From comic books and video games to Julie Newmar and Halle Berry, Catwoman is one of the most celebrated female superheroes of all time. Though her costume has come in many variations, all of them are simple, sexy and ideal for a Halloween costume. Make your own Catwoman costume from repurposed parts and low-hassle processes based on your favourite versions of the character.
The foundation of Catwoman's costume is the skin-tight body suit, usually black, but occasionally purple or grey. For best results, look for a black dancer's unitard (some even have headpieces, which are perfect for this costume), or wear a black leotard or swimsuit over black leggings. Covered arms are best, but there have been some bare-armed Catwoman costumes. Avoid short sleeves or half sleeves. You can also wear a tight top and tight trousers, but dress up your costume with a stylish belt at the point where the two pieces join, imitating the style of old-school, TV-series costumes made for the character.
Various portrayals of Catwoman feature her wearing anything from high-heeled pumps to knee-length boots, either closed-toe or open. This means you can wear just about any black dress shoes or boots with your Catwoman costume, provided they have a feminine look and a tall heel. The flashiest shoes you can find will usually be the best bet, especially if they're made of shiny black vinyl.
To make claws, start with a set of extra-long fake nails and file their ends into points using an emery board, then paint them with black nail polish. If it's close to Halloween, however, a set of plastic monster claws may be cheaper and easier to come by, and they'll already be the right colour. Attach claws directly to your fingernails with nail glue if you plan to go bare-handed, but it's more traditional to get a set of long black vinyl or black leather gloves and glue the nails to the tips.
If you're going with an old-fashioned, Jule Newmar-style Catwoman costume, making the headpiece is as simple as gluing a pair of black felt ears to a wire headband. For most incarnations of the characters, however, you'll want a headpiece that covers more of your head. The easiest way to make a sleek, shiny headpiece is to use a plastic wig stand and black liquid latex. Paint the latex directly onto the wig stand in the shape of the head piece and mask. Attach felt ears while the latex is wet (they'll stick) and paint over these with a second layer of latex after the first is dry. The finished product will peel away from the wig stand when dry and is ready to use.
No Catwoman costume is complete without a whip. A basic costume bullwhip is easy to find and inexpensive to buy at any costume store. You can also make your own by gluing a 1.5 metre (5-foot) strip of thick leather to the end of a 20 cm (7-inch) length of craft dowel. Spray paint the finished product black.