Dress Up Like The Joker 1989 from Batman

If you are looking for a good The Joker 1989 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 The Joker 1989 from Batman.


costume-The Joker 1989-Batman

The Joker 1989 from Batman Costume Guide

Batman is a superhero movie from 1989 that is based on the same-named DC Comics character established by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. It is the first picture in Warner Bros.’ first Batman film series, which was produced by Jon Peters and Peter Guber. The movie follows the titular character as he battles his archenemy The Joker in the early stages of his fight against crime.

The costumes were designed by British academy award costume designer, Bob Ringwood and makeup by Nick Dudman

Costume Tutorial -Dress Up Like The Joker 1989 from Batman
BATMAN (1989) 1Jack Nicholson in the role of Joker. Still image from the film.

Batman (1989), masterfully nails the instantly recognizable personality traits of the Joker from the comics: He is an oddball felon with a cruel sense of humor.

Joker Suit and the Story Behind

Tim Burton, who was pioneering new ground with Batman, went to designer Bob Ringwood for assistance in reimagining the character.

Costume Tutorial -Dress Up Like The Joker 1989 from Batman- Original Sketches by Bob Ringwood for the Joker character
BATMAN (1989)
Original Sketches by Bob Ringwood for the Joker character.

Ringwood conceded, “I had never even read a Batman comic. So, I went out and bought about 200 of them from all the different time periods – including the really early ones – and studied them thoroughly…”.

Costume Tutorial -Dress Up Like The Joker 1989 from Batman- Original Sketches by Bob Ringwood for the Joker character-2
BATMAN (1989)
Original Sketches by Bob Ringwood for the Joker character.

The audience is necessary since this Joker is larger than life. His vivid purple suits are perfectly coordinated and expertly made. All eyes are on him because of his striking, flawlessly applied clown makeup.

The Joker’s suit was designed with the idea of enhancing Jack Nicholson’s style.

“He adores clothes. So all we did was just re-interpret the clothes that the Joker wears in the drawings to work with Nicholson’s personality. To do clothes with him is a joy ride, really, because he just loves them. He is really with you and he’s suggesting things and inventing things and doing things. He’s wonderful”.

Custom Designer Ringwood about John Nicholson

Everything in the movie was designed with the idea that they were trapped in the 1940s, including Batman and the Gotham Police Department.

Joker Makeup and the Story Behind

Various Batman personas have been brought to life with the help of special effects makeup, starting with Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and ending with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2008.

The Joker, Batman’s most infamous antagonist, was brought to life in 1989 by makeup artist Nick Dudman. The design had to be appropriate since when Jack Nicholson agreed to play the Joker in Batman, he didn’t want to depict him as a cartoonish comic book villain.

Nicholson had the last word in the Joker’s appearance

It was revealed in a behind-the-scenes documentary that Nicholson had the last word in the Joker’s appearance, and he took that responsibility critically.

BATMAN 3 makeup stages of Jack Nicholson as the Joker.
BATMAN 3 makeup stages of Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Source: 1989batman.com

As seen in several of the photographs included in the featurette, Nicholson recognized the figure in the comics had an enlarged chin, something he was interested in experimenting with. The actor further mentioned how his allergy to spirit gum, the main ingredient for movie makeup, made the makeup application process much more difficult.

To achieve the significant makeup & prosthetics look of Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989), watch the following makeup tutorial video:

Detailed Joker Makeup For Halloween – Transforming into Jack Nicholson

Nicholson’s face was cast, and prosthetic parts were subsequently molded to create the Joker’s trademark smirk. There were five different original molds available, and Tim Burton picked the one he believed to be the one with the finest appearance. When the Joker strips off the flesh-colored makeup to reveal a white face beneath, it’s one of the most amazing effects in the picture. White paint with an acrylic base that had silicone oil applied on top was used to produce this appearance. The silicone oil, to which nothing attaches, was then covered with a layer of skin-colored makeup that Nicholson could easily brush off during the action.

BATMAN how to create costume as Jack Nicholson as the Joker-1
BATMAN how to create a costume as Jack Nicholson Joker

How to Create The Joker 1989 Costume?

This costume can be purchased online either separately or all together.

The full set deal can be purchased online here:

In the case that you are looking for separate pieces, those can also be ordered online. The costume should include:

  • the Joker suit pants in a purple and blue checker pattern
  • a set of purple oxfords
  • a shiny shirt in orange (preferably silky)
  • a thin, long sky blue scarf to tie around the neck
  • a set of purple gloves
  • a tailcoat tuxedo in purple
  • and the dark purple top hat (40s style).

Don’t forget to bring your evil laugh along to the party!

Tip: Here you can read how to Dress Up Like Joker from Suicide Squad or channel the fierce determination of the Winter Soldier costume from Marvel for an edgy and intense character transformation.

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