Looking scary can still be realistic and professional-looking without the cost. Melanie Edwards Desautels encourages Do-It-Yourselfers to try these techniques to bring out their inner creatures this frightfully festive holiday.
Trick-or-treaters no longer have to settle for rudimentary costumes. Sure, there are the usual and mundane choices of the football player or cheerleader. Those are quick and easy costumes one can make themselves from items found at thrift stores or laying about the house. But that’s more like Halloween 101. The more creative costumer can make scarier ensembles just as cheaply once they learn a few professional tricks.
Miriam Writer, a 26-year-old makeup and special effects artist, spilled her guts to Las Vegas Weekly in a recent article. In it, she reveals her secrets for adding fun and flair to this year’s costuming. She is perhaps best known for her talent on the 2010 dramatic feature film Case 219. On the set, she worked with Leven Rambin from The Hunger Games and the director of Army Wives and Highlander. She says that it’s not as difficult as people may think to add prosthetics and makeup to their creations.
Besides, what one puts into accessorizing their costume is what one gets out of it: something uniquely their own. And they really will look like a zombie, leaving their friends and family amazed at the realistic result. Perhaps no one knows this better than Melanie Edwards Desautels, who thinks that everyone should try Ms. Writer’s techniques. They never know what they can accomplish until they try—and the results are truly ghoulish.
First, use a topical that dries up oil and primes skin for makeup and prosthetic application. Writer recommends a makeup like Graftobian Rubber Mask Grease. Any makeup can be set, however, with powder or hairspray. These products give the added bonus of realism to any costume, especially if applied right. It’s important to finely mist one’s self with hairspray or pat and blend powder as one would with makeup.
For special effects, Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Glue Stick works, she says, to give the appearance of no eyebrows. Vaseline, hair gel, or mineral oil is great for a lifeless or zombie-like shine. A sludge mixture of coffee and water works for filthy-looking mummies or zombies.
“It doesn’t smell amazing, but it looks amazing,” Writer says. Melanie Edwards Desautels agrees.
The key is to give a naturally distorted or exaggerated appearance. The result can also be accomplished by accentuating features such as neck veins or eyes. Try darkening them. Soil clothes with actual dirt.
As for prosthetics, Writer recommends Tinsley Transfers for thinness—the same ones used in Hollywood. But don’t rub in the Spirit Gum used to apply many prosthetics. Also, wait for it to get sticky. Professional products like mouth oil give prosthetics a grisly sheen.
From artistic home décor to fashion, Melanie Edwards Desautels is a DIY pro. She sells her handmade wares on Etsy.