oh the horror

November 2, 2013

You know, I think I would have done very well as a resident of Tim Burton’s Halloweentown – I’m always a little sad to see my favourite holiday go!

This year, we got the most out of Halloween by going costume-watching at bars the weekend before and then having a gruesome dinner party on October 31st itself. And of course I edited our display cases for the occasion as well.

Last weekend’s activities were actually quite impromptu. I was planning on taking my own advice and checking out ACM After Dark as a patron, not a spook. But when my friend Dawn’s cemetery-wandering plans got rained out, she decided she’d join me….and that we definitely had to be in costume.

With maybe 3 hours before our meet time and no costume planned, I decided that something makeup-based would probably be my best bet. I’d been meaning to try a Dia de Los Muertos look for a while, and figured this would be the perfect opportunity!

Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of the entire process, but here’s what I did:

1. Using white greasepaint, I painted white on my face everywhere but around my eyes.

2. I heavily outlined my eye sockets and nose in black pencil liner, and colored the nose in.

3. I wanted to pick up the magenta of my hair ornaments in the makeup, so I shaded a reddish-purple shadow around my eyes before blending it into the thick black outlines with black eyeshadow.

4. I added bony cheek definition by drawing the contours in with black eyeliner and blending it into the greasepaint foundation with more black eyeshadow.

5. Using a very fine brush and black gel liner, I painted in the teeth and decorative detailing around my eyes, chin, cheeks and forehead.

6. To strike the proper balance between glam and ghoulish, I put on big fake lashes, but left my lips white.

Since I had no time to go out looking for a costume, I put together a black “wedding” look mostly with stuff I already had lying around: I dug out long black gloves and a lace gown from my wardrobe, and accessorized with a headpiece made from floral brooches, a halloween tablecloth “veil” and a black and white carved bone necklace.

All in all, not bad for a last minute attempt, if I don’t say so myself.

By the time I met Dawn at the ACM, the guided tours were unfortunately over. On the upside, most of the crowds had cleared out of the museum, so we had the place almost to ourselves. While the prospect of walking through a museum at midnight was pretty cool in itself, what made it even better was that we got to do it with a female Indiana Jones!

Look how excited she is to show us all the relics she found.

Word to the wise: if you don’t want to be trailed closely through the museum by security, don’t show up dressed as a treasure hunter. You can tell the guards were just waiting for her to throw something into her satchel and make a run for it.

I swear she didn’t actually touch anything though.

I was a little more out of place among the exhibits, but I enjoyed them anyway. This bodhisattva was a personal favourite of the curator (dressed as a demon, btw) who recommended it as the highlight of the ACM’s newest exhibition.

The detailing in the hair is so reminiscent of greek sculptures, don’t you think? Just gorgeous. My other favourite was the hanging cascade of buddha casts in the entrance gallery.

I could have stayed all night, but eventually they announced the museum was closing so we took some quick snaps on our way out.

We weren’t ready to call it a night after the museum, so we decided we’d go haunt Clarke Quay and people-watch outside the bars and clubs.

You know how they say unplanned nights are the best? So. True.

All we did was wander around taking in the crazy festive atmosphere, but we had a blast. It was kind of like a big street party: people were spilling out of the bars and clubs, and just strolling the alleys in their costumes. The energy was so amazing and friendly and interactive – strangers would ask each other for photos, or stop to compliment or joke around with other revelers. Everyone was just having the best time.

If you didn’t make it out last weekend, here are some of the costumes you missed:

On Halloween itself, the city was a lot quieter…but we weren’t about to let that dampen our mood! My friends and I organized a zombie-themed dinner party to celebrate in style. Well, if you can call looking like a bloodied, decaying corpse “style”.

Though I’d purchased prosthetics and had big plans for a truly gory look, my work commitments ended pretty late and I wasn’t left with a whole lot of time to get ready. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to look like a zombie.

Here’s what I did:

1. I covered my face and neck in grey greasepaint.

2. Because all the soft tissue of my face would be the first to deteriorate if I really were a zombie, I used a combination of black and purple eyeshadows to create an uneven bruised look around my mouth and eye sockets. I also added a couple more bruises on my forehead and cheeks with green greasepaint and purple eyeshadow, stippled with black.

3. With black and grey greasepaint, I deepened the shadows in my cheeks, around my eyes, and on my neck to make myself look more gaunt (not easy when you have chubby cheeks like me!)

4. Using a fine brush and black eyeshadow, I drew in tiny black veins radiating outwards from my mouth and the corners of my eyes.

5. I covered my lips with grey grease paint, and then brushed them over haphazardly with black eyeshadow.

6. On my chest, I applied a prosthetic gash with liquid latex. I coloured it in myself with black grease paint to give it depth, and then made it look infected with small random dabs of yellow, white and green paint around the edges of the “wound”.

7. I finished up the look with fake blood applied into the “wound” so it would drip out, and smeared around my mouth as well.

8. To finish up, I put a mixture of clay facial mask and hair conditioner into my hair, to give it a dirty, unwashed look. I also painted white grease paint over the tops of my hands and brushed black eyeshadow under my fingernails and on the tips of my fingers to simulate decay in my extremities.

Thankfully an authentic zombie costume could literally be anything a person died in. I wore jeans, a T-shirt with some holes ripped into it and a cardigan to cover up my comparatively tanned arms. I was dead center (ha) of the evening’s gore scale: some looked like fresh kills, and some were in such bad shape we were almost turned away at the restaurant!

We did finally get seated, but then the food took forever to come so we resorted to snacking on people.

The other diners seemed to get a kick out of our costumes….especially Jess’ ghoulish makeup. How scary does she look eating her ribs?

I also loved Amanda’s brilliant prop: a heart in a jar! Ok, it’s a balloon. But I still thought it was fantastic.

As sad as I am to see Halloween end, I’m happy that I got to make a real go of it this year.

Of course I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun without my awesomely sporting friends. I’m already looking forward to seeing these scary faces (and maybe even a few more) next year.