A serious question for anyone who wants to be the Joker or Harley Quinn for Halloween: Why? Aside from the fact that real, jerk-ass clowns are ruining the holiday for everyone else, do you want to be part of the majority, lost in a tsunami wave of white face paint and red lipstick?
Joker and Harley Quinn lost their edge ages ago. If you want to show you’re an OG hardcore Batfan on the streets, why not try these other options for the season? Because posing as a serial killer in an abusive relationship with his psychiatrist is nothing to parade around. Let’s be real.
1. Jim Gordon
It doesn’t take much to become Batman’s most trusted ally at the precinct. Dive into your dad’s closet or thrift store for old suits and a trench coat, get this replica Gotham PD badge or even make your own, and hit up the nearest Halloween store for white hairspray and square black glasses (if you don’t already have those!). Add a thick brown ‘stache for the cherry on top, and now you’re the only pure heart on Gotham’s police force. You’ll look distinguished.
2. 1966 Riddler
Sure, you might need to be a little more — let’s say, confident in tights, but the Riddler played by Frank Gorshin in the 1966 TV series is one of the easiest costumes you can make.
Get one of those green spandex suits from Amazon, some purple gloves, make your own purple eye mask, copy and paste a gigantic question mark cut from crafts materials, and finally, wrap a long silk belt in purple around your waist. Riddle me this, riddle me that: Who just upstaged every Harley Quinn and her little bat?
3. Vicki Vale
If being Harley ain’t your style, Gotham has no shortage of kick-ass women to become. And here’s one that rarely gets her due: Vicki Vale, intrepid reporter for the Gotham Gazette, unafraid to get to the truth.
And truthfully, you could wear anything business appropriate and snap on a homemade Gotham Gazette, but why not try something a little more iconic? Kim Basinger’s sported a memorable look in 1989’s Batman, which style blogger Camilla from Dressed Up Like a Lady pulls off wonderfully. All it takes are those ‘80s-style frames you can pick up at a thrift store and you’re onto the case.
4. Poison Ivy
Don’t be intimated by the Comic-Con cosplayers who regularly bring Poison Ivy to life. You could pull this one off fairly easily.
Get a green one-piece swimsuit, maybe some green leggings, and a whole bunch of fake leaf garlands to wrap yourself in. As for make-up, cosplayers going as Gotham’s mother of nature tend to use glittery eye make up, and there’s hundreds of tutorials on YouTube.
5. “Street” Robin
Thanks to Ryan Potter’s viral video auditioning for Tim Drake, aka Robin, for Ben Affleck’s Batman movie, you can now pull off the iconic sidekick Robin without any ballet shoes.
In the video, Ryan decked himself out in Robin’s signature colors: red, orange, and yellow, accented with a black denim jacket. (Dude’s gotta be stealthy in Gotham’s dark streets, after all.) Get a headband in place of an eye mask and a long, gray PVC pipe for a bo staff, and you’re the Boy Wonder unafraid to kick a little ass.
6. Red Hood
Admittedly, this will be a bit expensive, but if you were going to drop any cash on a prepackaged Joker, then this should be no problem.
The Red Hood is an older Jason Todd, the second Robin whom the Joker killed in Jim Starlin’s Batman: A Death in the Family and resurrected in Judd Winick’s Batman: Under the Hood as a gun-toting vigilante in a red motorcycle helmet.
You can pull off the basics for Red Hood in an afternoon at a sporting goods store: black t-shirt, brown motorcycle jacket, black tactical pants, knee pads, black gloves, boots, and a homemade Red Hood helmet which YouTube can show you how to make. It’s up to you if you want to go all in with gun holsters, custom helmets, and replica jackets which are all available online.
Also important: Don’t take your airsoft guns. Depending where you live, those are still treated like real weapons. Err on the side of caution and don’t use them, or resort to the really cheap ones in Halloween stores if you want.
7. 1966 Catwoman
Bless the low-budget of the 1966 TV show. Julie Newmar’s Catwoman remains a pop culture symbol to this day, and her classic outfit is still easy to make. While this could be picked up prepackaged, it’s also an attainable look with the right ingredients: a black catsuit (and a little glitter to sprinkle on), black gloves, cat ears, a gold belt and chain (which looks easy to make after hitting up an arts and crafts store), and a totally optional black eye mask. Meow!
8. Thomas and Martha Wayne
Why be Batman when you can be the reason for Batman? A great couples costume that isn’t gross, simply dress up to the nines, although whoever is “Martha” NEEDS a pearl necklace, which Amazon has for less than seven bucks. Hit up the streets looking for every Batman you meet, scream out “BRUUUUUUCE!!!” then drop dead in front of them.
That’s so much more fun than being the Joker and Harley Quinn.
Photos via DC Comics, dressed up like a lady, Pinterest, Getty Images / Neilson Barnard