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Dressing up tips for Sinterklaas

The Sint and his trusty helper, Piet, are both extremely busy throughout the Sinterklaas period and cannot be expected to appear in the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Spain all at once. Which is why they often ask for assistance from a team of dedicated helpers, who go out of their way to ensure that Dutch children receive their Sinterklaas presents on time, wherever they are in the world. And, as these so-called ‘Hulpsinterklazen’ and ‘Hulppieten’ must dress for the part, we’ve prepared some handy dressing up tips below.

Tips for Sint helpers

The most important Hulpsinterklazen accessories are the mitre, red robe, book and staff.

Sinterklaas dressing up tips

  • The mitre can be made from cardboard – simply cut into the customary shape, paint or cover with red paper and place a white cross in the centre.
  • Using a little imagination, the Sint’s robe can be easily fashioned from red cloth or an old red curtain.
  • Don’t forget the legendary white beard – whilst a natural beard is best, you can always make one from cotton wool or buy a fake beard from a fancy dress shop.
  • The staff can be created from a broom handle and finished with a crook made from gold coloured cardboard.
  • Lastly, cover an old telephone directory or a thick dictionary with red paper for the famous book that let’s the Sint know whether children have been bad or good!
  • It would be the icing on the cake if the Sint’s helper could arrive in traditional style on a beautiful white horse – however, in lieu of your own steed, you can always tell your children that it’s parked outside the neighbours’ house!

Tips for Piet helpers

The most important Hulppieten accessories are brightly coloured breeches, hat and, of course, a blackened face.

  • Use black or brown makeup to cover the Hulppiet’s entire face and neck. Alternatively you can use other bright colours such as orange, green or blue.
  • Take old, colourful pyjama trousers and fashion the Piet’s breeches by cutting off at knee height and tying the bottoms with a rubber band.
  • Use the remaining pyjama fabric to create the Piet’s fabled hat.
  • Finish the Hulppiet’s outfit with tights (that match the colour of his painted face) and a pair of comfortable trainers, as the animated Piet helper is expected to be extremely bouncy and energetic during his visit!

General tips 

  • Buy an old sack, clean and cram with Sinterklaas goodies for the Piet’s helpers to scatter generously around the room
  • Make sure that there’s a large chair, possibly decorated with garlands, ready and waiting for the Sint helper’s arrival
  • Finally, to create an exciting build-up, tell the Sint’s helper to announce his arrival with a loud knock on the door

Holland at Home wishes everyone around the world a fantastic Sinterklaas!

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

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