The planning of a Halloween costume – help?

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09 September 2005   #1
The planning of a Halloween costume – help?

All right. I always go all-out for Halloween. It is without doubt my favourite day of the year, far outweighing both my birthday and Christmas. I couldn’t care less about gifts. I want to dress up.

Last year, I spent a lot of time acquiring gear for my Gargoyle outfit. I made little wings in papier maché, I bought latex nose, ears and a pair of little horns and then the day before Halloween, I made another pair of horns in papier maché and they turned out a lot more nicely than the ones I’d bought (the ones I bought sitting above my eyebrows, the ones I made on top of my temples)

That was the end result.

Now, this year, I want to top that. I’ve decided to go as a demon, after much thought. Not just any demon, but a noble kind of demon – with a long, pretty dress, dark red skin and a kind of… well, huge horns that stretch back from the head, and a swirly type of bony texture over the face. Knowing that the papier maché result was both more original AND better looking than the latex, I’ve decided to make the horns and the face-alterations entirely in that.

What I need is… well… help, basically. I’m going to post some design concepts in this thread, but I thought this would be the best possible place to ask for aid. I need some way to make a head in some material that I can model this mask-helmet on, for the creature… but it has to be MY head, so that it can fit.

Does anyone know how I can go about doing this?

I’ll be posting photos in this thread as the costume progresses, as it’s not an actual painting or anything – I decided this was the right place to do this. I’ve never tried anything before quite on this scale, and I want the end-result to be devastating, I want ‘me’ to be nearly unrecognisable. I also want, if anyone else is up for it, to other costumes to be posted in here.
I can resist everything but temptation.


Painting eyes
Painting hair
Old 09 September 2005   #2
Whoa, Linda... this sounds soooo cool! Maybe I'll do up some quick concept sketches for ya... some kinda dark, imposing figure? But I'm sure whatever you envision for this will be far better than anything I could come up with. Still, it'll be fun to brainstorm about this...

Anyhoo... looking forward to seeing this costume develop. Make sure to post some pics when you finally get it done. This'll rock!!!

my CGPortfolio
my BLOG of art goodness
my MASTER & SERVANT 2D entry

I'm dancin' like a monkey!
Old 09 September 2005   #3
That's cool! I didn't know Halloween was celebrated in Europe. I knew it was a pagean festival, so I might have known better lol.

I can't help you on the designs, but a quick and easy way would be to take plaster casts of parts of your face that you need for the modelling process.
I'd be somewhat worried about facial hair getting stuck to it, But apparently it doesn't matter (I never broke anything onmyself, only tore a few bits, heheh).
I'd guess if you go sticking things on your forehead you won't be able to express yourself freely or it will fall off or something so maybe using clay and plastre casting that and then back to silicates would be a better plan. Just like in the movies, kewl, lol.

You swedes have it all over there (goes green with envy).

There must be some reference as to the process used in film productions, I was lead to believe it's fairly simple to do and 'cost efficient'. So it coudl be cheap too, to do it in casts.

Great idea, can almost see a nice movie scene. Good luck!

funky site... probably has some answers:

looks like it might take a while to sift through. And apparently it's not even necessary to takea a cast with latex. Well it's not like I'd know, so you better check.
modelling practice #1

Last edited by jmBoekestein : 09 September 2005 at 03:31 PM.
Old 09 September 2005   #4
Wow, sounds wonderfully terrifying. Actually, the demon costume you described sounds a lot like Queen Savilla in the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and The Fall of Darkness) by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, which I must say is a great trilogy so far even though the last book isn't out yet. Anyways, Queen Savilla is a demon, with blood-red skin, wings, clawed feet, and gold horns arching over her head. I wonder if you could do the clawed feet too, that would be really awesome!

I don't know anything about making masks, so I don't know how to help you there, but I can tell you I am very excited to see the end result of this costume. Good Luck with it!!
Old 09 September 2005   #5
Here's a quick sketch for you, Linda... the horns aren't too original, but I thought the overall design reads as being dark, with elegant lines? Anyhoo... it was fun drawing it, think I'll do some more but won't post 'em unless you want.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg costume-concept-01.jpg (84.9 KB, 534 views)
my CGPortfolio
my BLOG of art goodness
my MASTER & SERVANT 2D entry

I'm dancin' like a monkey!
Old 09 September 2005   #6
You guys are awesome!

This is exactly the kind of help that I need.

And Grant - that's pretty much how I envisioned her/me awesome! That swirly, elegant but scary look is just what I'm aiming for. I don't want to look pretty, I never want to look pretty on Halloween, but I'm thinking it'll be nifty to look classily scary, if that makes any sense.

