It’s that time of year! If you live in Southern California like me, it’s still eighty-five degrees, the trees are still green, and very few houses are decorated. California doesn’t really do seasons as much as “moments,” so it’s hard to embrace a fall-specific holiday like Halloween. Thanksgiving is a bit easier weather-wise, but that one gets lost in the mix with Christmas steam-rolling everybody, so I’m not sure if that one counts.
When I started working for my current company June 2015, it was made clear to me that Halloween is a BIG DEAL. Everyone goes all out, we do a costume contest, and kids get to come in and trick-or-treat. Anyone wearing everyday work clothes gets serious side-eye, and the bigger, the better. The result? My piddling costume efforts of the previous years went by the wayside. I didn’t want to be the odd kid out, so I committed to a recognizable character costume that looked like I could survive in it a full work day. Looking back, I am incredibly proud of that costume and the work I put into it.
My coworkers thought I looked great, and getting that kind of positive feedback from people in a creative office environment is awesome. I also learned a lot from that costume – namely, how expensive an awesome costume can be. Since I didn’t really have any of the materials, I had to buy everything and ended up spending around $200. Admittedly, I could have done it cheaper, but we hit a few stumbling blocks and I had to buy a few things last minute.
2016 & 2017
Ever since that first success, I’ve tried to do something new and different every year. In 2016, I gave in to my Disney obsession and embodied the Tightrope Walker from the Haunted Mansion. My perfectionist tendencies make me cringe every time I see photos of myself simply because I nitpick everything I could have done better. However, when I re-wore the costume last year to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disneyland, people loved it and kept stopping me. So, another example of me needing to get out of my own head.
After suffering in a wig and corset, I decided to go with a costume that would hopefully be comfortable and recognizable – and I kind of failed on both fronts. I’ve always been a huge Buffy fan, and I love her prom dress from the season 1 finale, so I thought why not do that? The heels are low, the dress is empire, and I’d get to walk around with a toy crossbow. However, I failed to plan far enough in advance and, as a result, I didn’t give my mom (who was helping sew the dress) enough time to make it and fit it to me properly. It ended up being an okay costume, but I won’t even post a photo because I’m not overly proud of it.
THE EYES HAVE IT
That brings us to 2018! As I had done in 2015 and 2016, I started my research early and used Pinterest for inspiration. I love doing special effects makeup, and wanted to incorporate that somehow, and by searching Halloween looks focusing on the makeup, I landed on this year’s look – Little Dead Riding Hood. Mr. P² and I went to a Halloween party over the weekend, and I did a trial run with the whole thing put together. I’m glad I did, because I learned more valuable lessons, not least of which is that contacts are insanely difficult to get in the first time! It took me almost half an hour and three YouTube videos to get the damn thing in.
Other lessons: a.) I will not be having my hair anywhere near my makeup on Wednesday. I made the mistake of letting my “swoop” fall on that side of my face, and I can still feel fake blood in my strands. b.) Corsets are the work of the devil – they make you look good, but damn they hurt. c.) The likelihood of getting my cape stepped on a thousand times on Wednesday is REALLY high. Mr. P² had to make a conscious effort to avoid it like the plague during the party.
To achieve the look I wanted, I started with my own closet: was there anything I could use that I already had? I ultimately upcycled an old skirt that I rarely wear by shortening it, covered an underbust corset I already had with fabric, and will be wearing a pair of combat-esque boots I already had. Better to be tromping around in a forest! I wasn’t thrilled with any of my blouses and had nothing for a cape, so I hit up my trusty Amazon Prime account. It took some serious digging and perseverance, but I finally found a blouse that fit and wasn’t overly expensive, and a relatively inexpensive Rubie’s cape.
Once I had the clothes, I focused on the star of the show – the SFX makeup. In doing my Pinterest research, I cobbled together look ideas from various pins, including adding a colored contact lens. After that, I (again) hit up Amazon Prime to see what their options were for SFX makeup. Unsurprisingly, it’s not cheap to get legitimate SFX makeup. I will admit, you can definitely use everyday makeup to achieve a similar look, but I knew I wanted the ripped gashes that is difficult to achieve without liquid latex. I ended up ordering Mehron SFX makeup as it nicely toed the line between great reviews and a decent price.
My contact lenses were trickier to get. A friend of mine is a cosplayer, and she was recently ranting how difficult it is to find decent cosmetic contact lenses. Since this was my first time wearing a contact lens, I was nervous when blindly ordering a pair that I hoped would work, but thankfully the shopping gods were with me. I also ordered a small UV flashlight since the lens I got glows in blacklight, and let’s face it – it’s a cool look!
All in all, I’ve probably spent around $200 on this costume. I was hoping to keep costs low, but this costume evolved into something special, and I’m really excited to debut it on Wednesday. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of most of the stuff I bought, excluding the fabrics I used to jazz up the cape:
Cape, Blouse, Nude Fishnets, Mehron Liquid Latex, Mehron Bruise Wheel, Mehron Coagulated Blood, Mehron Arterial Spray Blood, Red UV Coloured Contact (do not use without first consulting your eye doctor), LED Flashlight, Paint Brushes (cheaper to use & stain with SFX makeup than normal makeup brushes), Curved Craft Scissors (for cutting the latex – be careful!)
I hope this helps you get into the Halloween spirit, and helps spark that creative fire for next year’s costume! Feel free to leave any comments below, I’d love to hear about your costumes!
All the best,