How to Make a Joker Costume

Written by lauren vork
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How to Make a Joker Costume
Here's your card. (joker image by dead_account from

Widely considered to be arch-villain in DC Comics's "Batman" franchise, the Joker is not only the caped crusader's greatest nemesis, he's an American cultural icon. Though the Joker has been portrayed in a wide variety of settings, his look has remained mostly consistent, with the exception of the visual revamp for the 2008 film "The Dark Knight." Create your Joker costume using the most classic elements of the character's look, or alter it slightly to fit the newest popular incarnation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Joke shop accessories
  • Playing cards
  • Old men's suit with tails and vest
  • Purple fabric spray paint
  • Teal fabric spray paint
  • 3 inch by 24 inch strip of yellow fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Green spray-in hair colour
  • Hair pomade
  • Theatrical grease paint
  • Make-up sponges
  • Translucent make-up powder
  • Shiny black dress shoes
  • Spats
  • White cloth gloves

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  1. 1

    Collect some Joker accessories. Shop for small practical joke accessories, such as hand buzzers, squirting vest flowers or fake guns that fire "bang" signs, at costume and magic stores. Carry coloured smoke bombs (if these are permissible where you live), or look for explosive-free, hollow hand grenades, available at army surplus stores. Make sure you have at least one "joker" card from a set of playing cards, or print or obtain many copies of these so that you can hand them out.

  2. 2

    Paint an old suit purple with fabric spray paint. Apply the paint to the suit with someone wearing it, or while the suit is hanging up. Apply several coats so that you can go over any spots you missed on the first spraying. Let dry.

  3. 3

    Wear the suit's vest alone (or hang it by itself) and paint it teal in the same way. Let dry.

  4. 4

    Hem the yellow fabric by folding over its edges, then machine sewing using a running stitch (straight line stitch). Tie this into your vest collar so that it can hang loosely, knotting it like you're tying your shoe.

  5. 5

    Colour your hair green using green spray-on hair colour. For a traditional Joker, colour your hair completely, then slick it back using a pea-sized quantity of pomade. To recreate the style worn by Heath Ledger's Joker, spray your hair unevenly with green and rat it by applying hairspray, then scrunching your hair in your fists.

  6. 6

    Do your make-up. Apply yellow tooth dye, then coat your face, neck and ears in white grease paint using a make-up sponge (cover your eyebrows as well). Draw on large, thick black eyebrow lines that slope down into the middle of your forehead for a sinister look. Apply red lipstick and finish with a coat of translucent make-up powder over everything. For a "Dark Knight" Joker, use the same make-up but apply it messily; rub it away in a few places. Apply messy dark make-up around your eyes.

  7. 7

    Wear a pair of shiny, black dress shoes and, if you can get them, spats. Wear white gloves (dress gloves, or inexpensive costume dress gloves) to complete the look.

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