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Make Your Own Joker Costume - DIY Halloween Costume Ideas - Homemade How To

Updated on April 17, 2017
Here's a picture of Heath Ledger dressed up for his role as The Joker in the film, "The Dark Knight".
Here's a picture of Heath Ledger dressed up for his role as The Joker in the film, "The Dark Knight". | Source

The Joker is a supervillain and he is the arch-nemesis of Batman. He is easily recognizable in his three piece suit and his face always look like there's a smile on it, but take a deeper look and you will see it's a cruel grimace.

During one of his many crimes the Joker landed in a vat of chemicals and that bath changed his look forever. It made his skin pasty white, turned his hair the color green, turned his lips a deep red and left his face frozen in a grotesque grin. He is insanely vicious and enjoys watching Batman suffer. He doesn't want to kill Batman, he wants to corrupt him.

The Joker likes to play tricks, most of them are deadly. He uses these tricks as weapons, they resemble toy practical a deadly deck of cards that have a razor sharp edge or his flower boutonniere that squirts out poison or acid. He is sometimes called the Crown Prince of Crime.

His costume is made up of a green vest worn with a purple suit jacket and pants. The pants are sometimes solid purple and other times they have a design consisting of pin-stripes or a pattern on them. He holds his pants up with suspenders. Sometimes he wears a tailored suit jacket (in the purple) and other times he wears a purple knee length jacket that is rather elegant. His shirt is sometimes black, sometimes light purple and sometimes there is a light pattern to it.

The Joker Through The Years

The Joker is a role that has been played by many actors through the years. He is an iconic supervillain and one cannot think of Batman without thinking about The Joker too.

  • The 1960's the Batman TV series starred Cesar Romero as the warped criminal mastermind
  • In the 1989 movie "Batman" The Joker was played by Jack Nicholson
  • In 2008 Heath Ledger played The Joker in "The Dark Knight"
  • In 2016's "Suicide Squad", due to be released in August, stars Jared Leto as The Joker

Cesar Romero dressed as The Joker for the Batman TV show filmed in the 1960's.
Cesar Romero dressed as The Joker for the Batman TV show filmed in the 1960's. | Source

Cesar Romero's Joker Costume

You can see that Cesar Romero's Joker costume consisted of a dark green shirt, and striped reddish (is that fuschia?) colored pants with his reddish jacket. His tie reminds me of something Jesse James or Wyatt Earp would wear, very old fashioned.

So to recreate Cesar Romero's Joker costume look you will need:

  • Striped Pants
  • Matching Suit Tail Jacket And Vest - vest is optional
  • Matching Gloves
  • Dark Green Shirt
  • Black Tie

"Zip-a-dee-do-da, zip-a-de-oom, my-o-my, what a wonderful boom …"

— The Joker
Jack Nicholson played The Joker in the Batman movie released in 1989.
Jack Nicholson played The Joker in the Batman movie released in 1989. | Source

Jack Nicholson's Joker Costume

Take a look at Jack Nicholson in his Joker costume. That's a bright orange shirt and colorful ascot he's wearing along with his purple jacket and purple patterned pants. He is also wearing a deep purple fedora but you can still see his green hair peeking out by the ears.

This is certainly a clownish costume for our evil jester. It's just one way you can change up his costume depending on what clothes you find hidden deep in your closet or attic. Make sure you look through all those old boxes of stored clothing you put away years ago. We like to think we never wore anything too outrageous, but we all have depending on the styles that were popular at one time or another.

This outfit reveals what a practical joker this character is, too bad his jokes are deadly. He revels in his ability to cause death, pain and havoc. He likes to make people feel out of control and helpless.

To recreate Jack Nicholson's Joker costume you will need:

  • Purple Jacket
  • Purple Patterned Pants
  • Matching Gloves
  • Orange Shirt
  • Colorful Ascot
  • Deep Purple Fedora

The Joker's Unique Looking "Glasgow Smile"

The sickly smile The Joker wears on his face is called a "Glasgow Smile" or sometimes a "Cheshire Grin". The Glasgow smile occurs when a cut is made onto someone's face from the corner of the mouth to the ears. The scar that forms is in the shape of a smile, a scary, crazed looking smile. Just take a look at any picture of The Joker and you will immediately understand.

I don’t want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, NO!

— Joker To Batman
Heath Ledger as The Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight"
Heath Ledger as The Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight" | Source

Heath Ledger's Joker Costume

The iconic purple jacket and pants are a staple for Heath Ledger's Joker costume. His shirt looks like a brownish color and has an almost reptilian skin look pattern. His tie matches the colors in his shirt. You can see he is wearing a green vest and a knee length purple overcoat too. (No, you cannot see that it is a knee length jacket, I just know that it is.)

