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Families can be bad for Halloween with DIY Batman villain costumes

Updated on October 8, 2015

Batman characters are top costumes every year, whether or not there's a Batman movie or TV show that year. There are so many options, both good and bad for both boys and girls and men and women.

The second season of "Gotham" is subtitled "Rise of Villains," showing the love of the Dark Knight's story includes the iconic bad guys- especially Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, and Joker. But, "Gotham" is not exactly kid-friendly, and the costumes are aren't as recognizable.

A fun way to be bad is to use the costumes from the most fun version of the Batman story- the 1966 television show. The costumes are colorful and certainly identifiable. Plus, the series is now available on DVD, reviving the campy show for youngest Batman fans.

Several costumes can easily be made, but the real easy route for families wanting to dress up is to have one person be the villain, and the other members be the henchmen. On the show, the henchmen all wore black long-sleeve shirts with their code name (like "Octopus" and "Shark") or simply, "Henchman," written across the chest. We took this route, making our toddler (one of the few words he says is "Batman") the Penguin.


The Penguin

Did you know Penguin was the guest villain used the most in the Batman television series? Burgess Meredith played the role in 20 episodes, donning a purple top hat and involving umbrellas in many of his crimes. A toddler's body shape and walking abilities make him perfect for the role.


  • black long sleeve shirt
  • black pants
  • white matte fabric paint
  • purple matte fabric paint
  • top hat (depending on the child's size, use a regular costume top hat, or one of the mini ones on a headband)
  • purple duct tape

First, wash and dry the shirt to prep it for painting. Then, with a small paint brush, outline the the jacket line on the shirt. Because of Penguin's belly and the design of the jacket, it is an hourglass shape that is very heavy on the bottom half. The Penguin is wearing some sort furry vest, so also outline a semi-circle at the bottom for that outline. Once the outline is complete, fill the "shirt/vest" part with white paint using a thicker brush. Two coats of paint will be needed- wait until the first coat is completely dry before adding the second coat.

Add a bow tie shape using the purple paint at the collar. Use the seam to outline the top of the bow, then bring the bottom points down on a more dramatic angle.

For the hat, simply cover a store-bought hat with purple duct tape. If the hat purchased comes with decorations attached, carefully rip the decorations off the hat (ours was applied with glue, so it was easy to remove this way.

If a hat cannot be found at a store, it is easy to make a mini hat. At a craft store, find a cylinder shape made out of craft foam or cardboard (look in the floral section). Use a cereal box for the brim, placing the cylinder shape on top to outline and cut the correct size (do not cut a hole in the center!). Before gluing the two pieces together, cover each piece with duct tape.

So the hat stays on the child's head, use duct tape to attach a ribbon or headband to the bottom of the hat.

Accessories aren't needed for a toddler, but older children (or adults) may want to carry an umbrella and a long cigarette holder made out of a straw wrapped in black duct tape.

Painted shirt, black pants, and a purple hat make the basic Penguin costume,
Painted shirt, black pants, and a purple hat make the basic Penguin costume, | Source


Catwoman was played by two actresses in the television show- Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt- and another actress -Lee Meriwether- in the movie based on the television show. Her costume requires the least amount of work, and depending on who's dressing up as the character, it's likely most items are already in the house.


  • black form-fitting shirt
  • black form-fitting pants (workout pants are great)
  • long gold necklace
  • black headband
  • black construction paper
  • gold duct tape
  • stick-on Velcro squares or dots
  • black gloves
  • gold fabric paint

Sure, Catwoman's costume may have been sparkly, but the gold accents will be enough sparkle for this costume. All that needs to be made are the cat ears headband, the gold belt and the claw gloves. (For those who do not wish to wear gloves, gold nail polish can be a substitute. For younger costume wearers, parents may want to paint a necklace design on a black shirt instead of letting the child wear a long necklace.)

For the headband, cut out ear shapes from construction paper, leaving enough paper at the bottom to wrap around the headband. Attach the ears to the headband using tape.


For the belt, carefully pull out a length of duct tape-sticky side up- long enough for a belt, then, without cutting, fold and place another length of tape on top. So it is a working belt, add the stick-on Velrco to each end.

For the claw gloves, simply paint gold ovals for claws (or finger nails) on the tips of the gloves. A second coat will be needed. (Make sure there is a cardboard form in the finger tips to prevent the paint from going through to the other side of the glove. If the gloves did not come with one, make one yourself by outlining your hand on a cereal box and cutting out the shape.)

The basic Catwoman costume is a black top, black pants, a necklace, cat ears, and a belt.
The basic Catwoman costume is a black top, black pants, a necklace, cat ears, and a belt. | Source

The Riddler

Riddle me this- if the Riddler in your family is not brave enough to wear the skin tight catsuit, there are other options. It can be as basic as a green long-sleeve shirt with one big black question marks painted on the center paired with any pair of pants the person already owns.

To go all out, find a green pair of pants, and add a purple duct tape belt.

Who is your favorite "Batman" villain?

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The Joker

The Joker is probably the best-known villain in the DC and Marvel universes, besides Lex Luthor. In the television series, Joker, played by Cesar Romero, wears a purple suit with a green shirt and a black tie. Plain purple shirts and pants can be hard to find depending on location, but there are options made for girls. If a purple suit truly is desired (perhaps for dad), go to a thrift store and paint a the cheapest suit you find there purple.


  • purple long-sleeve top
  • purple pants
  • green matte paint
  • purple matte paint
  • black ribbon, at least an inch wide
  • clown make-up
  • green hair spray

Paint on the "shirt" similar to the Penguin, only do not hourglass the outline. Joker is thinner, and his jacket doesn't open as much. A basic lapel design can be added by drawing the outline of the edge with purple paint. Instead of painting on the tie, complete the costume by tying the ribbon in a bow around the neck, similar to how the Joker wears his tie. A flower may also be glued to the "lapel."

This Joker's face is painted white, with red lips that are drawn out to an always smiling look. Hair can be green for the day with colored hairspray found in the costume section of most stores.


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