Halloween is rapidly approaching, and you’re not sure what to wear. Sure, you can always call it a wash this season and promise yourself to order early next time. (Isn’t that what you said last year?) But as a strength athlete, you take pride in your lifts, and you’re eager to show that off with your costume — even if you’re late to the party and have to make like the Avengers and assemble it yourself.
Here, we’ll break down what you need to toss together each strength-inspired costume, and even list out some character-inspired exercises so you can stay on brand in the gym. You’ll be surprised (or maybe not) by how many Halloween costumes for strength athletes you can swing with a few black T-shirts, pants, and leather jackets.
Halloween Costumes for Strength Athletes
- Luisa Madrigal
- Larry the Lobster
- Wreck-It Ralph
- Sailor Jupiter
- The Incredibles
- Powerpuff Girls
- Daisy Johnson
- Captain Marvel
- Sarah Connor
- The Terminator
- Tiny Tiger
- Lara Croft
- Rocky Balboa
- Mr. Clean
- ‘80s Pro Wrestler
- ‘80s Fitness Class Instructor
Coming at you full-speed ahead from Disney’s Encanto, Luisa Madrigal is everything you want in a strength athlete. She’s powerful enough to overhead press her entire village and crush sprint workouts on a magical treadmill with heavy dumbbells in her hands.
How to Make a Luisa Madrigal Costume
You’ll be in good company if you don Luisa’s skirt, blouse, and bow this Halloween season. After the movie was first released in Nov. 2021, athletes like Maribel Martinez memorably took to social media to do homage to the powerhouse of the Madrigal family. It’s not too late to join in the fun.
- Purple maxi skirt
- Purple sandals
- White puff-sleeve blouse
- Red ribbon (for your hair)
Luisa Madrigal Exercises
You’re dressed like Luisa. Here are a couple of moves that she’s got in her repertoire to give you some cosplay inspiration on your next trip to the gym.
The title character of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is powerful indeed. Her strength isn’t limited to her wide-eyed loyalty and stubborn defense of everything she believes is right. She’s also got the power to throw tanks like they’re baseballs and leap through space so easily it looks like she’s flying. You can look like that, too.
How to Make a She-Ra Costume
She-Ra has definitely improvised a rescue plan or two in her day. Here’s how to improvise her costume.
- Knee-high boots (white and gold)
- White skort
- White tank top (add golden emblem to center and gold felt shoulder pads)
- Red cape
- Blonde wig
- Gold felt gauntlets
- Golden crown
- Foam sword
You might not have a magical sword to train with, but if you’ve got a barbell and plates, you can still get a She-Ra-esque training day in.
Get ready to look ridiculous…and buff. The lifeguard-bodybuilder-strongman-showoff Larry the Lobster looms large — literally — in SpongeBob SquarePants. When he’s not serving as a lifeguard at the Goo Lagoon brine pool (and even when he is), Larry is overhead pressing bleachers full of fish spectators and hoisting anchor-laden barbells like they’re feathers.
How to Make a Larry the Lobster Costume
You’ll need a lot of red. And muscles.
- Red sweatshirt
- Red leggings
- Lobster claws (red felt shaped over boxing gloves)
- Lobster tail (red felt attached to the bottom of the sweatshirt)
- Lobster antennae (red felt attached to red beanie)
Larry the Lobster Exercises
Here are just some of the moves Larry’s got in his aquatic repertoire.
Who doesn’t need to just wreck things every once in a while? Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph follows a master wrecker in his arcade game who just wants to be loved (relatable). With a couple quick, efficient smashes, Ralph can bring down entire buildings. Throwing cars? No problem. This one’s a strongman extraordinaire.
How to Make a Wreck-It Ralph Costume
Though his character development may be complex, Ralph’s outfit is pretty simple.
- Orange checked henley (short sleeves)
- Brown overalls
- Hulk gloves (painted to match your skin tone)
Wreck-It Ralph Exercises
Find gym equipment that you can’t actually wreck and live out your arcade game dreams.
