January 14, 2024 by Anna-Bet Stemmet
You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret: all the best people are. So, it’s a good thing you’re gathering Mad Hatter Tea Party ideas, friend! Join us as we get curioser and curioser, and set the scene for an Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea party that will have you believing six impossible things before breakfast 🐇♠👸🏼🎩
What is a Mad Hatter Party?
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is a famous scene from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the story, Alice attends a tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter, along with the March Hare and the Dormouse. The Mad Hatter is a quirky and eccentric character known for his peculiar behaviour and nonsensical riddles.
During the tea party, time is perpetually stuck at 6 o’clock, and the characters engage in absurd conversations and antics. The phrase “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” has since become a cultural reference and is sometimes used to describe any chaotic or unconventional gathering or event.
Additionally, it is a popular theme for parties, events, and decorations, often incorporating the whimsical and fantastical elements from Lewis Carroll’s imaginative world.
DID YOU KNOW? In medieval Europe, mercury was used in medicine and manufacturing. Later, hatmakers commonly cured felt using a form of mercury called mercurous nitrate. As the hatmakers inhaled mercury vapors over time, many experienced neurological symptoms of mercury poisoning. This is said to have been the inspiration for the Mad Hatter character in the novel, and subsequent movies.
Mad Hatter Party invite ideas
Crafting Mad Hatter-themed party invitations is a fun and creative way to set the tone for your event. Here are some ideas to inspire your invitations:
Teacup invitations. Design invitations in the shape of teacups. You can use coloured cardstock or create a 3D effect by attaching a paper handle. Write the party details on a small tag tied to the teacup handle. This can also be designed and sent digitally.
Playing card invitations. Create invitations shaped like playing cards. You can design them to look like Queen of Hearts’ playing cards from Wonderland. Use phrases like “Don’t be late for this important date!” or “You’re invited to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”. Or create an animated video that does the same.
Clock invitations. Craft invitations shaped like pocket watches or clocks to emphasise the time-related theme. Use phrases like “It’s always teatime in Wonderland!” or “Join us for an adventure through time”.
Hat-shaped invitations. Design invitations in the shape of Mad Hatter hats. You can include a tag with the party details hanging from the hat’s band. Add playful phrases like “Put on your maddest hat and join the tea party!”
Key invitations. Craft invitations shaped like antique keys, emphasising the idea of unlocking the door to Wonderland. Attach a small tag with the party details to the key.
Message in a bottle invitation. Place the party details inside small bottles sealed with a cork. Add a “Drink Me” tag to the bottle and encourage guests to open the message inside.
It’s always fun to incorporate vibrant colours, amusing fonts, and playful language to capture the essence of Wonderland. Encourage guests to RSVP with quirky responses to enhance the Mad Hatter theme.
Read next: Great Party Themes for Every Occasion
DIY Mad Hatter’s Tea Party décor ideas
Creating a Mad Hatter-themed party at home allows for a lot of imaginative and capricious decor. Here are some ideas to help you transform your space into a Wonderland:
Table settings. Use mismatched teacups, saucers, and plates for an eccentric table setting. Lay colourful, mismatched tablecloths or table runners. Place playing cards as part of the table decor or use them as place cards.
Centrepieces. Create centrepieces with teapots overflowing with vibrant and quirky flowers. Incorporate small figurines of characters from Wonderland into the centrepieces. Use antique pocket watches, teacups, or top hats as focal points.
Chair décor. Decorate chairs with colourful ribbons, bows, or oversized playing cards. Hang quirky signs or tags on the back of each chair with phrases like ‘This Way’, ‘That Way’, or ‘Wrong Way’.
Wall decorations. Hang oversized playing cards on the walls or create a card garland. Use fanciful banners or bunting with phrases like ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ or ‘Welcome to Wonderland’. Print and display quotes from the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book.
Ceiling décor. Hang paper lanterns or tissue paper pom-poms in mismatched colours. Attach oversized teacups or top hats to the ceiling for an offbeat touch.
Tea party props. Set up a tea station with different types of tea, colourful teapots, and mismatched cups. Use a variety of cake stands and tiered platters for displaying treats. Decorate the food with ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’ labels.
Backdrop. Create a backdrop with a large, colourful mural or poster of Wonderland. Hang an amusing fabric or curtain as a backdrop for a designated photo area.
Lighting. Use fairy lights or string lights to add a magical ambience to the space. Consider placing candlesticks or battery-operated candles on tables for an enchanting touch.
Alice in Wonderland party outfit ideas
Creating a Mad Hatter outfit for a party allows for a lot of creativity and eccentricity. Here are some ideas to help you and your guests to put together a festive Mad Hatter costume:
Top hat. Start with a large, colourful top hat. You can find or create one with a mismatched or patterned design. Attach a price tag or a “10/6” card, referencing the famous tag on the Mad Hatter’s hat in the original illustrations.
Clothing. Wear a mismatched suit, skirt and blouse, or zany dress. Combine different patterns and colours for a chaotic, eccentric look. Add a bow tie or necktie in a contrasting colour or pattern. Consider layering with vests, jackets, or scarves for added complexity.
