Monday, November 7, 2011

Saving Halloween One Child at a Time...

My kid sister Abby has a 7 year old son named Christopher. Last year for Halloween she bought him the most terrible zombie costume from Wal-Mart I have ever seen. I felt so bad for the kid looking over his Trick r' Treating photos; I almost wanted to report it to protective services. His make-up was just smeared on, and you can tell everything was a rush job to get out and get as much candy as possible. But it takes a village to raise a child, so I rose to the challenge and decided to fix it for this year.

Here's the costume from Wal-Mart: Linen thin fabric with hard plastic sewn into pre-cut rips. Honestly, it's a good starting off point with exposed bones and guts, but a terrible zombie costume in its completion. The plastic sticks out like bad armor and its edges are not smoothed out or covered for anyone that wears it. I knew that besides making this costume look cool, I would have to make it a lot more comfortable too.

Here you can see the pants and shirt; why they were pseudo tie-dyed is beyond me, but I was more annoyed by the uniform cuts and rips throughout. I knew I would have to adjust this, but first things first; I had to make some "skin".

I began simply by pouring small puddles of liquid latex on my counter-tops and tile flooring (surfaces I knew they wouldn't stick and ruin). I allowed them to dry and peeled them back with a generous dusting of Baby Powder so the latex wouldn't stick to itself or other pieces. I had to make several large pieces to cover the neck and connect to the face as well as have pieces for the arms and legs.

This made pooping very interesting.
Peeling away the good stuff.

Here you can see how I glued the skin around the edges of the previous plastic pieces so the skin would hang, but also to hide how it was just stitched in and forgotten about. I still wanted bits of bone to be displayed and seen and all the grossness underneath.

Bone & muscle, ready to hustle.

Here you can see how I added a bit of red cream make-up and further see the glued skin on the edges of the plastic pieces. I tried stretching the skin across to each side and letting them hang. I used about 3 different shades of red by using black and brown to create distinctive layers to the skin tone.

You can see a significant difference between the costume in the beginning and how it turned out now. with a little liquid latex, the "skin" was fashioned to Christopher and he then had a bit of brown and black and fake blood added to his hands.

My nephew Jake really wanted to be a Ninja like his cousin Morgan but he also wanted to be a Zombie like Christopher and being the rad Uncle that I am, I found Jake a Ninja costume at the last minute and two giant knives that bleed when turned up and down. Little did I know that both of them would share the same costume! TWIN DRAGONS!

I simply added a little black to Jake's eye sockets to him a bit more menacing. Easy, quick and handy in telling these two Ninjas apart.

My other nephew Joe went as a Pirate. He had wanted to go as "dead", I believe his 2 year old interpretation of what a zombie is, like his cousin. Joe had recently did quite the face-plant playing in the driveway days earlier and his healing scabs were better make-up than anything he'd sit through for me. Thee would've been no way I could have safely done a good zombie effect on him, especially since 2 year olds have the attentions spans of meth addicts watching television. All in all, Joe's probably the cuteness lil' scally-wag you ever did see.

Pirates & Ninjas - in Harmony??

My nephew and my handiwork.

I was really happy with how Christopher's costume turned out. I had super-glued some small pieces of packing foam to behind the plastic sheeting of the costume, particularly the chest. This not only prevented unnecessary chaffing, but also added warmth to the costume and a bit of bulk to Christopher's smaller frame. I used temporary white hair spray to give him a more eerie look. This really highlighted the dark circles I put under his eyes and cheeks. The liquid latex "skin" I had made earlier and adhered to his chin and face was now doused in a healthy serving of blood that was edible and dripped all from his mouth. On his face I used some Fresh Scab and Christopher was ready to rock and roll.

They're coming to get you, Barbara....

He's got guts.

Christopher's costumes was great shape since I used brown and black cream make-up to dirty up the clothes and add red to the tears & rips to showcase further wounds. When being handed candy, Christopher could rip off a chunk of his "skin" and trade the treat giver, revealing the bones and guts from the original costume underneath. It was like he was a walking autopsy and received plenty of compliments for actually having a scary costume on Halloween and not something cartoonish or Pop Culture related.

I knew I wasn't allowed to be off the hook for Trick r' Treating so I quickly assembled a costume from my make-up kit. I used the same shirt I had from the previous night and applied a small amount of "Black Blood" to my lips and mouth and let it drip down.

I then glued on an appliance to my right eye that served almost like an eye patch as it completely covered my eye and fit over my nose. Effectively I could only see out of one eye and the other one would have a speciality contact lens floating around in it and then I had to walk around at night, leading the way. I love me some Halloween.

I knew that blending my make-up just right was the only way to sell the "crooked dead eye" look. It almost looked like Sloth from GOONIES or one of the Hill People from THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I used one White Out contact lens, tussled my hair and voila!

Better than THRILLER, and with twice as much candy.

Here you can see how I blended the appliance to my face and sold the illusion with the Black Blood and the contact lens. Nothing too gory, but I definitely freaked out the neighbors. As a matter of fact several of them told us how impressed they were with our costumes and that we were the only ones that dressed up scary at all. I was proud and kinda sad at the same time.

Give us all your Candy!!

I can't wait til next year so I can plan out my nephews' costumes a bit more in advance, possibly even a group ensemble...? Really all it takes is for your imagination to run wild and try different things until they work for you and your costume.

Always wear a costume, be sure to travel with a partner, and never eat your candy without checking it first. See you next Halloween!!

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