On Halloween Haunt nights at Canada’s Wonderland, hundreds of monsters are created by a small army of special FX makeup artists whose gory applications and designs are responsible for bringing your nightmares to life.
Depending on your perspective, you could say I was lucky enough (or misfortunate enough) to undergo my own transformation recently. In a matter of 20 minutes, I went from the Director of Communications to a blood-covered, freaky-eyed demon.
As I was being transformed from human to monster, I chatted with our special FX makeup artist Stephania about tips people can use at home, to turn themselves into the undead.
Costume and props
- These do not have to be expensive purchases. Visit a second-hand clothing shop for your pieces or check the back of your closet. I picked up my tres chic old-fashioned nightgown at the local Value Village.
- Make something look old and worn with some creative techniques, like soaking clothing in coffee or staining with wine. Break up chunks of an old eyeshadow palette or use coffee grounds to rub over clothing for a dirt effect.
- We splattered fake blood across the front of my costume, since I ended up with a rather nasty gash across my throat. If you’ve got a wound, it’s going to make a mess!
- If you can wear them, consider theatrical contacts for a real statement look. Order online from a reputable dealer or get them downtown. Mine were called ‘The Plague’ and I got them from Malabar on McCaul Street in Toronto.
- Make sure your hands are very clean before putting them on and always make sure to follow the cleaning and application instructions to extend their use and to avoid any risk to your eyes.
- For this easy zombie look, start with a pale base and ‘build the colour’, following the natural contours of the face using progressively darker colours. In the video you’ll see the airbrush is used to apply several layers of colour to create dimension.
- Aim to hollow out the face: applying dark colours around the eyes to sink them, and under the cheekbones and around the forehead to make them jut out.
- Don’t forget to colour your neckline, arms and any other skin that shows. ‘No human skin allowed’ is a rule for our monsters at Wonderland, and for a truly effective look, it should be your rule too!
- Wounds, gashes and scabs: Make your own with liquid latex and cotton balls! Dab on the liquid latex and pull apart pieces of cotton and apply to the area, building out the shape and texture you’re looking for. It will stick together and, once coloured, makes a realistic, natural texture that is very easy to remove. Can’t find liquid latex? Try eyelash glue.
- Blood: Fake blood is available at any party supply store, but you can make your own with dish soap or corn syrup, food colouring and thicken with coffee grounds.
- Try adding more texture to your dead, rotting skin with coloured makeup using various applicators you probably already have at home, like steel wool scouring pads, brushes and stipple sponges.
The sky’s the limit to your creativity at Halloween! (Just make sure to read all labels, test your skin before application and be careful to avoid your eyes.)