Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mercredi: The Art of (Undead) Beauty

Halloween means costumes, at least round about chez Pauline.  We all dress up but it is my daughters who change what they wear on a yearly basis.  My older daughter weaves in and out of frightening persona; one year she was “Goat Man”, another she was boney Death.  Recently she has gone for more esoteric characters; her hero Jeanne d’Arc was last year and this year she plans to dawn the mantel of Athena.

The younger female child is less about the historical and more about the morbid.   I wasn’t much surprised when she told me her costume of choice for next Monday’s festivities would be that of a “rage zombie”.  Cool, I responded, and then we set to work.  Torn t-shirt and ripped jeans complete with rubbed in graveyard dirt (the advantage of having a hoodoo Mom), red died hair gel and fake blood were all at the ready.  Then it was time to consider makeup.

I can mix up a soothing compress fairly fast but making a twelve-year-old really look like a monster from 28 Days Later suddenly brought me up short.  A few books and Internet searches and one very enjoyable trip to the beauty supply store later and we were set.  I practiced a few of the techniques on myself and what do you know, they worked.  So, in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d pass a couple along.

Don’t imagine a white base is your best bet for makeup; you come out looking more le mime than la mort.  Mix gray or green with white for that deliciously dead pallor; I find that cream rather than pancake makeup works best.  Shading around eyes and in the hollows of your cheeks with more gray or black – nicely blended of course – gives an appropriately gaunt look.  Consider a little red liner under the eyes for that creepy, diseased touch.

Bruises and bites are a must have, of course, but again a mixture of colors will help bring those injuries to life.   Bruises run the gamut color-wise from the typical black and blue to purple, green and yellow.  The attention to blending without over-blending will better the effect.  Deep tissue injuries should be particularly vivid and infected bites will have an angry red halo. 

Good fake blood will give everything a nice glisten but a reasonable substitute can be made by mixing clear hair gel with red food coloring.  In a pinch, Revlon’s original formula “Cherries in the Snow” lipstick is a nice substitute as well.  Blood stains on lips and chin will let the living know you mean business.  An old comb dabbed with fake blood on the teeth can be used to rake scratches across cheek, neck or arms.

Want to go all out with a Hollywood-style wound effect?  Consider investing in liquid latex which averages about $5.00 for a 1 ounce bottle here in the U.S.   Simply spread a thin layer of liquid latex on the area where you want to create the wound.  While the latex is still wet, stick a few torn pieces of single-ply facial tissue to it.  Dab on a little more latex and then work the medium into a lumpy wound by scrunching and tearing.  Allow to dry and apply makeup as you would to your skin.

Thus armed with so much pseudo-medical and makeup knowledge, I was ready to really make my daughter into a horrifying spectacle on Halloween.  That is, until last Friday when she informed me she had changed her mind.  She would now like to be Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas  Anyone know a good place to purchase blue body makeup in the greater Anchorage area?

Header: Sally from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas


Undine said...

The first and last time I wore a Halloween costume was when I was three years old, but I'm keeping some of these tips in mind if I ever want to really, really freak out my neighbors.

That is to say, more than I normally do.

Pauline said...

Good one, my friend :)

Timmy! said...

I usually go as a zombie insurance person during the day and a zombie hockey player at night... Neither is very scary, but hey, as long as the kids have fun (and I keep Pauline's glass relatively full) it's all good... ;-D

Pauline said...

Halloween is a holiday, after all; so cheers!