How to Make a Rambo Costume

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As one of the most iconic characters in the history of movies, Rambo is a fun Halloween costume idea that's pretty easy to DIY. U.S. Army Special Forces veteran John Rambo, famously played by Sylvester Stallone in five ‌Rambo‌ movies (and counting), wears combat-style clothing you should be able to find in a thrift store or military surplus store. To accessorize with Rambo's weaponry, visit a toy store or take a DIY approach. The character is famous for his very muscular body, but a Rambo Halloween costume is iconic enough that anyone, of any age and body type, can dress up as Rambo and be instantly recognizable as the anti-hero.

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Things You'll Need

  • Black, army green or camo-print cargo or military-style pants

  • Black or white tank top or faux muscle shirt (optional)

  • Black combat boots or work boots

  • Dark brown wavy mullet wig

  • Scrap fabric

  • Toy bullet belt or foam bullets and duct tape

  • Toy machine gun

  • Toy hunting knife

  • Brown or tan face paint

1. Find Rambo-style pants

In the five ‌Rambo‌ films, the character always wears long cargo or military-style pants. If you don't already own this type of pants, head to a military surplus or thrift store and find a pair in black, army green or camo print. Wear them as the foundation for your Rambo Halloween costume, optionally with a belt.

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2. Choose a Rambo-style shirt (or not)

Rambo is often seen shirtless and showing off his physique. You can do the same for your costume, if you wish. Smudge some brown or tan face paint in a few places on your torso to resemble Rambo's battle-weary look. Alternatively, find a faux muscle shirt at a costume store to fake Rambo's body type.

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Tip

Rambo is also shown wearing a tight-fitting tank top, either in black or dirty white, so this is an option as well. Make a white tank top look dirty by intentionally staining it with tea or coffee and letting it dry.

3. Wear black combat or work boots

Black combat or work boots are the best footwear choices for a Rambo costume. If you are unable to acquire these, opt for any black sturdy or athletic-style shoes or boots, such as sneakers or hiking boots.

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4. Copy Rambo’s iconic hairstyle

Rambo's hairstyle, an icon of the 1980s, comprises a dark brown, tousled, wavy mullet with bangs. His hair is around chin or shoulder length, depending on the movie. Unless your hair is sufficiently close to this style, and your look requires only some scrunching and hairspray to complete it, you'll need to find an appropriate wig.

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5. Create Rambo’s bandanna

Rambo is nearly always shown wearing a bandanna created from a long strip of torn fabric tied around his forehead and knotted at the back or side of the head. This is an essential accessory for any Rambo Halloween costume. Tear an arm's-length strip of fabric from any scrap fabric and fold it lengthwise to create the bandanna. Choose red fabric if you want to replicate Rambo's red bandanna from ‌First Blood Part II‌, which he tears from the red dress of his slain girlfriend in a famous scene.

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5. Buy or make Rambo’s weaponry

Rambo's machine gun, hunting knife and bullet belt slung across his chest are key accessories for a costume. You should be able to find toy plastic versions of all these items in a toy store or thrift store. The bullet belt is easy to DIY by sandwiching rows of foam bullets between long strips of duct tape.

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5. Add muddy face paint for a finishing touch

Rambo's combat missions leave him looking sweaty and dirty most of the time. Replicate this by smudging brown or tan face paint in various spots wherever skin is exposed.

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