The Moon Princess and her Sailor Senshi don’t get all tier power from the moon. In the case of Sailor Jupiter, a lot of her physical strength also comes along with just being teenage girl Makoto Kino, who’s more than capable of hoisting up grown men while ice skating and bashing through monster after monster — without even transforming — to rescue Usagi.
How to Make a Sailor Jupiter Costume
Put on your theme song, freeze all conversations with the bad guys, and transform into your inner Sailor Scout as follows:
- Long white gloves (green trim)
- Green shoes
- Green skirt
- White blouse (add green trim and big pink bow)
- Golden tiara (worn on forehead, green gem)
Sailor Jupiter Exercises
Makoto seems to get extra bursts of energy when she’s protecting (or showing strength for) Usagi and the other Sailor Senshi — so consider doing your workout with that protective streak in mind.
Need a strength-themed costume for the entire family? You can’t go wrong with The Incredibles. Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, and the whole group of super kiddos all make for solid Halloween options. Whether you want to channel Dash’s superhuman speed, Mr. Incredible’s…well, incredible…strength, or Elastigirl’s powerful, mobile shapeshifting, you’ve got options here.
How to Make The Incredibles Costumes
Break out the red spandex. You’ll need a ton of it. Customize to your chosen character as desired.
- Red jumpsuit (or red T-shirt and red pants)
- Black knee-high boots
- Black mask
- Black forearm guards
- Black briefs
- Yellow and black fabric markers (to create Incredibles’ logo on your shirt)
The Incredibles Exercises
Depending on which Incredible superpowers you aspire to, here are some moves to choose from.
- Straddle Jump
- Split Jump
- Paused Bench Press
- Treadmill Push
Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup all have their unique abilities, of course. But especially as a unit, the Powerpuff Girls are not to be trifled with. Thanks to the power of Chemical X, they’ve all got superhuman strength and flight capabilities, which helps explain how these little ones have brought down villain after villain in Townsville.
How to Make a Powerpuff Girls Costume
First things first, let’s get it right: Blossom is pink, Bubbles is blue, and Buttercup is green. Now you know. Choose your fighter as you wish.
- Pink, light blue, or light green dress
- Wide black belt
- Matching hair ribbon
Powerpuff Girls Exercises
No matter which Powerpuff Girl you decide to become, here are the moves to help you be as convincing as possible.
The first Asian-American superhero featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Daisy Johnson is a certified powerhouse. Also known as Quake and — depending who’s telling the story — the Destroyer of Worlds, Daisy’s powers aren’t just about causing super-focused earthquakes (hence the name). She’s also an incredibly skilled fighter in her own right, powers or not.
[Read More: The 13 Best Barbells of 2023 (Fall Update)]
How to Make a Daisy Johnson Costume
If you don’t have time to order Quake’s costume, you can toss these pieces together for a pretty solid Daisy outfit.
- Black leather jacket
- Black pants
- Black combat boots
- Black elbow-length fingerless gloves
- Black utility belt
Daisy Johnson Exercises
Throw down some intense combinations on a heavy bag to train like Daisy.
- Kettlebell Clean & Press
- Box Jump
Carol Danvers is a force to be reckoned with. An Earth-bound pilot and a Kree warrior all in one, Captain Marvel has all the training — and all the instincts and integrity — to be exactly the Avenger that Earth needs. It’s not all about flying through space and firing photonic blasts from her hands, though. She also can (and does) go toe-to-toe with the best of them at hand-to-hand combat.
How to Make a Captain Marvel Costume
Whether you’re going off the comic books or Brie Larson’s portrayal in the MCU, there are some Captain Marvel essentials you’ll want to collect.
- Brown leather jacket
- Blue jumpsuit
- Red knee-high boots
- Red gloves
- Red belt
- Red shoulder pads (cardboard or felt)
- Golden eight-point star (cardboard or felt)
- Golden piping (felt or glue marker, for chest and shoulders)
Captain Marvel Exercises
No, you won’t be able to destroy Thanos’ warships with your own body, but you’ll still feel pretty powerful.