To recreate Heath Ledger's Joker costume you will need:

  • Purple Suit - Pants & Jacket
  • Purple Knee Length Coat
  • Brownish Pattern Shirt
  • Matching Brownish Tie
  • Green Vest
  • Black Gloves

"Heath Ledger is magnificent. The Joker, incarnated with chilling authority by the actor, is simply one of the most twisted and mesmerizing creeps in movie history."

— Richard Carliss - Time Magazine

Words Used To Describe The Joker

There are so many different words and phrases used to describe the arch-nemesis of Batman, here's a list of just a few of them.

  • Clown Prince of Crime
  • Court Jester
  • Evil
  • Genius
  • Insane
  • Psychopath
  • Sadistic
  • Twisted
  • Unpredictable

Jared Leto dressed as The Joker for the August 2016 release of "The Suicide Squad"
Jared Leto dressed as The Joker for the August 2016 release of "The Suicide Squad" | Source

Jared Leto's Joker Costume

The newest style Joker costume comes from the 2016 movie, "The Suicide Squad" and it's a bit different than the other costumes we've seen for this supervillain. He doesn't have a shirt on, he has a tattooed chest and arms. He wears a long purple reptile skin patterned overcoat and his pants are blue. The pants look to be athletic style, loose and low-slung.

The tattoo look to be a huge Joker style grin, his name in block letters and it looks like there's a skull in a jester's cap on the upper right shoulder and the scribblings of a madman on the left. Under a hand of cards It reads, "HAHAHAHAHA" and that continues on for several rows. On his left arm below the elbow is a Glasgow Grin smiling full of teeth, and on his right arm the message from the upper right side of his chest, the HAHAHA, continues. His forehead has the word "Damaged" written on it in script. Very interesting, very crazy and disturbing bunch of tats.

His makeup is less than the other Joker's we are used to but sometimes less is more...we will have to get used to this new, under made up look. There's a little less makeup but in this version of The Joker, the teeth are blackened. That's creepy.

To recreate Jared Leto's Joker costume you will need:

  • A Long Purple Overcoat With A Reptile Skin Pattern
  • Blue, Loose, Athletic Pants
  • Tattooes

 Here's a close up picture of Jared Leto's face so you can see some of those new and disturbing tattooes.
Here's a close up picture of Jared Leto's face so you can see some of those new and disturbing tattooes. | Source

Pick Your Favorite Joker Costume To Wear On Halloween

Once you choose your Joker costume style you can begin your search. Look in your drawers, in your closet, and in your attic for the clothes you will need for the particular Joke costume you chose to wear. If you don't find these clothes in your house, ask your friends, search in consignment and thrift shops in your area. You never know what you will find in those second hand shops, they are a treasure chest of wealth where costume supplies and clothes are concerned.

Keep an open mind. The clothing you want might not be perfect to begin with - let's say you see a great suit but it is beige not purple. Check the tags, what material is it made of, can you dye it purple? Keep your eyes peeled and think about how you can change a negative into a positive when you are searching for the perfect accessories to make a Halloween costume from.

Another idea for a suit in the wrong color is to buy some purple fabric and cover the suit with it. Can you sew? If not, ask a friend who does sew if they can help you. It's worth a shot, like I said, keep an open mind and sometimes the answer is simple.

Actor's And Their Joker Costumes

Cesar Romero
Jack Nicholson
Heath Ledger
Jared Leto
Fuschia (Red) 3 Piece Tails Suit
Purple Suit Jacket
Purple Jacket & Pants
Purple Reptile Pattern Jacket
Green Shirt
Orange Shirt
Brown Patterned Shirt
Loose, Blue Athletic Pants
Old Fashioned Black Tie
Teal Ascot
Matching Brown Tie
Plaid Purple/Teal Pants
Purple Overcoat

Choose Your Favorite Joker Costume

Who's Joker Costume Do You Like The Best?

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Heath Ledger and the iconic Joker face makeup we have all come to recognize
Heath Ledger and the iconic Joker face makeup we have all come to recognize | Source

The Joker Halloween Makeup Tutorial - Heath Ledger Look

The Joker Halloween Makeup Tutorial - Jack Nicholson Style

The Joker Halloween Makeup Tutorial - Jared Leto Style

The Joker Trivia

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Friends And Allies Of The Joker

The Joker, crazy and unpredictable as he is, does have some friends and allies in the villain world of the comics. He even has a girl friend!

  • Harley Quinn
  • Ajax
  • Black Queen
  • Jack of Diamonds
  • King of Clubs
  • Lo, Mo, Cur
  • Needles
  • Nitro
  • Sparky
  • Tino
  • Mr. Hammer


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