Accessories. Wrap a large pocket watch around your neck or attach it to your outfit. The White Rabbit’s watch is a key accessory in Wonderland. Pair it with mismatched gloves, preferably one short and one long. Add quirky accessories like oversized rings, bracelets, or gaudy brooches.
Makeup. Experiment with bold, theatrical makeup. Go for vibrant colours, exaggerated eyebrows, and perhaps some face paint or glitter. Consider drawing a clock face or other whimsical designs on your face.
Footwear. Wear mismatched or colourful socks and shoes. Add shoe accessories like spats or oversized shoe buckles.
Hair. Style your hair in an untamed, wild manner. You can use temporary hair colour or wigs for added flair, then dress it up with large bows, clips, or mini hats.
Mad Hatter Tea Party drink menu
When it comes to drinks for an Alice in Wonderland-inspired shindig, we like to keep things simple, tasty and super colorful. Here are a few aces we have up our sleeves:
- Big batch drinks like jugs of Paloma or Freezer Door Negroni.
- Trendy mezcal cocktails with fun names like the Naked & Famous.
- Inspiring mocktails like the Strawberry Mojito Mocktail.
- OTT (yet wonderfully amusing!) Boba cocktails.
- Tea-based clinkers like Southern Sweet Tea.
Mad Hatter Tea Party snacks
Playful snacks offer yet another delightful way to enhance the Mad Hatter’s Party experience. Here are some snack ideas that fit the theme:
‘Eat Me’ cupcakes. Decorate cupcakes or sugar cookies with “Eat Me” toppers or icing. Get creative with colours and toppings. You could also go with an array of pastries and treats like petit fours and macarons in interesting containers.
Tea sandwiches. Prepare small tea sandwiches with various fillings like cucumber, egg salad, and smoked salmon. Cut them into fun shapes with cookie cutters.
Cheshire Cat cheese platter. Arrange a cheese platter in the shape of the Cheshire Cat’s grin, using various cheeses and crackers to form the smile.
Caterpillar veggie platter. Arrange veggie sticks into the shape of a caterpillar. Use cherry tomatoes for the head and create eyes with cream cheese or olives. Bonus points if you use some dry ice to get the caterpillar to smoke…
Queen of Hearts tarts. Bake mini fruit tarts and arrange them in the shape of hearts to pay homage to the frightful Queen of Hearts.
‘Drink Me’ Smoothies. Serve colourful smoothies in small bottles with ‘Drink Me’ tags attached.
Mad Hatter’s popcorn mix. Mix popcorn with colourful candies, chocolate, and nuts. Add a touch of edible glitter for extra whimsy.
Chessboard quiche. Make two different quiches, e.g. ham and mushroom, and spinach and feta. Let it cool, cut it up into cubes and arrange it on a serving platter in alternating squares to resemble a chess board.
TOP TIP: Label items clearly to indicate if they are gluten-free, vegan, or nut-free to accommodate dietary restrictions.
You might also like: 11 Elegant Canapés for Your Next Cocktail Party
Mad Hatter Tea Party game ideas for adults
Planning games for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party can add an extra layer of fun and whimsy to your event. Here are some Mad Hatter Party game ideas that embrace the playful and nonsensical spirit of Wonderland:
Teacup ring toss. Create a ring toss game using plastic rings and colourful teacups. Assign different point values to each teacup, and have players try to toss the rings onto the cups.
Cheshire Cat smile bean bag toss. Paint or print a large Cheshire Cat smile on a board or fabric. Create bean bags in the shape of grinning Cheshire Cats. Have players take turns tossing the Cheshire Cat bean bags into the cat’s smile.
Wonderland scavenger hunt. Organise a scavenger hunt with clues and riddles that lead participants to different “Wonderland” locations. Place fun objects or decorations at each spot, and have guests collect playing cards or other themed items.
Mad Hatter hat decorating station. Set up a crafting station with plain paper or felt hats, ribbons, feathers, and other decorative items. Allow guests to unleash their creativity by designing their own Mad Hatter hats. Host a hat parade or contest to showcase the most eccentric creations.
Flamingo croquet. Set up a croquet course with inflatable or cardboard flamingos as mallets. Use plastic or inflatable hedgehogs as the balls. Encourage players to wear silly hats and costumes while playing.
Who Stole the Tarts? Create a “Who Stole the Tarts?” mystery game where guests play detective to solve the mystery of the missing tarts. Provide clues and lead participants through a series of challenges to uncover the culprit.
Tea leaf reading station. Set up a mystical corner where guests can have their tea leaves read by a hired professional (or a creative host!). Use props and esoteric fortune-telling elements to enhance the experience.
There you have it – all the bits and bobs you need to inspire a most beguiling Mad Hatter Tea Party! ‘Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality’, as Lewis Carroll famously said, and you, my dear, are now armed to the hilt. To receive more tasty morsels like these, sign up for our newsletter tout suite. 🫖👩🏼❤️