Ok, gents. Halloween is fast approaching, and it’s time to get your costume in order. You could keep it simple, with a Jason Voorhees mask or Freddie Krueger sweater, but we think you should step up and take it seriously. Why so serious? Because there’s a hair-raising character that’s ripe for recreating: the storied antihero from Todd Phillips’s 2019 film Joker.
Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the failed comedian Arthur Fleck (a.k.a. the Joker) has already been lauded for its nuance and grim grace. The renowned character has been given a complete reboot, so while you may have seen renditions of the villain at past at Halloween parties—the Jared Leto, Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger version—this is an entirely new aesthetic. The costume is equal parts eery, easy to achieve and totally on-trend. Below, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step on how to become the most frightening Joker of the year.
1. The Suit
The first thing you may notice about the new Joker is that his signature purple suit is amiss. Instead, the maniacal DC villain sports a crimson two-piece with a gold waistcoat and sea-green buttondown. We’re not mad about it, either—there’s nothing like a bright red suit to make you stand out at a party.
If you want to stick as close as possible to the outfit donned by Joaquin Phoenix—which was custom made and then distressed to look lived-in—StudioSuits is offering an excellent replica that can be customized and tailored to your needs. The suit ($220) is made from premium red tweed fabric and can be coupled with a gold waistcoat ($60) and a coral green shirt ($45).
Alternatively, for a more refined approach, treat yourself to Dolce & Gabanna classic two-piece in sumptuous burgundy ($2,695) or this elegant red Brioni suit which is currently on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue ($1,499). Opt for a subtle green dress shirt, like this tailored Prada number ($540) or this green cotton dinner shirt by Boglioli ($248). Then, finish with a beige waistcoat by Tagliatore ($203) or this Stefano Ricci corduroy vest ($950) for a bit of texture.
2. The Shoes
Shoe-wise, the 2019 Joker sports some well-worn, two-tone oxford lace-ups. We suggest investing in these Tom Ford dress shoes ($1,890) with brogue detailing. They have a slight ombré effect—not as dramatic as the Joker’s treads—and are made from super-soft calf leather. They’re not only incredibly in vogue, but they’ll last you a lifetime.
3. The Face
There are two ways to “put on a happy face”—as the Joker says. First, you can test out your DIY makeup skills and attempt the look at home. The good thing about the Joker’s disheveled clown makeup is that it’s quite forgiving. You don’t have to make sure that you’re super neat or that you get your eyebrows exactly the same height. If it’s a little messy, roll with it.
We suggest picking up this color palette from Ben Nye ($80)—it has the blue, black, white and red hues that you’ll need—and this Clown White Makeup ($3.50) should you need a little extra white for your base coat. For those of you who don’t know, Ben Nye is a leader special effects makeup and comes (unofficially) Goth-certified—that ghostly white complexion will last all night, no matter how hard you dance. You’ll also need two makeup brushes, a small precision tip ($24) and large concealer brush ($36). When it’s time to start the application, you can watch this YouTube tutorial (below) or follow our written guide.
- First, paint your whole face white using the large concealer brush. Try to go a little lighter on the points which you will paint later in color (the triangles above and below your eyes, the eyebrows, nose and lips). Then, grab a cue tip and wipe away any excess white paint from these soon-to-be colored areas. This is so the color and white doesn’t blend and dilute—you’ll get a richer red and blue.
- Next, grab the small brush and add blue triangles to the top and bottom of your eyes. You’ll notice the Joker’s triangles aren’t exactly symmetrical and kind of resemble blurry teardrops, so have a little fun with your shapes. You can practice on a piece of paper first, till you’re ready to tackle your face.
- Rinse the small brush and move onto the red points. Start with the eyebrows, again these do not have to be mirror-image. In fact, it adds to your unsettling demeanor if they’re not.
- Finish by painting your red nose and that menacing grin. When it comes to the lips, we think bigger is better.
If this all sounds entirely too difficult, leave it to the professionals. Stella Sensel in New York specializes in special effects makeup and charges between $150 and $250 for a full face, while Lisa Marie in LA charges $300. Of course, there are plenty of talented artists out there; do your research and best book quick.
4. The Hair
To achieve the Joker’s broccoli mop is pretty straight forward. Grab a tub of Good Dye Young’s Poser Paste Temporary Hair Makeup ($18) in Kowabunga Green and lather generously. Too lazy? Head to your trusty barber or salon and ask them to color your hair—temporarily, of course—green. Alternatively, you can pick up Joker wig on eBay for around $35 a piece.
Finally, if you haven’t yet seen the 2019 masterpiece, get your mannerisms on point by watching the trailer below. Happy Halloween!