Dress Up Like Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs

If you are looking for a good Hannibal Lecter costume for Halloween or a big cosplay event, here’s the winning formula for creating the most exciting outfit of the party! Let’s see how to dress up as Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs.


Costume-Hannibal Lecter-Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs Costume Guide

Shopping List for Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs Costume & Outfit

It wouldn’t be Halloween without at least one serial killer making an appearance, and who could be more suited for the occasion than the monster that is Hannibal Lecter. The movie, The Silence of the Lambs (1991) gave us the most well known Hannibal Lecter costume, courtesy of costume designer Colleen Atwood, and for most of us a couple of months of nightmares.  

Costume Guide - Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal Lecter, one of the most feared serial killers, seen here in psychological horror The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Orion Pictures

Although notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter has been portrayed in a number of tv shows and movies, and by a number of different actors, horror fans know that no one truly embodies him like Anthony Hopkins did in The Silence of The Lambs. The psychological horror movie sees Dr Hannibal ‘the cannibal’ Lecter using his skills as a renowned forensic psychiatrist to help young FBI Academy student Clarice Starling (here is more about her costume) catch Buffalo Bill, another in the line of despicable killers.   

Recreating the Hannibal Lecter Costume 

Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs Clarice Starlin

You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste.”


To recreate the most famous Hannibal Lecter costume, just short of actually having to strap yourself to a trolley, start with a plain white t-shirt and a bright orange prison jumpsuit. No need to go fancy with the prison overalls as you know most of them will be covered, but add a pair of black formal shoes to the costume to finish the main look. 

Most of the costume’s impact will come from the accessories you add on top of the prison jumpsuit, but first start by preparing your hair. Hannibal Lecter wears his hair slicked back in the movie with a little bit of a widow’s peak. Using hair gel recreate his style by slicking your hair back across your head. If you don’t naturally have the little v-shaped widow’s peak at the front, then don’t worry once your Hannibal Lecter costume all comes together it won’t be that important. 

Anthony Hopkins discusses playing Hannibal Lecter and mistakenly thinking he had been sent the script for a children’s movie, in this clip, Lecter and Me.

The Finishing Touches: Straight Jacket and Bite Mask

There are only two more pieces to add to finish your Hannibal Lecter look, but they are the most important. Enlist a friend to help you, because now it’s time to get into your straight jacket. Put it on and get someone to tie it down so your arms are locked in place, and make sure it’s tight, we wouldn’t want you escaping. The last piece is your bite mask. Purchase a brown leather style half face mask that straps around your head and will cover your nose and mouth, just like the one in the movie. Get your helper to strap your mask on, give a few snaps of your teeth like you might bite them and you should start to feel yourself getting into character.

Getting into Character: Channeling Hannibal Lecter

Remember when you are out and about this Halloween Hannibal hates people who are rude, so keep an eye out for anyone being naughty. A wide eyed stare and a hiss of the tongue from behind your mask should get everyone back in line, and make sure they know your Hannibal Lecter costume is the most terrifying of the night. 

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