Thursday, September 8, 2016

Reviewing Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes

A great selection of Harley Quinn Costume ideas from the classic harlequin style costume to the 2016 Suicide Squad version
The most popular Harley Quinn Halloween costumes are based on the character of DC Comic’s Harley Quinn and these are the costumes I’m going to look at on this page.

From the origins of the ‘classic’ Harley Quinn costume and how it has evolved through time to become the edgy street look that Margot Robbie wears in the movie Suicide Squad.


The name Harley Quinn is a play on words harking back to harlequins and DC Comics aren’t the first to make this reference – Agatha Christie features the Mysterious Mr Harley Quinn in some of her stories.   
In the comic world Harley Quinn is a female and actually began her life in the comics as Doctor Harleen Quinzel.   

The graphic novel Mad Love recounts how psychiatrist Dr Quinzel falls in love with the Joker while he’s her patient at the Arkham Asyllum.   She ends up as his on-again, off-again sidekick – Harley Quinn.

When I was growing up a harlequin was like a court jester and wore an outfit that consisted of diamond shapes.   A regular character in pantomimes, there was always something mysterious and mischievous about the harlequin.  (You can check out some Court Jester costumes on my Halloween blog)

The classic black and red costume of Harley Quinn is more than a nod to the historical harlequin of the 17th century English Harlequin (which was an evolution of the Harlequin from France first written about around the 11th century).

The Paul Cezanne painting of a Harlequin (middle picture) could possibly be the inspiration for the red and black combination traditionally used in Harley Quinn’s costume.  Between 1888 and 1890 Cezanne painted four different pieces focusing on the Harlequin .

In the Mr Ellar as Harlequin theatrical portrait (top picture) you can see the idea for Harley’s original mask.  I believe that the ruff featured here also probably influenced the white collar used on the original Harley Quinn outfit as well.

The bottom picture of the court jester has the hat that Harley Quinn sports in her first costumes.  The shape is very much the same, although Harley's has just two 'points' on her hat instead of the traditional three.

Here’s an original Harley Quinn costume for you to purchase for Halloween or any other fancy dress event you have in your calendar.

Harley Quinn Classic Costume




The court jester style outfit has been changed over the years with changes being made to her mask, collar & hat.   It has even become a two piece so that some midriff could be shown.

Harley Quinn Cosplay Costumes

The Harley Quinn Arkham Costumes


In Batman: Arkham Asylum (the 2009 video game), the colors are changed from red and black to red and purple.   The traditional outfit is also changed to a an asylum nurse's outfit......mind  you I don't think you'd see a nurse dressed quite like this in any hospital I've ever visited!

We also see the jester hat retired and Harley's blonde hair is worn in two pony tails.  The hat hasn't, as yet, made a re-appearance and I quite like that because the jaunty, blonde two pig tails are a great look on Harley.


As we can see Harley Quinn is no longer looking like court jester, but is developing into a comic book sex symbol!

In the sequel game, Batman: Arkham City, released in 2011, Harley reverts back to the black and red color scheme we all love.

The blonde ponytails remain, but the tips of them are dyed - one side red and the other black in a fun homage to her old jester hat.

She's no longer masquerading as a nurse, but has put a much grittier spin on the traditional harlequin costume. In keeping with her sex symbol status her midriff is showing and the top looks rather like an under-bust corset and bra combo.

Check out the officially licensed Arkham City Harley Quinn costume below.   The outfit has a leather look about it that is designed to show some attitude.   In reality this costume is a mix of polyester, vinyl and latex.




Yet another video game sequel was Batman: Arkham Knight which saw the next outfit change for our Harley.

She kept her trademark red and black colors and wore her blonde hair in pony tails with the black and red tips, but her actual costume resembled that of a french maid gone bad!

The skirt is in the style of a french maid, but is black, her black corset actually covers her midriff now.  Out of the video game reincarnations I think this is probably my favorite.   I love the leather look choker and the fact that the midriff is covered - I think it's a very edgy costume and does justice to Harley's attitude.




Yet another rebirth of the DC characters occurred in 2016 which included changing Harley Quinn's costume once more. This time the familiar red and black was changed to red and blue and Harley Quinn along with members of the Suicide Squad were to star in their own movie as anti-heroes saving the day.

Harley Quinn Suicide Squad Costume


I must admit that I loved the Suicide Squad Halloween costumes and Harley Quinn really did get a great look that is proving very popular with fans.   No more court jester, Harley Quinn just got a punk inspired, edgy street look that I predict will be extremely popular this Halloween.

Brought to life on the big screen by Australian actress Margot Robbie Harley Quinn still has her blonde pigtails, but the ends are dyed pink and blue instead of the black and red.   She's wearing the type of hot pants that fellow Australian Kylie Minogue made famous, although Harley is sporting hers over the top of fishnets!

High heeled sneakers, smudged make up and a jacket thrown over a t-shirt gives Harley a real 'don't mess with me' look.............or that could be the bat she's wielding!


Harley Quinn's outfits have certainly come a long way when you look at the original and the latest next to each other, but they do say that we have to evolve and she's certainly done that.

Collection of Harley Quinn Halloween Costumes through the years
Harley Quinn Costumes through her various incarnations

The images above are from a range of photographs of Harley Quinn costumes in the public domain that have been modified, if you want to check them all out individually we have -

Classic Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn Nurse, Arkham City Harley Quin, Arkham Knight Harley Quinn & Suicide Squad Harley Quinn.

Do you have a favorite Harley Quinn Halloween Costume?


I love the edginess of the Suicide Squad Harley, but I have a nostalgic fondness for the classic Quinn, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Which Harley Quinn costume would you wear






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

7 comments:

  1. Clearly, I live a very sheltered life. This is all new to me, including the Harley Quinn name (my guess would have been a two-wheeled motorbike). However, I did enjoy reading this and love many of the Harley Quinn costumes. Wow, quite a selection of styles! As much as I love the pony tails, my favorite is probably the fairly classic Harlequin costume. Thanks for enlightening me, Louanne!

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  2. What an interesting article. Like, Susan, I was 'in the dark' about Harley Quinn, both the background of the character and the costumes until I read this. I KNOW my son-in-law will be quite familiar with Harley Quinn as he is a comic book artist in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy world and there is not much he doesn't know about DC Comics and comic book characters. :) Will pass this article on to him as he and my daughter are always quite elaborate in their Halloween costumes each year and the Harley Quinn look would look great on my blond daughter.

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  3. Wow! Quite the history lesson mostly unknown to me. I knew of the Harley Quinn but never knew the history. Great selection of costumes and article. Thanks!

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  4. I absolutely love the Harley Quinn costumes! I always have. Although, admittedly, I prefer the more modest styles myself. You did an excellent job of explaining the history and the costume chronology for us. Even though I would still stick to the first costume, I can easily imagine the younger generation would prefer the others. Btw, I have never seen a nurse dressed like that either and if I did, I think I would flee the hospital in fear for my life.

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  5. You know I believe that you learn something new everyday and here I am learning a lot of new things I didn't know before. Thanks for enlightening me. These costumes are "RAD" as the kids today say, but not really for me...There is much to much of me to make that costume look interesting. But they are all really nice.

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  6. I had never heard of Harley Quinn so that was all new and interesting information. Very interesting costumes.

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  7. I had never heard of Harley Quinn so that was all new and interesting information. Very interesting costumes.

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