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Scary Halloween

Posted by Rick · October 31st, 2003 · 2 Comments

Well, here it is, one of our favorite times of year — a time when we really get unspun!

We love to get dressed up this time of year and usually go “all out” to plan, develop, create and build some decent costumes.

For a look at some of those costumes click the link below to read this full article.

But if you think that’s scary, take a look at this!

In 1999, my wife and I went with the “Eyes Wide Shut” theme. I went as Tom Cruise’s character, only better looking (the mask helped); Bunny was one of the gals from the mansion. Happily, the Marcottes, whose album I recently reviewed on this blog, were also present. The party was hosted at the home of our best friends, Dale & Sandy Winn.

Halloween Group Picture

Rick, Carole, Bob, Bunny, and Dale

The following year, we went as a lovely witch and the vampire who loved her.

Vampire & Witch

Witch & (Bunny)Vampire Who Loved Her (Rick)

Last year, I was energetic and built myself an entire costume from scratch: I wasAnubis, the Egyptian god of Mummification, a.k.a., the Egyptian god of the Dead, and Bunny was the beautiful mummy of Queen Nefertiti (seen here without her headdress).

Nefertiti & Anubis

Queen Nefertiti (Bunny) & Anubis (Rick)

The Anubis costume, by the way, was later borrowed by a co-worker, who won second prize in a contest with it.

Sadly, this year, with both of us working full-time and both of us attending school full-time (law school for Rick and paralegal training for Bunny), we did not have time or energy for creating costumes and the only parties we’re attending this weekend will be study parties.

Hopefully, next year we will revive the tradition.

A Note About The Pictures: The Witch & Vampire picture was, of course, not taken in front of a castle! There was a bar behind us full of people. I subsequently found a real estate website in the United Kingdom which had actual castles listed. I took one of those and modified it by stretching and colorizing it in Photoshop 6. I then blurred the background. I also selected the image of Bunny and myself, which was in its own layer. By choosing “Select ? Modify… ? Border” and choosing a border of a few pixels and then blurring it, I took the harsh edges off from when I’d clipped us out of the original scene, making it appear we were in front of the castle. A similar technique was used for the Anubis/Nefertiti shot, using an image obtained from an Egyptian tour website. In doing this, it is important to blur the image so it appears to be in the distance and to try to blur the edges of the people in the foreground to make it look like a natural photograph. In the Anubis shot, I also tried to adjust lighting, since it wasn’t a good match.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jill Moylan // Dec 5, 2005 at 8:01 pm

    My son is participating in a wax musuem at school and he is Anubis. We came across your costume and were wondering how you made it. Can you help us please? Write back as soon as possible. Our time is running out.
    Thank you,
    Jill Moylan

  • 2 Rick // Dec 5, 2005 at 10:42 pm

    I’m not going to say anything about the fact that your time running out doesn’t place any obligations on me. 😉 (Oops! I guess I did say it, after all.)

    At any rate, I just came back from taking a Remedies mid-term at the law school and it’s 10:15 p.m. now. Forgive me if this is quick and (as I’m guessing) not really all that helpful.

    It took me about two weeks to make that Anubis head. The basics go something like this:

    First, I got myself some of those plaster-impregnated strips of gauze like hospitals use to make casts. Other materials used included two medium-sized styrofoam cones (for the ears) and one very large styrofoam cone (for the nose). I also used a piece of fine wire mesh (for the cowl — the flowing part coming off the back of the head). Then I had both black and blue spray paint as well as gold paint in a jar, which was applied with a brush. Then you need lots of modeling clay. I made the bottom part of the costume (which you can’t see in the picture) out of white cotton, trimmed with some gold border trim. The piece around my neck was sewn by machine — it’s essentially two pieces of blue cloth sewn into a kind of a tube with “pockets” at each end into which I dropped baking beads to weigh it down so it wouldn’t fall off me.

    As for the plaster-impregnated gauze, I’m pretty sure I found it at a drugstore.

    I went to a friend’s house. While I was lying down on the ground, with the piece of fine wire mesh pulled over the top of my head almost like a shawl, my friends wet the gauze and put it all over my face like a mask. The gauze strips overlapped the mesh, so that they anchored it into the top of the mask. Naturally, openings were left for my nose, mouth and eyes. Then we waited for the gauze to dry and removed the mask.

    At that point, you have a mask that’s pretty perfectly molded to the shape of your face, with a wire mesh sticking out the top back of it. It looks a little bit like a hockey mask.

    Next, I carved the ears and nose to the shapes I wanted. I used a picture from an archeology book to decide how it should look. I made concave carvings on the fat ends of the cones to shape them to fit with the contours of the mask. Then I fastened them to the mask by using more of the gauze strips. I basically ran the gauze along at least half the length of the cones and then flat onto the mask.

    After all that, I took the modeling clay and put it over everything to create the smooth features and hide the roughness of the gauze. This takes a lot of time, patience and just playing around with it until you get it to look how you want. I pretty much did this all in one part, so I wouldn’t have to worry about layers of the clay drying and then having more over the top so that it might crack later and separate.

    Also, I put gauze and clay in a similar fashion over the wire mesh to finish the cowl. When I did my cowl, I made it stick straight out the back to make it look like the wind was blowing it, because the picture I used had Anubis running. If I had it to do again, I would make the cowl go down my back — like there was no wind. The reason for this is it might make it easier to balance the mask on my head correctly and make it easier to turn my head without hitting people and things.

    After everything had the basic shape I wanted, I had to let the clay dry and then sand it down to smooth it more. (That also allowed me to smooth out any imperfections and to make the face look more symmetrical. I had to do a lot of sanding around the eyes, too, to make them more symmetrical.)

    Under the nose, by the way, you can leave a pretty good-sized opening for your mouth — the nose hides it, especially if you carve out a little of the underside of the nose about where your mouth ends up being. I was actually able to eat and drink with my mask on, if I wanted.

    Finally, when all the above is done and you’re satisfied with how smooth it feels and how even and symmetrical everything looks, then you paint the mask. As you can see, the front is spray-painted black. The cowl was spray-painted blue. Then I used a small brush to pain the gold parts, for the mouth and the eyes, nostrils, etc. When spray-painting with the black, tape paper to cover the cowl, so you don’t paint the cowl black! When you paint the cowl, you do the opposite: you cover the front with paper so you don’t get blue paint on the head.

    After all the paint dries, take a border piece (I used the same kind of design — you can’t see it in the picture — that I used on the “skirt” I made, also) and then glue that on the top of the head where the cowl joins to Anubis’ head. This hides the unevenness you’ll almost certainly have from where the black and the blue paint come together near the top of the head (just behind the ears if you do it like I did). It also makes Anubis look like he’s a wealthy god, which he sorta is supposed to be.

    I hope these directions are good enough, because I’m not really in the mask-making business — and if I was, I’d have to sell my instructions! 😉

    This project was just something I came up with one day and decided I was going to do it. I didn’t have any plans I found anywhere. I guessed at what would be the best materials to use based on walking around a craft store and thinking about the look I was going for. Somehow, it turned out alright. The mask looks a LOT better “in person” than it does in the picture!

    Good luck!

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