An American Werewolf In London

ImageHalloween is my favourite time of year! Are you surprised?

Taking a break from being a zombie, I planned a different makeup challenge for myself last Halloween and went to my friend’s party as Teen Wolf.

To create the costume I bought a costume store Varsity jacket, made a fake fur tank top and fake fur mittens and a giant brown wig. Then I bought a werewolf makeup kit and a few metres of crepe hair. The crepe hair comes in long plaits and needs to be straightened out to be used. We found that ironing it was the best method. The makeup kit came with a brown palette of greasepaint with several tones, translucent power to finish and the dreaded spirit gum.

I wouldn’t rate the kit that highly. First of all, the colours in the palette weren’t labelled and trying to figure out the difference between mid brown, light brown, tan, dark brown and olive was actually a bit difficult because there wasn’t much difference in tone between some of them. Secondly, there were a lot of stages to the initial shading and contouring (around 12 to 15) which took ages and then didn’t show up through the top coat or the hair anyway so it seemed a bit pointless.

I can’t claim all of the credit for this look as I had to ask for my boyfriend’s help with it. As I’ve mentioned before with spirit gum –  to get it sticky you have to be tactile with it, so before I was even halfway around my face with the hair it was stuck to my hands, my face and the bottle of glue in a big hairy mess. Two hours later the hair looked great. It was a 3 or 4 hour makeup job in the end. Next time I’ll skip out all of the contouring stages and just use one or two shades of brown all over as the effect would be the same.

I was really happy with the finished look. It kept me warm out in the cold, but unfortunately the wind and the long night of partying meant that I spent a lot of time molting.

My boyfriend went as Edward Scissorhands. His makeup had to be done quite quickly as we were pressed for time. First, I masked Nick’s eyebrows using a pritt stick – the tips you learn from youtube! Then I gave him a base coat with white face paint. In hindsight, white face paint was a bad choice as it had a chalky finish and didn’t provide a good base to then add contouring and shading to. It also faded, smudged and rubbed off easily as the night progressed. I’d love to get my hands on some dermablend concealers and a foundation palette or two but for now I’ll work with what I’ve got.

I used purple, grey and black eyeshadows to contour his chin, nose and eyebrows as well as hollowing out his eyes. From my bruise wheel I added a tiny purple tint to his lips and gave him some scratches and scars.

Nick’s costume was from a store, although he trimmed the wig a fair bit to give it some shape and we added extra belts to the black suit.

It was a great party with some brilliant costumes – zombies, mummies, serial killers and comic book heroes but my favourite of the night were a troop of Black Swans who had great makeup and a really original costume idea.

Now to start planning next year’s look…

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The Dead Will Walk The Earth


BEACH OF THE DEAD 2011

October meant one thing – zombie time! After having such a great time at last year’s Beach of the Dead, my friends and I were really excited about attending this year. Our zombie wedding theme from 2010 was fun, but we saw a lot of zombie brides that day and wanted to try something a bit more original for 2011 and decided to go as the Zombie Village People.

As you can see from our lineup we were missing a couple of members. Organising a group theme is tricky and our Leather Man, G.I. and Traffic Cop ended up dropping out at the last minute. We were left with Laurie as the cowboy, Roisin as the Indian and myself as the Builder. Later in the day my friend Sam stood in as our Leather Man because she had a leather jacket on. Clearly some people aren’t as dedicated to zombieness as others, but we were determined to make the most of it and we still had a great day.

I put more work into my base coat this year. I used black face paint and purple tones from my bruise wheel to shade around my eyes, contour my cheeks and give my lips a cold dead blue tint. I then coated myself in a thick coat of white face paint and blended the colours together. I picked up some of the purple bruise wheel on my sponge as I layered the white, which created a nice grey blue hue.

In my camp builder outfit I was showing a lot more flesh than last year so I had to paint my neck, arms and legs too. You can see my short shorts in this photo. Thankfully the weather was great for October so I could survive being exposed to the elements for a few hours.

Once my base coat was complete I used my red eyeliner to give my eyes a sinister, unhealthy look, which contrasted really well against the blue and white. I decided to use less latex than last year and created lesions in the usual way by layering it up, ripping it open and then applying reds, purples and finishing up with fresh scab.

I used left over latex from last year and I think this was a mistake as it had a gloopy consistency and went a bit yellow when it dried. It wasn’t as sticky as usual and the finish was more uneven. This wasn’t so bad though as it added to the decaying look. I’ll be sure to use fresher latex next time though.

We had a new kind of viscous blood in our kit this year that was great. It partially dries but remains glossy. It created a great dripping blood effect as it would run off wherever you applied it and then dry in big dangling drips. You can see some of it on my face above and I also had some on my knee.

You can spot us briefly in this video from the day at about 0:44

When There’s No More Room In Hell…

BEACH OF THE DEAD 2010

If you don’t know by now, I love zombies, so I jumped at the chance to take part in Brighton’s zombie crawl, Beach of the Dead. I’d had a lot of fun designing zombie looks for the short film Outbreak, but this was the chance to turn my makeup brush on myself as I descended on Brighton seafront with my zombie friends.

This was our first year at the zombie crawl as work and other commitments had kept me away in previous years. We opted for a zombie wedding theme. I was the groom (that’s me in the suit) and my bride and I were accompanied by a nun, a vicar and a bridesmaid. Getting ready in the hotel room was hilarious, by the time we were finished the bathroom looked like it belonged in the Bates Motel.

I love working with latex so I decided to go with the broken skin look that I developed on Outbreak, with the addition of some creepy white contact lenses. I also did the makeup for my friends Tam and Laurie, the vicar and nun after my makeup artist friend (and zombie bride) gave us a base coat of white with her airbrush kit.

BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!!!

I spent a lot of time thinking about creating the look for the day, and getting organised early in the morning. What I hadn’t really thought about was the parade aspect of the day. My friends and I were all quite taken aback by the amount of spectators that turned out to watch us zombie our way down to the seafront. It was a bit intimidating having so many people watching me and taking my picture. I’m usually the one behind the camera! Wearing so much makeup felt like a protective layer though, like hiding behind a mask. I got into character and just got on with it and was quite surprised to see pictures of myself popping up online after the event.

Here is one taken by Samuel Justice at the start of the day and another by Dogtemple, which was taken towards the end of the night after peeling had set in! Both photographers have been very kind in letting me repost their work here.