- Truck Pull OR Sled Pull
- Pig Flip
- Overhead Barbell Lunge
- Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift into Jump
Whether your favorite Caped Crusader is Tim Fox, the original Bruce Wayne, or any other member of the Bat-Family, Batman is a classic for strength fans across the board. Since he doesn’t have powers (being a billionaire and having all the gadgets doesn’t count), he relies on raw strength and agility to get the job done. And get it done, he does.
How to Make a Batman Costume
Though his nightly feats of strength are unfathomable, the night dweller of Gotham City’s outfit is pretty simple.
- Black T-shirt
- Black pants
- Black cape
- Black combat boots
- Yellow belt
- Black mask (don’t forget the bat ears)
* Honorable mention exercise because sometimes — as powerlifter Carter Wu teaches us — you must don the attire of the bat to deadlift heavy.
No matter what alternate timeline you’re in, Sarah Connor can take on even the beefiest gym bro without breaking a sweat. The weapons she wields are no joke, and neither are actor Linda Hamilton’s arms. After surviving the Terminator’s attempt to kill her as a 19-year-old, Sarah got busy preparing to take on anything and anyone. And all the way from the original 1984 movie through 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate, she proved that she can.
How to Make a Sarah Connor Costume
Depending on which iteration of the Terminator franchise icon you want to be (don’t forget about Lena Headey in The Sarah Connor Chronicles), you can pick and choose from these clothing items.
- Black tank top or T-shirt
- Black cargo pants
- Black utility belt
- Black baseball cap
- Black combat boots
- Round black sunglasses
- Weighted vest (yes, your fitness equipment can double as your costume here)
Sarah Connor Exercises
Here’s how to give yourself those famous Linda Hamilton arms.
- Close-Grip Push-Up
- Incline Hammer Curl
- Reverse Curl
- Bench Dip
If your gym buddy’s going as Sarah Connor, The Terminator is your obvious choice here. It might be intimidating to dress up like the man himself (Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course), but you know you practice your Arnold impression when no one’s around. So come to the gym if you want to get fit. And turn to ‘80s sci-fi for modern-day Halloween vibes.
How to Make a Terminator Costume
Whether you’re aiming for the classic T-800, opting for a newer model, or are planning to mix and match, here are some basics to get your hands on.
- Black T-shirt
- Black leather jacket
- Black combat boots
- Utility belt
- Fingerless gloves
If you want to train like Arnold, BarBend’s got you covered with everything from his arm workout to his training split. But if you’re looking to train like his iconic character, here are some starting points.
- Monster Dumbbell Press
- Keg Run
- Safety Squat Bar Squat
- Prowler Push
The warrior princess will strike again this Halloween. But instead of going right for the heart of her enemies, she’ll be taking aim at securing all the candy on the block. Xena can (and has — many times) defeat everyone from supernatural foes to previously feared armies of men. Pro tip: Your costume will work all the better if your significant other wants to go as Gabrielle.
How to Make a Xena Costume
Create the warrior princess vibe with the following:
- Brown corset
- Pleated leather skirt
- Brown and gold forearm guards
- Knee-high brown boots
- Gold-painted chest plate and shoulder guards (cardboard)
- Brown and gold sweatbands (worn on biceps)
- Foam sword
- Gold and copper chakram (painted cardboard)
Here’s how to create Xena’s ferocious strength within you.
- Zercher Squat
- Renegade Row with Push-Up
- Front Kick
- Roundhouse Kick
Okay, so he’s not actually all that tiny. But if you want to bring a villainous vibe to a Halloween party near you, Crash Bandicoot’s Tiny is a solid choice. (And we’re not just talking about his muscles.) Depending on which game you find him in, Tiny can throw his nemeses (hard), shove them (also hard) out of the fighting arena, and bend improbable objects to his will.
How to Make a Tiny Tiger Costume
Because Tiny is extremely…not tiny…this one is both tough and easy. You can find some foam padding and slap on orange felt if you’re good with crafts, but otherwise, stick to showing off your own strength athlete bod.
- A large watch/wrist guard on each wrist
- Green shorts (shirt optional)
- Two felt spikes on each shoulder
- Red high tops
Tiny Tiger Exercises
Whether you have a garage gym or your own chain of gyms like Tiny, or you’re relegated to a commercial gym, try these Tiny-inspired moves on for size.
