Skeleton Costume: Introduction
My family and I took a trip to San Francisco this summer, which inspired this Skeleton Costume. Walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, watching the street performers, a large skeleton man caught my eye, and I knew right then and there what my Halloween costume would be. My obsession began as soon as I returned home from San Francisco on August 6th. With no formal training or knowledge of how to construct something like this, Google was my only source of information. The first thing I looked up was how to make a huge head. I got a lot of ideas from people who made costumes for the Tucson Day of the Dead parade, All Soul’s Procession. The first thing I knew I needed to make was a headframe. I took several wire hangers and ducked taped them together to make a large round-shaped head.
The next thing I needed was a lot of paper. Fortunately, while out walking the dog one evening, I noticed that someone had recently moved into a house around the corner and had left all of their moving boxes and packing paper on the curb. I’d won the paper lottery. With the head on its way, I began working on the bones. I had requested that neighbors save paper towel rolls. I got around 20 of them. I cut them in half and used duct tape to line them.
Skeleton Costume: Notes
The ribcage made similarly, with foam in paper towel rolls and hangers. Hands also made out of cardboard, wire hangers, and paper mache. I glued a work glove to the palm of each one after they were finished so I could wear them. To wear the head, I sprayed two cans of spray foam inside the cavity of the head, let it dry, and carved out a hole in the center where I glued a Craigslist bike helmet. A black second-skin suit bought on the internet. I had some red bike lights with me. I put one inside the helmet and one in each eye.
If you don’t remember, Benny is the Halloweentown cab driver. One of the movies that most of my generation watched as kids around Halloween. I decided to make a Benny mask for my Halloween costume out of liquid latex mixed with flour and mold it onto a mannequin head. I sculpted the skull look with my fingers dipped in liquid latex and sculpting tools dipped in liquid latex. I made the top and bottom jaw pieces separately so that I could move more freely when speaking. The teeth are made from fake nails pressed into a latex mixture. I always use a generous amount of powder when removing a mask or prosthetic from the mannequin head.
Any setting powder or even baby powder will suffice. Peel a little back at a time while applying more powder to the mask with a fluffy brush until it’s entirely off the base. After drying for a day and removing the cover from the base, I painted it with cream paints of white mixed with some yellow and white mixed with some grey for shading. Before photographing the final project, I went to get coffee with a friend, and everyone who saw me was scared at first but then seemed to remember that I was dressed as a character from Halloweentown, whether they remembered the name or not.
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