I'm thinking that the horns will start as a sort of swirly design just below the eyes, on the cheeks, and then stretch backwards in a fine sweep towards way behind the head - but not becoming thick and 'horny' until they go past the ears, meaning, the design itself will start on the face but not flare outwards until it's away from the face.

My biggest problems are these -
:: that it's going to be heavy as hell. I really, really need to figure out some way to make the 'helmet' of it not so heavy. I'm thinking that if I do make it in papier maché, that I'll have to make the horns hollow somehow, and how the hell do I do that, and still keep them pretty? I use this papier maché sort of, er, powder that you mix with water - turns into an awesome clay that is really easy to work with (I do all my masks in this). The reason to why I want to work in papiér mache is mainly that I know how it works, I know how to paint it and glue things to it and I know that it's durable. I've got an idea of making the red horn gleam with tiny little stones that I'll sort of work into the clay before it's dried and before I paint it.
:: that the 'helmet' as such will be difficult to put on/take off. I would have loved to have modelled it all the way down the neck and over my hair, but that just won't work, will it? How on earth would I take it on and off? So it has to stop somewhere early on the back of the head, then I'll have to really plaster my hair down and paint it red for the night.
:: that it won't be cost-effective. If I go with something other than papiér mache, I don't think I can afford it.

Also... the dress. I don't know how to sew. Well, I sort of do, but not 'that' well. I suppose I'll have to learn, eh?

I can resist everything but temptation.


Painting eyes
Painting hair
Old 09 September 2005   #7
Jan-Mark - that link is awesome but it seems to start off pretty high-end already, chatting about things I have no clue what they are :( I'm thinking I'm just not knowledgeable enough for that kind of stuff, you know? Gah!

I'm going to read through all of it and see if I can get a clue, and also if there's a way for me to order these things without getting instantly broke.
I can resist everything but temptation.


Painting eyes
Painting hair
Old 09 September 2005   #8
well, I looked at the concept, and its a great concept btw, I think you should focus on the horns and dress..., the horns can be done with 4 strips of wire and p'mache... or you could wrap cloth around them... for the ridges on the horns, just glue some strips of string down and a couple of layers of wet paper over them, keeps it light, as opposed to trying to make it all out of papier maché. I think the helmet/dress bridge can be done, but it would involve gluing a latex cape to the back of the helmet... you can superglue "hooks" to the bottom of the latex, it would have to be a thick sheet, and have some "eyes" sewn into the back of the high collar on your dress... youd need someone to fasten it for you, but it would mean you can have the helmet joined to the dress... Id suggest looking for a second hand chinese type dress and modifying it and dying it red instead of trying to make one.... the other idea is to make it out of latex, but this means you have to have somwhere where you can dry it... also you would need to get an airbrush to do certain parts of it... but using liquid latex and strips of thin and thick latex, wire glue, rope and paint you could make a neat mask... I made a predator head out of liquid latex and playdoh, if you can belive it... it was heavy, but when people touched it it felt real, like flesh... used the latex to seal the playdoh, so it never hardened, it stayed soft... ne ya, the easiest way to do it would be cheap fabric... the coolest way latex... though you know Pm better Id say go with that...
*(GOZER)-During the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex Supplicants, it chose the form of a giant SLOAR...

Old 09 September 2005   #9
Linda, I'll have a look too . I remember some of the terms from back in school, one of the kids had a father in that business, I have a weird memory for details.

I think these silicate goops can be home brewed quite cheaply.

The site linked from called indi fx >>link << has cheap supplies, I figure if you know what you need you can have it shipped the cheapest way by airmail. Takes like a week or two I bet. Tight schedule.

Another link here: >> <<

nevermind, seems pretty complicated once over. lol. Does have a lot of material on it though. I should pick up the speed reading again.
modelling practice #1

Last edited by jmBoekestein : 09 September 2005 at 08:33 PM.
Old 09 September 2005   #10
Actually, my mom made a dragon costume for me on time because I was cast as one in a school play. She had to make this whole huge head, but I had to be able to take the costume off in a matter of seconds because there was a dance I was in directly afterwards. The head/neck of the dragon was fabric and wire, but I think it would work with papier mache too. What you do is buy some of that mesh wire that criss-cross (the really thin stuff), because you can sculpt and bend however you see fit, and I think that could really help with making the horns hollow and light. Then you can cover it was papier mache and whatever other watnot you need. As for getting in and out of the helmet, well, I don't have any amazing ideas for that, but hopefully, the meshwire will help make it easier. You could maybe make a base "helmet" and cover the bottom with some thickish fabric so it doesn't snag your hair.

