If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, there’s a strong possibility you loved the WWF (now WWE).
Kids, like myself, grew up watching larger-than-life personalities that became household names. Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, The Undertaker, and Andre the Giant.
I loved those guys, but I was totally enamored by The Ultimate Warrior. The dude’s energy, costume, and physique had me glued to the TV with every match.
The Ultimate Warrior always ranks as one of the top superstars ever in WWE, including this top 100 list from BleacherReport (he should be higher than #27, in my opinion).
His interviews alone make him top 5!
Load the spaceship with the rocket fuel!
Come on now.
How can you not want to dress up like the Ultimate Warrior, face paint and all, and sprint down the street?
My wife and I love to dress up for Halloween. We knew early on while dating that future Halloweens together would be fun and creative! On our very first Halloween together, I dressed up like Nikki Sixx from Motley Crew and she was an 80s party girl.
Last Halloween (2022), I raised the bar. I stuck with the theme of big personality and crazy makeup, but this season it was time for The Ultimate Warrior. I was determined to make my own costume through DIY methods, so I needed weeks and weeks of planning.
Was it worth it? HELL YES.
Dressing up for Halloween is a super dad hack for having fun and inspiring creativity with your kids!
Pictures of homemade Ultimate Warrior Costume
Before I walk you through everything you need to know about creating a homemade DIY Ultimate Warrior costume, here are more photos of me in full costume!
The problems with cheap Ultimate Warrior costumes
But Eric, why not just buy something cheap at the local costume store or online?
This is one costume you need to make. You can’t buy a one-size-fits-all. Replicating the numerous details that made the Ultimate Warrior so captivating takes attention to details from head to toe.
You can easily find this junk with some Googling and buy one. Will it get a laugh? Sure. Will you love wearing it? Probably not. Will you have people come up to you all night and say “Wow, just incredible man”? No way.
Reasons to not buy pre-made
- It looks cheap and cheesy.
- You’ll never wear it again (bye-bye $170!)
- You can’t use pieces for other costumes in the future (e.g. boots, tights/shorts, armbands, etc.)
- You’ll sweat right through it. Gross.
- People prefer real muscles to fake ones.
- You’ll get zero authentic compliments.
Why make your own Ultimate Warrior Costume?
I promise you, you can do this. You don’t need to be super crafty, know how to sew, or be some makeup genius (though makeup can be tricky). I am none of those things, yet I pulled it off.
Reasons to DIY a homemade Ultimate Warrior Costume
- It’ll be a head-turner, I promise! Get ready to pose.
- You can use pieces for other outfits.
- You get to rely on showing your own muscles.
- The whole preparation is fun & exciting.
- Your kids will LOVE seeing the creative process.
Moral of the story? Don’t buy pre-made. Make your own! Here’s how.
Ultimate Warrior Attire
This is the first, and most critical step to this entire costume.
Decide on which “version” of the Ultimate Warrior you want to become!
Though the Ultimate Warrior’s look had some consistent elements (face paint, tassels, etc.), he did have multiple variations of his attire with different colors, tassel styles, and other subtle differences. Before you start buying items, you’ll need to choose a version. In my opinion, here are the 3 best attires of the Ultimate Warrior to replicate in your DIY costume:
- Classic (White, yellow, purple)
- All-American (Red, white & blue)
- Traditional (Neon bright)
The version I chose!
If you couldn’t tell already from the pictures, I went with the “Traditional” neon bright attire that he wore in WrestleMania VI where he beat Hulk Hogan in the main event.
When I envision The Ultimate Warrior, I think vibrant and obnoxious AF. It’s why I went with the traditional look and embraced the bright neon colors. The ensemble below reflects this traditional look. However, I think you can swap out a few things (e.g. paint, shorts, tassels, armbands) and rock another version fairly easily.
Let’s now get into what you need to buy to start assembling the costume!
Items to Buy
Looking for a quick listing of products to assemble the costume? Here’s a table of products, arranged from head to toe, to expedite this process!
Note: the items below are going with the “Traditional” (bright neon) version of Ultimate Warrior, there are other attire styles he wore (discussed above).
Steps to assemble
Here’s a step-by-step walk-through for each part of the Ultimate Warrior costume. Some are easy (wristbands), and others need some explanation (knee pads).
I’ll work from head to toe:
- Hair Wig
- Strings (on arms)
- Wrist Sweatbands
- Championship Belt
- Knee Pads
- Tassels (on boots)
- Self Tanner
Let’s start with the head — get yo’self a mullet wig!
1. Hair Wig
Nailing the hair is supercritical. Just make sure it’s brown and mullet-ish. The bigger and more ridiculous, the better your costume. This one below fits awesome!
Wear the fishnet thingy that goes under the wig, it’ll be more comfortable and help the wig stay on.
You will absolutely spend the most amount of time on the ultimate warrior face makeup — and rightfully so, it was the most unique element to the Warrior’s ensemble!
You’ll need 4 things for the face makeup:
- Video step-by-step (you need a tutorial)
- Black paint
- Neon paint (as bright as possible)
- Paintbrushes (buy ’em new!)
First, you need to find an awesome step-by-step video tutorial. I used the video below to guide me, and it was a HUGE help. I watched it from start to finish first, then multiple times again — pausing and re-watching certain details. Note: I didn’t use the makeup primer like suggested, I jumped ahead and started with the black outline first.
Second, buying the right kind of face paint is critical.
