Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Cerberus mask for Mardi Gras 2024, part 2

See part 1 of my Cerebus mask project here. As I mentioned in that first bit, I had to do a few steps of this project in a weird order, but for the sake of keeping this article neat I’ve grouped things by major sections — so for instance you might see some parts painted before I get to the whole section about painting, etc.

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Published by Manning on February 23rd, 2024 [1 Comment]

Cerberus mask for Mardi Gras 2024, WIP part 1

I’m working on this Cerberus mask for Mardi Gras 2024! I’ll try to explain how I did it! Unlike most of my projects, I didn’t have a detailed sketch for this one, and I had to do a lot of trial and error to figure out certain bits. It was fun working this way, and terrifying! Boring note: I had to do a few steps in a weird order, but for the sake of keeping this article neat I’ve grouped things by major sections — so for instance you might see some parts painted before I get to the whole section about painting, etc.

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Published by Manning on January 27th, 2024 [No Comments]

Big brain alien costume!

I made this big-brain alien costume for Halloween 2023! Here’s how I done did it!

Me wearing my alien costume

Hooboy, this was one of those projects where I was in such a rush I didn’t take nearly as many process pics as I usually do. But I can give you the gist of how I did all this. I started out with the three basic big shapes: the shoulder armor, the head tube thing, and the brain. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 31st, 2023 [2 Comments]

48″ flying saucer Halloween decoration

I made this 48″ flying saucer for our 1950s sci-fi Halloween party! Here’s how I made it.

This thing required a lot of math, and A), I’m bad at math, and B) the materials I use are not very precise so sometimes the pieces just don’t work out perfectly even though I’ve done the math correctly. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 31st, 2023 [No Comments]

Giant robot Halloween decoration

With just a few days left before our 1950s-themed Halloween party I decided to make this simple giant robot statue, loosely based on the robot I drew for our animated party invitation. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 31st, 2023 [No Comments]

Halloween 2023 theme: UFO!

This is another Halloween theme that I’ve been eager to do for many years! 1950s sci-fi, flying saucers, little green men, et cetera et cetera. I drew all of this stuff in Photoshop with my tablet, and animated everything in Adobe Animate. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 3rd, 2023 [No Comments]

Cryptique Creeps custom monster drawings!

Update: The fundraiser is over; thank you to all who participated! You can check out all the Creeps in the krewe’s Gallery!

My Mardi Gras krewe, Cryptique, is announcing its first fundraiser!

Cryptique Creeps illustrations

I’m doing Cryptique Creeps drawings at $20 a pop, with all proceeds going to Good Trouble Network (go read about them!!). Read more…

Published by Manning on April 6th, 2023 [No Comments]

Making a crown for my festive Creature costume

The short version: the crown is foam board with just one layer of paper maché, and it’s held on with magnets! The jewels are craft foam covered with Mod Podge and then painted.

Another view of the finished crown

(This is the last part of my Creature costume project: check out my articles on making the Creature mask and hands, and the scaly suit.)

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Published by Manning on March 8th, 2023 [No Comments]

Making a scaly suit for my Creature from the Black Lagoon costume

I made this shiny scaly men’s suit for Mardi Gras 2023 for my “Creature from the Black Bayou” costume!

I made the scaly suit with shiny metallic paper and hot glue, and I want to stress right away, this is not the best way of doing this! A much better way to make a suit like this would be with fabric or vinyl or some other kind of flexible plastic Read more…

Published by Manning on March 8th, 2023 [No Comments]

Creature from the Black Lagoon hands

Making these hands was the easiest part of my whole Creature from the Black Lagoon (/Bayou) costume. Here’s how I made ’em!

I started by tracing my own hand onto foam board, and then drawing a much bigger hand over that; I wanted to be sure that when I’m wearing these hands that my real hands are totally hidden. Read more…

Published by Manning on February 7th, 2023 [No Comments]

Creature from the Black Lagoon mask, part 2

This part 2 of my Creature from the Black Lagoon(/Bayou?) mask process. See part 1 here!

