I've costumed my church Christmas pageant for about 15 years. Many of the costumes are items donated to our annual tag sale. Some are 1970's bathrobes, looking right without any work at all.
An old table cloth for $2.00 can make a great costume. Just fiddle with it, cut neck holes, pin with safety pins where you think would work. It's only $2 of material, so you can take a few risks! Most of my head coverings are fabric cut from men's dress shirt backs, held on by cut off lower T-shirt sections. Messy is authentic, as are un-hemmed neck holes. Remember weaving was done by hand and the only patterns that are authentic are solids or stripes.
Leave off those sneakers! Go barefoot, or wear dark sandals. Leave off nail polish! Cover up any modern looking shirt collars with any scrap of fabric that can be tied around the neck. Bright colors are authentic. Sashes around the waist are authentic, so any long strip of fabric would be just fine. I've used neckties.
Shepherds at the time wore sheepskin wraps for warmth, so any bits of fake fur, or leather can be nicely added around the neck by just cutting a slash in it.
I put my angels in anything white I can get. The better costumes are squares of white satin, with a neck slash, that I've added scraps of sequins, etc. to to make them more fun. I have tiaras for all of them too. Some are donated, some I made with wire and broken costume jewelry. The favorite last year was a rhinestone necklace the oldest girl simply pinned flat on top of her hair.
Every one has more fun if their costume is special, so all of the ones we use are unmatched.
Have some fun.
Female Bible Characters - My daughters have dressed up as Lydia, seller of purple. We had a white robe type outfit on her, with a purple scarf draped over; and she held a small wicker basket filled with several scraps of different shades of purple fabric, and other purple items. And Esther - dressing her like a queen was so fun, and then there was the daughter of Pharoah holding a basket with a baby doll in it (Moses). We had a black wig, and dressed her in an Egyptian style "robe". Hope it helps with the female character ideas. I need something for this year.
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Our VBS this year is Egyptian themed. Has anyone any ideas for making my costume for that period? Dress, headdress, etc. We can order from VBS supplier, but thought something more original would be fun!
By Linda from Ashdown, AR
You can buy jewelry with your name spelled out in Egyptian letters/symbols.
Try to find that list of letters/symbols and then each child can have their Egyptian name. Then they can paint a picture of it; score it into clay and then have it fired - you'll probably find a local master of clay in your area that would do it for next to nothing, plus it would be fun for all the kids to see a kiln and how it works.
Take some of that huge brown paper and have each child draw and color a picture of themselves. 'Walking sideways', dressed in whatever costume you can research. With plenty of chariots, etc.
I don't know how old they are, but maybe serving a simple, but typical Egyptian meal would be fun. I don't know if cous cous is one of them, but you can buy that in any grocery store. Have the children research how a normal family would eat, with your help.
Have them make tiny coffins (cartouches - SP?) out of paper mache and pain in bright colors, metallic colors and then you buy the 'gems' beads, etc from the jewelry making center at a craft shop.
Research clothing from that period - wasn't most of it linen? Use muslin, cheap, and make the costumes. You can use liquid sew instead of actually sewing the fabric. Don't forget the jewels!
Go to a professional costume rental place and find costumes. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of them. Go with two people if you can; one to hold up the costume and the other to take the pictures.
You can also research what the typical diet was during that time. Probably dates, among other things. bring in some dates for them to try. But first research, briefly, palm trees.
Having never been to VBS I applaud you and your Church for being open minded to explore Egypt, while yet spoken of in the Bible, were not too friendly to the Jewish people.
White pillowcase with holes cut for neck and arms. Nice chain, rope or beads for a belt. Make a circle out of cardboard whose diameter is the width of the child's shoulders. Cut out a hole for the neck and a slit in the back so you can get it on. Decorate the cardboard to look like the large beaded collars pharaohs wore. Make a snake head crown from a gallon bleach bottle (fit my kids head perfectly!) Use lots of eye makeup.
Does anyone have some costume ideas for Lydia in the bible?
I was Lydia last year. She is a merchant of purple cloth. I dressed in all purple.
for a modern day Lydia: you could dress as a business woman in a purple suit with a name tag like retail stores have.
Does anyone have any new creative even a modern version of a costume for Elizabeth?