Take your Halloween costume back to the ‘90s with classic Tomb Raider garb. Suit up as the video game icon Lara Croft to inspire yourself to put together multiple styles of training — gymnastics, kickboxing, sprinting, and climbing — to conquer inner demons on the lifting platform and all kinds of baddies on the game console.
How to Make a Lara Croft Costume
Get into character by transforming a lot of these everyday pieces of clothing into a legendary look, adaptable from either the games or movie.
- White or taupe tank top or sleeveless crop top
- Green cargo pants or shorts
- Brown utility belt
- Brown belt
- Combat boots
Lara Croft Exercises
From Linda Hamilton-worthy arms to a solid ability to traverse all the caves you need to, check out these exercises.
You know him. You love him. You loved watching him reprise his role in Creed. You still get that song in your head every time you do anything remotely difficult at the gym. Rocky Balboa is legendary for a reason. Step into the ring of his strength this Halloween, and keep the inspiration with you all year round.
How to Make a Rocky Balboa Costume
Dig around in your gym clothes drawer (you have a dedicated drawer for your gym gear, right?) to find everything you need for this one.
- Light gray hoodie
- Light gray sweatpants
- Black beanie
- Black high tops
Rocky Balboa Exercises
You’ll feel like you’re inside your very own workout montage with these moves.
Yes, that Mr. Clean. Dressing up like a commercial icon is in nowadays anyway, so why not take it back to a complete class act? He certainly doesn’t get those biceps from scrubbing. Pro tip: Carry around a mop — and a consistent smile — if you want to be as on-brand as possible.
How to Make a Mr. Clean Costume
Simple. Classic. Clean. Here’s how to dress up as the enemy of household messes.
- Bald cap (if you’ve got hair)
- White T-shirt
- White pants
Mr. Clean Exercises
For best results, get as buff as you can to complete your look.
[Read More: How to Clean and Care for a Barbell]
You don’t actually have to grow out a mullet for this one (though Justin Medeiros won’t hate it if you do). But if you want to channel the greats of years past — don’t remind us that the ’80s were officially 40 years ago — you’ve got to get ready to look…well, like you stepped out of another decade. Pump up those muscles. You’re going to need them.
How to Make an ‘80s Pro Wrestler Costume
Take a bit of Hulk Hogan, a little Andre the Giant, and some “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and mix and match to your heart’s desire.
- Bright yellow briefs (shirt not required)
- White wrist sweatbands
- Red knee guards
- Yellow lace-up boots
- Black lace-up boots
- Bedazzled red cape
- Black one-shouldered leotard
- White feather boa
- Championship belt
‘80s Pro Wrestler Exercises
Build all the muscles in the world. And maybe get super strong, too.
There’s more than one way to go full-on ’80s as a strength athlete. If WrestleMania isn’t the vibe this year, you might prefer to lean into a different genre of spandex. Because who can forget (even if you weren’t there, you remember) the quintessential 1980s fitness class? Grab some two-pound dumbbells and get out there.
How to Make an ‘80s Fitness Class Instructor Costume
Here’s how to jazzercise your way through trick or treating this year.
- Bright neon leotard (pick a color, any color)
- Bright neon leggings (clash with your leotard color)
- Bright neon leg warmers (clash with your legging color; option to match with your leotard color)
- Bright neon headband (consider choosing a loud pattern)
- Bright neon wrist sweatbands
‘80s Fitness Class Instructor Exercises
Don’t hate on the group fitness routines of years past. Here are some legends to consider.
- Unilateral High Knee
- Squat and Curl
- Standing Cross-Body Crunch
If you pull off your look right, it’ll be spooky how similar you look to your strength-inspired character of choice. To get pumped up and ready to feel your best in these costumes, check out these workouts and exercises to bring your training to the next level.
- The 15 Best Barbell Exercises for Mass, Strength, and Power
- The Best Bodybuilding Programs for All Experience Levels
- The Best Bodybuilding Exercise for Crafting a Stage-Worthy Physique
Featured Image: @carterwu_ / Instagram