If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that we’ve dedicated a lot of time to tracking down the secrets behind movie stars’ looks. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to shine the spotlight on another classic Halloween costume: Batman.

The most prominent member of the Batman family is often referred to as the Caped Crusader due to his distinctive headwear. As with most classic Halloween costumes, this look is not only limited to one particular time period, but it also varies from character to character. For some, the mask is a permanent part of their identity; for others, it’s something they wear for Halloween only.

One of the main reasons why the Batman costume is so iconic is because of its association with one of the most fascinating and polarising figures in the history of film. After all, who wouldn’t want to look like Buster Crabbe as an incarnation of the Dark Knight?

Interestingly, while most stars wear the iconic symbol of Batman faithfully, there are a few exceptions to the rule. As we’ve established, the Batman costume is highly variable, and over the years, quite a few famous individuals have donned the Dark Knight’s garb with some surprising modifications. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the more interesting variations.

Robin Hood

The first celebrity to publicly break the tradition and wear the mask differently is Michael Caine, who played the legendary archer in the 1989 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In the film, Michael Caine’s character, Little John, only wears the mask when he’s hunting and when he’s disguised as a woman. Later, in an interview, Caine explained that while he respects the character of Batman and his iconic status, he believes that the outfit isn’t for everyone. Echoing this sentiment, an article from Esquire even states that Michael Caine thinks that Batman is a “bit like Robin Hood”.

Another interesting thing about Michael Caine’s Robin Hood “dress” is that, as Hollywood Reporter points out, men’s clothing store Bershka recently reissued the costume for Michael Caine’s famous character from the 80s.

Harvey Dent

Harvey Dent, the crusading attorney from Batman Begins, is one of the most well-known individuals to have worn the Batman uniform. As we’ve established, the outfit is essentially a mask that covers the head and sometimes the face; it has nothing to do with the character’s actual identity. In the context of the film, Dent’s choice to wear the mask might be explained by the fact that he’s representing Bruce Wayne in his trial, and doesn’t want to bring the attention of the court and the press to himself. In reality, Dent’s mask isn’t just a Halloween costume – it’s also a fashion choice that he made long before he assumed the role of district attorney, and it continues to be one of his preferred looks throughout his time in office. Indeed, after his stint as Gotham’s top lawyer, Harvey Dent went on to found the Crime Justice League, and has been the group’s figurehead ever since.


Another interesting variation that warrants a mention is the choice of zombies as the theme for Halloween this year. While this might sound like a strange idea, it’s actually been done before as a publicity stunt. In 1997, actor Mark Metcalfe donned a rubber mask and costume and turned up at a Toronto Apple store, asking for iPhones so that he could pose as a high-tech zombie for a day. The store’s owner, Roger Kay, was so delighted by the idea that he agreed to let Metcalfe use the store’s cameras and microphones for the promotional video. To complete the look, Metcalfe also had fake blood drawn on his face during the shooting of the video.

Similarly, in the 1950s, a man named Chuck Concesar used to dress up as a zombie for Halloween parties, usually with the help of a rubber dummy. In later years, he adopted the look more faithfully, even going so far as to paint his nails black and wear make-up to resemble rotting flesh.

Suicide Squad

Before we move on, let’s not forget about the most famous of all Batman costumes: that of the Suicide Squad. As its name suggests, the Suicide Squad is made up of individuals who have committed suicide, and its members often appear in Gotham wearing tuxedos and cocktail dresses to commit murders and rob banks in style. The character of Harley Quinn, which is loosely based on the infamous criminal, harleen silvers, has been responsible for many Halloween outfits in her time.

The interesting thing about the Suicide Squad is that its members are often portrayed as stylish and elegant, which is odd considering that they’re mostly made up of former gang members and criminals. It would appear that the costume is a visual pun on the “suicide” that its members have committed, and the elegant, if somewhat ghoulish, outfit that they wear. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the Suicide Squad is how it blurs the lines between fashion and crime. In this sense, the fashionable nature of the outfit might even be an attempt by the team’s leader, Rick Flag, to make the squad of killers look decent and well-bred.

Wonder Woman

Back to the present day and Batman’s most famous female associate, Wonder Woman. While most people know the character for her lasso of truth and her indomitable spirit, Diana Prince has also been famous for her unique looks. One of the most iconic and influential costume changes that Wonder Woman made was in 1941, when she decided to ditch the traditional long, flowing gown and replace it with a more practical and functional uniform. Later, in the 80s, the character would go on to become one of DC Comics’ most fashion-forward heroes, thanks in part to the efforts of costume designer Michael Wilkinson; he designed a complete look from head to toe, which included her iconic skirt, bodice and bowtie. As with most aspects of Wilkinson’s work, his outfits for Wonder Woman are characterful, with unique designs that are memorable and timeless.

As we’ve established, not all stars wear the Batman uniform precisely as it is depicted in the films. Some people have gone above and beyond the call of duty, even fabricating their own costumes or borrowing those of colleagues. One of the most interesting examples comes from the world of music, where several musicians have collaborated and worn the iconic costume together. Perhaps the most interesting of these outfits is the one that Lady Gaga wore as part of the Born This Way Ball, in 2014.

To end this article, let’s take a quick look at some celebrities who have worn the Batman costume, but chose to alter it slightly, or add something different. These are the most interesting variations of the costume.

Buster Crabbe

The first celebrity to assume the role of Batman on film was Buster Crabbe, who starred in numerous “B” movies in the 1920s. He’s best known for playing the character in the hugely influential 1925 silent film, The Thief of Bagdad, and most people still recognize him for that role. Crabbe is often credited with popularizing the “B” movie, and it wasn’t just his on-screen performances that helped – it was also his off-screen antics, which included posing for a famous centrefold photo spread in a 1926 issue of True Life. Crabbe was the first person to don the Dark Knight’s uniform, and he did so in a manner that was very similar to the way that his character in The Thief of Bagdad would later become renowned for wearing the outfit.

Although it’s been more than 80 years since Crabbe starred in a movie, he continues to be affiliated with Batman and his legacy, appearing at comic book conventions and generally being a popular topic wherever he goes. As a result of his celebrity, men’s clothing store Bershka recently reissued the design from the 1920s for a classic British weatherman, as well as for Michael Caine’s Robin Hood. While Crabbes’ performance in The Thief of Bagdad is one of the reasons why he’s become an integral part of Batman’s legacy, it’s also the fact that he made the outfit his own. It was originally designed for a completely different kind of character back in the day, and it was only in the years following Crabbe’s screen debut that Batman’s identity was largely established.