexible combination we have actually utilized has actually been a simple blue tunic of medium length which worked for little and medium sized children. We also included a long blue gathered skirt which could be used with it for a bigger sized kid to play Mary.
Fasten some furry 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 material for cattles etc, and wear suitable color trousers or thick tights or leggings. (Don’t forget to tuck a tail in at the back for full effect). Alternatively, use face paint, or masks.
Shepherds: Make the crook from a long piece of garden stick and use something flexible, like a coat-hanger, to make the crook shape, then cover it with duct tape. Remember that you’ll require a cuddly lamb too.
Kings: You’ll need something to act 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 ideal for fluid).
A manger and a newborn; honestly, I have been spoilt since we had assistance from a member of the congregation who made a manger for us! Nevertheless, if you don’t have that privilege, simply make use of a wooden crate for the rustic look, or a cardboard box painted to look wooden. Don’t forget a doll, ideally with a simple 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 special and charming! Even better, let the kids make their own crown, halo or animal mask etc for a personal touch.