How to Make a Rodeo Clown Costume

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What do you get if you cross a cowboy and a clown? A rodeo clown! It's not much of a punchline, but a rodeo clown definitely makes for a fun and funny Halloween costume. The best thing about putting together DIY rodeo clown Halloween costumes is that anything goes as long as you draw from the categories of western wear; classic clown attire; and garish, bright, colorful clothing. Mix and match items fitting these wacky themes and add some face paint and you have an easy-to-assemble kids' costume, toddler costume or adult costume, with plus-size and unisex options easily included.

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Rodeo clown costume essentials

A classic rodeo clown outfit is intended to catch the eye, both to distract any rampaging livestock and to entertain the rodeo audience. The essential elements of any rodeo clown costume include: oversize jeans; the waist must be comically large on the wearer and held up with suspenders. If you can't find real suspenders, fashion a pair from rope, webbing or even a couple of old belts. Improvisation is key to this cosplay theme!

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For footwear, choose cowboy boots if you have them; otherwise, old, worn-out sneakers are ideal (big clown shoes don't work for a rodeo clown who has to be ready for athletic feats). Pull a pair of long athletic socks up over the ankles of your jeans for a suitably silly look.

Rodeo clowns typically wear a long-sleeve, button-down shirt under those essential suspenders. For your rodeo clown Halloween costume, opt for the brightest colors and patterns you can find. Stripes, polka dots and patriotic shirt patterns are all common among real rodeo clowns, as are bright red and blue color schemes. You get bonus points if you can find a western shirt featuring fringe. Remember that kids can wear a plain long-sleeve T-shirt underneath for added warmth while trick-or-treating.

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A rodeo clown’s must-have costume accessories

A cowboy hat is essential to any rodeo clown costume, but a straw hat is also a good alternative. Rodeo clowns usually accessorize with bandanas—classic, western-style scarves in multiple bright colors. Tie one around the neck kerchief-style with additional bandanas tied to belt loops or your suspenders so that they dangle loose. Speaking of belt loops, a big, cowboy-worthy belt buckle is another great accessory for a rodeo clown costume.

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Hair and makeup for a funny face

As with a regular clown Halloween costume, any rodeo clown getup requires heavy-handed face paint. Rodeo clown and circus clown makeup is essentially the same, so look at images online for inspiration. The basic design includes big white circles around the eyes and mouth, a round red clown nose, big black teardrop-shaped eyebrows and black eyeliner pencil lines for outlines and details. Choose the right mouth shape to create a happy or sad clown effect.

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Rodeo clowns don't always wear wacky clown wigs, but these can be a fun addition to any rodeo clown costume. If the wearer's hair is visible under the hat, try a wild and messy look with backcombing and hair spray or consider spray-in, wash-out hair dye in a bright color.

More rodeo clown costume ideas

With all the basics plus a few accessories in place, a rodeo clown costume is instantly recognizable. However, adding a few extras can make it extra deluxe and lead to even more fun at a Halloween party. A lasso is a great accessory to fit the cowboy theme, as is a toy hobby horse for the rodeo clown to ride. Some rodeo clowns perform skits inside a barrel, so you might include a plastic rain barrel as a prop. A barrel can even make up part of the costume; cut out the base and attach ropes so it can be worn like overalls.

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If your rodeo clown outfit doesn't look bright or garish enough, add some fabric paint to jazz it up. Paint brightly colored stripes, stars, polka dots or chevrons. Some rodeo clowns have a bullseye on the back of their shirt to taunt the bulls. Add one to your costume with fabric paint. Fortunately, a messy paint job is OK for this kind of costume.

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