Ghost of Christmas Past DIY Costume Guide

Ghost of Christmas Past costume

Want to know how to make the best Ghost of Christmas Past costume from the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol? We show you how with our easy DIY outfit guide.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of three spirits that visit Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve in Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol“.

The ghost takes Scrooge on a journey through his past Christmas celebrations, showing him scenes from his childhood, youth, and early adulthood.

This serves to show Scrooge the joyful moments that he has largely forgotten, as well as the more painful ones that have shaped him into the miserly and unkind old man he has become; from his time as an apprentice to his estrangement from his fiance, Belle.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past is the catalyst for Ebenezer Scrooge’s eventual transformation, as he witnesses firsthand the errors of his past, the ill-will of his present, and the misery of his potential future.

Ghost of Christmas Past Costume

Ghost of Christmas Past (A Christmas Carol) DIY costume guide

Buy Ghost of Christmas Past costume items:

  1. White Renaissance dress
  2. Hooded cloak
  3. Long white wig
  4. Silver tiara
  5. Artificial holly leaves
  6. White face paint
  7. Gold spraypaint

1. The outfit: The Ghost of Christmas Past has been interpreted countless different times across beloved movies, television adaptations, and stage performances.

While each portrayal brings its own unique take on this iconic character of classic literature, a few important details typically remain the same: The white flowy dress, a pale complexion, and silvery hair.

Sometimes The Ghost of Christmas Past is portrayed as beautiful and ephemeral, at others she is more disheveled and ragged in appearance. if the latter is more your style, consider purchasing a dress more like this ‘Haunting Beauty costume’ from California Costumes.

2. The accessories: The first of three ghosts to visit Scrooge is often portrayed wearing a silver or white tiara and with a sprig of holly leaves in hand (as depicted by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol).

For the makeup, you might want to use either a pure white face paint or a pale foundation (depending on how pale you want the end product to look). A dark mascara and eyeshadow also help to add to the ghostly beauty of this Ghost of Christmas Past costume.

3. Candle extinguisher: Finally, The Ghost of Christmas Past is described as carrying a large, golden candle extinguisher. This is sometimes used as an impromptu hat to obscure the blinding light emanating from the top of her head.

To make your own candle snuffer, all you need is a large piece of craft cardstock and gold metallic spray paint:

  1. Attach a pencil to a length of string.
  2. Trace a semi-circle shape lengthways from one side of the cardstock to the other.
  3. Cut along the traced line.
  4. Glue the straight edges and leave to set.
  5. Spray paint your cone gold (apply additional coats as needed).

For a more detailed step-by-step guide (with pictures), check out this easy “How to Make a Cone from Paper” guide.

How is the Ghost of Christmas Past described in the book?

To help you make the most authentic Ghost of Christmas Past costume possible, this is how Charles Dicken’s described it in A Christmas Carol:

 “... a strange figure -- like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child's proportions. It’s hair ... was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like those upper members, bare. It wore a tunic of the purest white, and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt, the sheen of which was beautiful. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and, in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem, had its dress trimmed with summer flowers.”

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Check out these looks from our favorite A Christmas Carol adaptations, as well as some of the best homemade costumes that inspired our own take on Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Past.