Hope that helps a bit!
Old 09 September 2005   #11

Originally Posted by Sylanya: What you do is buy some of that mesh wire that criss-cross (the really thin stuff), because you can sculpt and bend however you see fit, and I think that could really help with making the horns hollow and light.

That's what I was thinking, this stuff, yeah?

You could easily build a hollow framework from that to save weight ( modelled either around your own head or a wigmakers dummy? ), should work if you cover the gaps with thin strips of "glued" paper, just enough to build up a surface and keep the actual papier mache light enough, might even be wearable.

Downsides = pointy metal + there's likely a much better solution- last time I tried anything like this it ended in ...less than success so somebody will almost certainly have a better idea..

Edit: Better idea, there is this sorta fabric mesh stuff that hatmakers/milliners use, it's kinda like fabric impregnated with glue, it sets hard once you've positioned it and it weighs almost nothing, anyone remember what it's called? could be just right for something like this..

Last edited by SpeccySteve : 09 September 2005 at 11:59 PM.
Old 09 September 2005   #12
I have a little booklet from Alec Tiranti in London that deals with life casting (everything from plasters to alginate). It's pretty involved though and you'd need someone you trust to help you if you were intending to make a cast of your face (as you'd be sitting back with straws up your nostrils - not necessary if just doing the top half). And a word of warning: do not just go out and buy any old plaster; some shrink on drying and can be a nightmare to remove from body parts.

-It would be difficult to take a cast of the part of your head covered with hair unless you wanted to shave it off. So for the part of the helmet that covers this, I wonder if it might be best to make a close shape and then pad the inside with foam rubber so it is tight. One problem with this though would be heat.

-If you have big horns, a real issue will be balance. If they aren't balanced so that the weight bears straight down from the main load-bearing point (I assume the top of your head), then they will constantly be sliding backwards.

-You'll need to decide how thick your horns will be. It may well be that your design is dictated by the materials you can use, rather than vice versa. Some options would be:

-Papier mache
--Solid pulp (really heavy)
--Strips and pulp over chicken wire or some other base (quite heavy and relatively brittle).
--Pulp formed over a mould (lighter but more brittle)

-Foam rubber and cloth (light; less likely to poke an eye out)
--You could form the foam rubber with light wire and then sew cloth over that.
--Using a hand needle you can actually sew grooves/shapes into the foam rubber
--Then use a stiffening agent to harden up the cloth, which can then be painted.

-Rubber/flexible plastic
--I've seen here round rubber strips sold by the meter (solid or hollow) - maybe you'd be able to locate some.
--All you'd need to do is put a length of wire up the centre that is sufficiently strong to hold its own and the rubber's shape once you bend it.
--Then just go to work with a sharp/hot knife.

-With any of these, the point of attachment is going to need to be fairly rigid and static so that the horns don't sway around too much.

Good luck - it's going to be quite a challenge. I love crafty things though, so am sure it will be worth it.
Old 09 September 2005   #13
Hey, I did a little diagram of how you could go about it....
*(GOZER)-During the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex Supplicants, it chose the form of a giant SLOAR...

Old 09 September 2005   #14
Talking Happy Birthday

You are so creative even in outfits, that's amazing, that outfit is so cool. Well my best of wishes to you, very happy birthday, and I hope to see more pieces of you. My greetings. (By the way, my birthday was two days ago, September 3rd).
Old 09 September 2005   #15
I highly suggest sculpy for your medium! It is a plastic molding clay that is very easy to work with. Some of the art students here (that graduated last year) used sculpty to do just about everything. It does not dry out, is medium in weight, is easily molded, simple to bake, etc. You can bake it easily in just about any oven. To make it lighter you can use aluminum foil or wire as a base and then mold the sculpy over it (since aluminum and wire can withstand the baking process). Even after baking you can still carve it or sandpaper it. The material comes in MANY different colors and you can still paint it afterwards. It is non sticky (except for the self adhesive kinds.) It is inexpensive and comes in different types depending on your needs. It is also very sturdy (may sustain scratches, but will usually not break). I love your enthusiasm for Halloween costumes, the gargoyle was just fantastic! Good luck with this year's costume!

P.S. I think you should find a very large pendant to adorn on your forehead or somewhere in the costume. A majestic and graceful evil would be spectacular!
"Since Copernicus man has been rolling from the center toward x."~Nietzche
Thread Closed share thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Society of Digital Artists

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 04:37 AM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.