I’d recommend getting black separate from a neon set to ensure it’s bold and applies thick. Also, always buy makeup that’s non-toxic, and don’t re-use your kids’ disgusting craft paintbrushes! Get some new ones, they’re going to be touching your handsome face dude.
Here are the products I bought:
I paused the video and made screenshots of certain moments to see specific details, such as the black outline below. Also, you’ll need two coats of neon paint — it drys light.
3. Strings (on arms)
You could really embrace the DIY theme and make your own arm strings out of shoelaces or rope, but why do that when you can buy them pre-made? These are totally awesome, easy to slide on/off, and long enough for the dramatic flair.
Plus, they come with matching wristbands! See below.
Buy 2 sets, and wear the other around your knees!
4. Wrist Sweatbands
Wrist sweatbands are straightforward, you have lots of options to buy ones that are bright neon. Heck, you might already own some. I decided to these buy two options and make a game-time decision.
I went with these below, and bonus, they come with the arm strings above!
5. Championship Belt
I admit, I splurged here. I tried really hard for weeks to find a used championship belt, scouring Facebook Marketplace like a champ. But, I simply couldn’t find a quality belt that wasn’t $200+ (hey, every wanna-be-Warrior has his limit!)
This part of the Ultimate Warrior costume will really polish off the look, so be wary of belts made for kids or are super cheap plastic. This belt fits great and looks great. I will definitely use it again with other costumes!
Listen, I know this was the weakest part of my costume. I’d gone ALL IN (no shame) with tight neon green spandex if there were no kids. But, we walked with dozens of kids in our neighborhood trick-or-treating for hours. And that wouldn’t been just weird Dad stuff, ya know?
If you’re not worried about scaring kids with your, ahem, package, I’m sure you can find some neon speedos somewhere. I had to get creative and found these sports shorts instead. They worked and were OK.
7. Knee Pads
This part of the Ultimate Warrior costume took the most DIY work. Before you freak out, listen, this is basic elementary school stuff. Draw an outline, paint, and let dry. No problem.
Here’s what you need:
And here are the 2 basic steps to making custom (and awesome) Warrior knee pads!
Step 1: Draw the Warrior logo outline
Use construction paper, the thicker the better.
Step 2: Cut out logo, spray over, fill in leftover white area
I think they turned out awesome! My only regret is the Nike swoosh — it’s tough to find adult plain white knee pads at a cheap price!
8. Tassels (on boots)
The Ultimate Warrior was very liberal with his strings and tassels. He had them everywhere. But, the ones coming off the boots are super critical to the outfit.
I simply bought 6 sheets of this green foam:
And then cut them into thin strands about 3/4 the way up.
I needed two sheets to wrap around my entire leg. I simply attached them together with a combo of a safety pin and black Gorilla tape.
Once prepped, slide them on before putting on the boots. Then, tuck them under the knee pads. This is key, tucking under the knee pads avoids any sewing or gluing on the boots! They’ll stay put if the knee pads are tight enough.
Confession: I not only splurged on the championship belt, but on some boots for my Ultimate Warrior costume, too!
It’s really hard to find a cheap alternative with boots. I’ve seen some people use white tube socks and white shoes. I mean, can you do that? Sure. But shiny boots are part of every wrestler’s attire — you simply got to bite the bullet here. Plus, the tassels will have more flair when your boots are legit!
These boots come in white, yellow (think Hulk Hogan), black, red, and blue. They’re actually pretty comfortable and it’s fun stuff to lace up!
I stayed away from sewing or gluing anything to these awesome boots to ensure they stayed in great condition for future costumes or simply selling.
If/when I dress up like the Ultimate Warrior again, I will take this costume up a notch and apply self-tanner. Every wrestler is super tan! I decided against it, simply because it’s a significant time commitment for prep and drying. The instructions say to wait 1-8 hours before dressing. Um, ok, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Here are a few more tips when putting together the Ultimate Warrior costume:
- Use an eyeliner pen to draw the black outline for the face paint first to guide you
- You can use the Warrior logo/emblem to also paint it on your shorts/tights, boots
- The more strings/tassels, the more dramatic the look!
- Shave at least your chest, do full body if you’re taking this as serious as I did. 🙂 Tan & smooth!
Dad’s Final Thoughts
Once dressed up, have fun with it! All these details will turn heads wherever you go. The costume is electric and fun — you’ll be the talk of the party/Halloween/get-together.
I picked up my kids in full costume and they lost their minds. My daughter kept saying over and over, “What is happening?!” It was serious fun.
I would also re-watch interviews of Ultimate Warrior and constantly get in character throughout Halloween in spite of embarrassing my kids.
Hulk Hogan! I am looking for you. And I will find you!
Invest the time and money into this homemade Ultimate Warrior costume. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when it all comes together, and you’ll have made some awesome fun memories with your kids.
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Can you win at Dadhood AND everywhere else in life? I'm just crazy enough to believe we can. With the right knowledge, hacks, habits, and motivation — we can crush it ALL!
Eric Sharp is the founder of Healthy Dad Hacks. He married the love of his life (Sarah) and proud Dad of a blended family (Hazel & Roman). When not thinking about being a better Dad, he enjoys; CrossFit, entrepreneurship, eating carnivore, learning and writing about his findings, staying loyal to his Chicago Bears, music, and fancy sneakers.
[Picture: Turkey Trot 2021]