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

Ambitious Halloween costume ideas I’d like to try someday


Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015

I’m constantly brainstorming elaborate Halloween costumes I’d like to do someday; it really passes the time when I’m in meetings, or running, etc. I think through the challenges that would come with these complicated costumes, list out the materials I’d need, try to imagine what the work schedule would be like, etc. Here are some that I’ve thunk up.

Undead astronaut — the key to this costume is the helmet; I’d love to make a classic old-timey-lookin’ bubble-shaped astronaut helmet with a movable visor and everything; it’d be all weathered and aged and cracked, and I’d want to try to install little lights inside that shine on my face, which would be made up like a skeleton/very old mummified zombie. Of course the rest of the outfit would be a beat-up, stained, baggy astronaut uniform, with tubes and badges and an American flag and everything. I think I’d try to make the uniform myself out of some kind of stiff fabric, and paint the heck out of it, kind of like how I did my Renfield straight jacket.

Ghost Knight II — Doing a ghostly knight costume in a full suit of armor was a dream of mine for many years, and I finally did a pretty easy version of it a couple years ago by simply modifiying a crappy store-bought suit of armor. One of these days I’d like to do it again and make the armor all from scratch, probably out of paper maché. Fun! This would be a ton of work — all those pieces! — but I think I could do a good job with it, and I’d want to add more details to make the thing look ancient, like spider webs, matted leaves, etc.

Animatronic Medusa — This one would probably not be for me but for my fiancée or whomever wants it! I’d love to tackle the challenge of creating moving snakes mounted on some kind of helmet. I’ve seen a few tutorials about this on various sites but none of them do it for me; I’d want to come up with my own method. I’m imagining super lightweight snakes made out of painted fabric or something, maybe wrapped onto lightweight spiral wire shapes, with some kind of battery-powered spinning part at the base that twirls a curved sturdy wire around inside the snakes. I dunno. I’m sure it’d be very difficult but I’d love to give it a try!

Werewolf costume — Werewolves have always been my favorite monsters, and I think it would be extremely challenging to make a decent werewolf costume like I’m picturing in my head. I’m not a huge guy, so there would be a couple tricks involved to make me bigger; some sort of lightweight harness to puff up my shoulders and back, and I’d probably wear some sort of platform shoes to make myself a bit taller, and make clawed, furry feet to go over ’em. And then, the head! A big goal of mine with every Halloween costume is to have something that’s relatively comfortable and lets me talk and eat and drink (mostly drink!). Doing a good werewolf head that meets these criteria might be impossible! You know, in movies you’ve got your werewolves with wolf-head-shaped-heads, with a long snout and big ears, and you’ve got your werewolves with more human-head-shaped heads; the latter is definitely an easier effect to pull off, but not as fun! I’d want to go for the full wolf head with tons of big teeth and everything. I might use this opportunity to make something I’ve wanted to try for ages; a head that’s mounted on a harness with a hinge so I can easily flip the whole thing back. That would be great! As for materials for the shoulders and head, I’d probably do a wire base with paper maché and fake fur attached. I’d need to make torn-up filthy clothes, and furry wolf gloves, etc.

Snakebit explorer — this would be a funny/silly one: I’d start with a Dr. Livingstone-type khaki outfit with a pith helmet, and make the whole thing aged/dirty/ragged-looking. I’d make a huge snake out of chicken wire and paper maché, coiled up so that I could wrap it around my whole body, with the head biting onto my neck, and then I’d do makeup to make my face look pale and sweaty and half-dead. I’ve been waiting for the right theme party to do this one for!

Gargoyle costume — Okay, bear with me on this one… This would be an optical illusion to create the effect of a small gargoyle crouching on a pedestal, and the pedestal is actually where my legs are hidden. So I’d make small wings and a coiled tail to attach to my back, and create fake little legs that are folded up in front of me, and then I’d build the pedestal with a platform around my waist and fabric flowing out below so that my legs have room to move. There are some great tutorials out there for creating a stone texture effect for clothing, skin, hair, etc, and I’d want to do all of that, so that the entire costume, including the whole pedestal, has the exact same color and texture, like the entire thing is carved out of one big piece of stone. Of course I’d make some cool horns and pointy ears and all that stuff! This whole thing would be a tremendous amount of work, so I’m saving it for one of those years when I’m really bored around late winter/early spring and itching to start on Halloween projects early! This happens more often than you might think!

I’ll add more costume ideas as I think of them!

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