Thrifting a Joker Costume

So, you want to be the Joker for Halloween? You may have considered buying an off-the-shelf costume for your fancy dress but for those of you who want to go for a little more authenticity then you’ll have to create your own. With some clever sewing / dyeing / thrifting you could find the perfect outfit for next to nothing.

The basics

1. Patterns – Heath Ledger’s joker has this amazing hexagon pattern shirt. This is a piece you probably will have to buy if you want your look spot on. However, if you’re limited with funds or time, a similarly patterned grey or pale purple shirt might work.

2. Colour – The Joker costume features two hard to get hold of colours in the suit world, purple and green. If you’re really stuck, you can resort to dyeing what items you do have.

The Joker costume is made up of:

  • Pinstripe purple trousers
  • Purple / grey hexagon shirt
  • Mottled brown/grey/black tie
  • Green waist coat
  • Purple coat
  • Grey Suit Jacket – although this isn’t seen often.

The two biggest factors that seem to make up the Joker costume are the purple coat and green waist coat. The next most important thing is to find purple trouser, then the hexagon shirt and tie. I’m quite a perfectionist and it is the little details such as those hexagons that would make me very, very happy but cosplay versions of the shirt can get quite pricey.

So, onto dyeing.

Dylon do a colour called Intense violet and a green called Amazon green and these dyes aren’t hard to get hold of, in fact there’s a store that sells them pretty much opposite my favourite thrift store. They also do something called pre-dye also which lightens the colour of the garment you want to dye. This would be perfect for dyeing trousers, a dark coat or a waist coat. Once you’ve dyed, though, you’re stuck with those colours so make sure you want a purple coat or are have found one you’re happy to sacrifice.

You need to find:

  • Grey/blue coat
  • Grey suit jacket
  • Grey/cream waist coat
  • Hexagon Shirt
  • Mottled Tie
  • Golfer’s socks in some garish, colourful pattern


The greasy, slicked back look is easy enough to recreate but it’s the yellowy green of those famous locks that really sets off this outfit. You could go for a joker mask that means you don’t have to mess around with make up but that’s a little boring isn’t it?

Grab yourself some green hair chalk or spray and go to town on your do, even if you don’t ave quite the right length of hair, you’ll still be able to get the desired effect. For an epic wet look, just slather on some gel. For true authenticity, don’t wash your hair for a few days…


Apply white foundation followed by a thin layer of white face powder and scrunch up your face, the look will just get strong as the day goes on. Face paint or lipstick can be used to create the Joker’s ‘smile’. Colour in your eye sockets with eyeliner or a highly pigmented black eye shadow.

For those of you who want to take things to the next level, scars and all, check out these prosthetics and this tutorial.


Perhaps perfect a few card tricks to show off to your friends ahead of your fancy dress party.

I’d love to see your Joker costumes and if you have any tips, please comment below.

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  1. I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say that your blog rocks, sad that I don’t have suck a writing skills

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