If you’re a Batman or a Joker fanatic, you’ve likely been eyeing the just released BATMAN: DEATH OF THE FAMILY BOOK AND JOKER MASK SET. It’s now available in stores, and comes with a copy of Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family, the acclaimed storyline that reintroduced the Joker to The New 52 and sent shockwaves through the entire Batman family of books. But that’s not all, of course. It also comes with a mask modeled after the Joker’s severed face in the book.
Which is great for terrifying your kids or little sister. Seriously, if you ever need them to leave you alone for a bit, just put that bad boy on. They won’t come anywhere near you.
But that’s just the start of what you can do with the Joker mask. With Halloween just a few weeks away, you could use the mask as a starting point for a full-on Joker costume. It’s not quite as hard as it looks. It’s just a matter of piecing together the right items. Even better, you have two options to choose from.
OPTION #1: JOE’S GARAGE
We should start off by saying that if you’re expecting a cosplay tutorial, you’re probably going to be disappointed. We love cosplayers, but unfortunately, aren’t very good at it ourselves. Rather, we’re just going to lay out everything you need to assemble a solid Joker Halloween costume. We doubt you’ll take home any prizes at the Comic-Con Masquerade, but you may win your office costume contest.
The “Joe’s Garage” option is actually pretty simple and straightforward, and you may already have some of the components lying around your house. Here’s what you’ll need to assemble this costume.
Navy Blue Mechanic Coveralls or Boiler Suit
If you’ve ever been to a mechanic before, you’ve seen these things. The good news is that they’re very easy to find online and pretty affordable, though you may want to search for both “coveralls” and “boiler suit.” The boiler suit results will likely ship from the UK, the coveralls results from the USA. You’ll find more expensive options, but you should be able to get a good pair of coveralls for under $30.
This could wind up being the most expensive item, if you have to buy it new. Our suggestion—go cheap. You’re using this for a costume. Not for actual work. You can find some variations of tool belts for under $25. They won’t look like the one in the comic, but they’ll be close enough. If you do insist on authenticity, then we suggest borrowing a tool belt or seeing if you can buy one used. That’s a leather belt that the Joker is wearing in the comic, and leather’s not cheap.
For the belt. We’re going to assume you have some of these at home. If you don’t, then again, borrow.
Again, chances are you have something that’ll work at home.
Just your standard work gloves. Hopefully you have some of these at home, but if not, they’re not too expensive. The gloves are actually an important part of this costume because if you include them, you don’t need to wear makeup on your hands, which makes doing things while wearing the costume far easier.
The mask actually includes hair, so while we don’t think you’ll need hair dye, Halloween spray dye is pretty cheap and can help with “touch ups.” Consider it optional. However, you will need some good white paste makeup, which you can find online or at any costume store. If you want to get really fancy, we suggest starting with a green undertone, then wearing the white over it. Finally, look for spray cans of makeup “setter.” You’ll want to use it to prevent the makeup from rubbing off.
The good news is that with this setup, you won’t need too much makeup, especially if you get long sleeved coveralls and wear them with their sleeves rolled down. However, the Joker doesn’t wear them that way, so decide if you prefer ease over accuracy.
Finally, if you’ve read “Death of the Family,” you know that the Joker wears a name patch that says “Joe” over his left lapel. If you have easy access to something like that, go for it. If not, we think simply drawing it on with a black marker works well enough for Halloween.
OPTION #2: DRESSED TO KILL
This is much closer to the traditional Joker look that fans are familiar with. However, in “Death of the Family,” the Joker really only wears it for the final showdown. This one’s going to be more of a challenge to pull together, but comes with the added advantage of being more recognizable to casual fans and could also serve as the basis for a more standard Joker costume (minus the mask).
Here’s what you’ll need for this costume.
Purple Dress Suit
This is the toughie. You’re not going to find brightly colored suits at your local men’s fashion store. But you can find them online. They’re not cheap, but that’s definitely an option. You can also check thrift stores. Sometimes you’ll get lucky. Perhaps a better option may be a vintage clothing store, if you have access to one. They’re not as cheap as a thrift store, but will likely be more affordable than buying a new suit online.
Also, just in case you were wondering, the Joker’s pants are purple in the comic. We couldn’t blame you for thinking they were black judging from the image above.
Black Dress Shirt
Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Perhaps you already own one? If not, they’re easy to find.
You can probably get away with skipping this item, to be honest, but the Joker does wear a black vest as a part of this getup. If you do want to include it, you should be able to find some pretty affordable options online.
This costume’s actually a bit simpler than the Joker’s traditional outfit in that the necktie here is just a standard tie. You just need to find one in green (which, admittedly, is not the most popular color).
It’s a bit hard to tell, but the Joker’s carnation is blue. You have a few options here. You can look for actual blue carnations, you can visit a craft store and buy a fake blue carnation, or you can get a white carnation and dye it blue using food coloring. This last option may be your best bet if you want to get it the perfect color.
Another item you could probably skip in a pinch, but the Joker wears a black handkerchief in his left lapel pocket.
While we’re sure the gloves the Joker wears in the comic are probably pretty fancy, you should be able to get away with just buying white cotton gloves. They sell them at every costume store. Again, we suggest you don’t skip the gloves. They make it so much easier to work, trick-or-treat or eat while wearing the costume.
You don’t get a good look at the Joker’s shoes while he’s wearing this outfit, so you have some leeway there. We suggest a pair of black dress shoes. You’ll also need some white makeup to complete the full look, but likely much less than with the “Joe’s Garage” costume. Refer to what we said about makeup for that one and apply it here.
Finally, you probably noticed that the Joker wears a jester-themed tie clip as a part of his suit. That’s obviously a specialty item that you’re not going to be able to find in stores. While crafty folks will no doubt figure out a way to make their own, you can always mock up a really basic one out of white poster board with some markers, or just skip it.
Those are the basics, but of course, you’re free to add to and modify these costumes as you see fit. You could also use the mask to create a Joker’s Daughter costume. Or maybe come up with an all-new look for the Joker. After all, we’re pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of him, and you never know what he might be wearing when he shows up…