Okay, so the paper mache for the Creature head was all done, and now it’s time for painting all the other finishing touches.

Painting the Creature head

For all my big masks, I always use some kind of base coat before moving on to spray paint. This time I tried something new: I started with a coat of Mod Podge (paid link) that I brushed on; Read more…

Published by Manning on February 6th, 2023 [2 Comments]

Creature from the Black Lagoon mask, WIP part 1

For Mardi Gras 2023 I made a Creature from the Black Lagoon(/Bayou?) mask and costume! I makde this stuff for my second year marching with my Mardi Gras krewe, Cryptique. Here’s my article about making the mask!

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Published by Manning on January 5th, 2023 [3 Comments]

Lifesize paper maché Nosferatu statue!

Check this thing out! For Halloween 2022 our party’s theme was the 100th anniversary of the film Nosferatu (well, the U.S. release) and I wanted to try making a lifesize paper maché statue of good ol’ Count Orlok, aka the guy that jabronis like you call Nosferatu.

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Published by Manning on November 3rd, 2022 [1 Comment]

Halloween 2022 theme: Nosferatu, a Century of Horror

For many years I’d been waiting for 2022 to roll around so I could do this Halloween party theme; it’s the 100th anniversary of the film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror!

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Published by Manning on November 2nd, 2022 [No Comments]

Cryptique vampire bat standard!

Cryptique bat standard - painted and finished!

I made this standard for my Mardi Gras krewe, Cryptique; one more fun thing for us to carry on our march. It’s based on this illustration I did; I call this design our bat-de-lis (like fleur-de-lis):

Cryptique bat-de-lis design by Manning Krull-

Here’s how I made the standard!

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Published by Manning on May 20th, 2022 [No Comments]

Tiger piñata sculpture!

I made this lil’ tiger piñata for one of my favorite people in the world, writer and illustrator Jon Morris; it’s for his Gordo book project, which you can read about in this thread! The tiger sculpture I made isn’t a real piñata, in that it’s not (completely) hollow and it’s not intended to be destroyed. It’s just a prop that’s meant to look like a piñata. Here’s how I made the thing!

Tiger pinata sculpture - reference drawings

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Published by Manning on April 12th, 2022 [No Comments]

Introducing Cryptique!

I’m excited to announce I’ve got a new Mardi Gras krewe! Cryptique, Krewe of Cemetery Shamblers is a brand new phantasmagorical walking krewe in New Orleans, put together by me and a few friends just a couple weeks before Mardi Gras 2022. Read more…

Published by Manning on March 18th, 2022 [No Comments]

DIY wrestling championship belt props

My wife and I made these fun pro wrestling championship belt props to go with our skeleton tag team wrestler costumes. Here’s how we made ’em!

Pro wrestler skeleton costumes - close up of The Skull Krushers

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Published by Manning on March 8th, 2022 [2 Comments]

Pro wrestler skeleton costumes for Mardi Gras 2022!

Pro wrestler skeleton costumes - THE SKULL KRUSHERS!

Many months ago while brainstorming ideas for our new Mardi Gras skulls/costumes, my wife had the great idea for us to be skeleton pro wrestlers; we decided to be a tag team, and I came up with the name The Skull Krushers! These costumes were extremely fun to wear for our first march with Cryptique! Here’s how we made our skull masks…

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Published by Manning on March 7th, 2022 [No Comments]

Rooster Man Halloween costume!

For Halloween 2021, my wife and I went as two urban legends from her island, La Réunion: La Dame Blanche (“the white lady”; a classic vanishing hitchhiker story with a twist) and L’Homme Coq; the rooster man, who eats children for some reason! This is my favorite Halloween costume I’ve done in many years; here’s some info about how I made everything…

La Dame Blanche and the Rooster Man Halloween costumes

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Published by Manning on November 17th, 2021 [No Comments]