Most geeky parents know that one of the surest ways to share their passion for their fandoms is to dress up their offspring as beloved characters. For Doctor Who, you have plenty of options- good guys and bad alike are fun to play as for birthdays, Halloween, or just because. Here are some costume ideas to introduce your little Time Lord or Lady to Britain’s greatest export with how-to instructions and some pics we found on the internets.
The most recognizable Doctors these days are the most recent ones- 10 (Tennant) and 11 (Smith). For costume purposes, these two are pretty easy to get across. For 10, some All-Star sneakers, a smart blue suit, and that fantastic hair should be enough. For 11, a tweed jacket, bowtie, and fez are all you need! Of course, the old-school Doctors are just as fun to play as and all you might need is a scarf (for the 4th Doctor) or a sweater-vest/blazer combo (for the 5th). And, don’t forget your sonic screwdriver! If you don’t feel like buying a replica, gluing some bolts and plastic bits onto a pen isn’t difficult and could be a fun activity for you & the kids.
The Doctor’s companions are a little harder to dress as when on their own. When standing next to The Doctor, Martha’s red leather jacket or Amy’s police outfit are recognizable enough. But on their own, it would be difficult to tell who you’re going for. So in this case, I suggest having a Doctor along to complete the picture- maybe you could be Jack Harkness to your little Doctor!
Don’t blink! The Weeping Angels might be a little terrifying for the younger kids, but they can also be great fun (Weeping Angels redlight-greenlight, anyone?) The costume itself is easy enough. A drapey dress or sheet spray painted to look like stone is the staple. The choice is whether or not you’d want to slather your child in gray paint.
The paints available these days are safe, but it’s not overly comfortable and can smear easily if applied to the body. You might want to put them in a long-sleeved gray shirt, pants, and gloves, reserving the paint for the face. You can also find suitable wigs to give them the stone look if you don’t want to use washable hairspray. Pop on some painted gray wings and you’ll be all set (fangs and claws optional). The most important part is to teach them how to sneak up on unsuspecting folks and to hide their faces when they’re caught. That’ll really clinch the costume!
Once your child learns the proper cadence of a superior Dalek (“EXTERMINATE!”), you might have trouble getting them to speak without it. A cardboard box finagled into an oblong cylinder is your first step-you can spray paint this gold, glue on some Styrofoam nodules, and add some detailing. If you’re feeling especially crafty, you can repurpose a clean trashcan top to serve as a headpiece. For practicality, though, you might want to decorate a cap: paint it gold, wrap some sturdy mesh around the edges, and attach a couple of wire light casings on top (wire cork protectors from champagne bottles would do nicely). Attach an eyestalk to the bill of the hat (formed from some light tubing and a plastic lens or bottle bottom) and your Dalek has a solid metal housing to his or her tentacle-y body.
It’s never too early to get your kids involved in time-space adventures! If you’ve got an extremely wee one who isn’t up to walking yet, try decorating the stroller by wrapping its base in painted paper and sticking a plunger and screwdriver out of the front. Instant Dalek! If you have a retractable sunshade, you have a dome-shaped roof already. For extra fun, instead of the plastic lens of the eyestalk, you might try attaching a small camera. Not only will you have a truly respectable eye, but you can record your friends and family from a Dalek-eye view and make a fun video.
Hard Mode: Cybermen
You all knew they would end up on the list, but it’s not the easiest costume to pull off. My suggestion for tackling the cyborg menace is to construct simple armor-plating shapes out of cardboard and wrapping them in tinfoil. I wouldn’t do more than the basics (chest, shins, legs, arms, and forearms) because more than that would be difficult to walk in. You can decorate these pieces with some simple detailing using a sharpie or with some extra smaller plating pieces. You can also decorate a gray t-shirt and pants to go underneath (drawing on the wiring etc. might take some time).
The helmet is the most important part, singling you out as a Cyberman and not just any robot. Try buying a generic mask with circular eye holes to paint or cover in foil and modify. Some glued on ear boxes and a couple of painted plastic tubes will make sure you can be recognized as a Whovian villain.
Sharing your love of Doctor Who can begin with a playful costume. You can bond with your child while constructing your costumes and watching your favorite episodes. Soon, you’ll be hearing “Fantastic!” and “Allons-y!” all around your home- and it will warm your two Time Lord hearts.
Marie Sumner is a costume consultant and cosplayer. She believes it is the solemn duty of every geek to pass the torch of their favorite obsessions on to the younglings. Geekdom fosters imagination!