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

Posts tagged "costume":

Making foam board antlers

How to make deer antlers using foam board

My fiancée needed antlers for her Halloween costume — swamp goddess; it’s a long story — and I made up this method that worked great!

How to make deer antlers -- cutting out the shapes

First I drew an antler shape on drawing paper and got the lady’s approval. I kept the shape a little bit on the thick side; I thought this would be important in order to keep the antlers from being too fragile, but it turned out to be unnecessary. If I were doing this again I’d draw the antlers a little thinner.

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Published by Manning on October 28th, 2015 | 4 Comments

Devil Man mask with horns — part 1

(See the finished mask in part 2!)

For my Voodoo Bayou Halloween party, I’m going as New Orleans urban legend the Devil Man! The Devil Man struck fear into the hearts of New Orleanians in the early 20th century; he’s mentioned briefly in this great book called Gumbo Ya-Ya, along with tons of other bits of Louisiana folklore.

There’s very little info available about the Devil Man; the only three details about his appearance that are listed in Gumbo Ya-Ya are 1) he has black horns, 2) he has eyes like a chicken, and even weirder, 3) he has “ears like pink sunflowers.” What the heck? Nothing else is mentioned about the Devil Man’s appearance but I set out to make a costume based on these details. I’m making a mask with horns and sunflower ears, and I’ll be sporting yellow contact lenses. I’ll be wearing an ugly old suit and white gloves, and I’m adding a monkey tail to the suit — one other detail about the Devil Man is that he can transform into a baboon! Naturally.

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Published by Manning on October 17th, 2015 | Comments Off on Devil Man mask with horns — part 1

Voodoo skull staff

For our Voodoo Bayou party, my fiancée wanted to design a swamp goddess costume; basically a spooky nature spirit who protects the animals in the swamp and chases meddling humans away. She wanted to carry a staff with a human skull on top with various bones and beads and trinkets hanging off, and I put together this plan to create the staff for her.

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Published by Manning on October 15th, 2015 | No Comments

Evil mechanical dolls Halloween costumes!

Evil dolls couples Halloween costumes

These were my fiancee’s and my costumes for Halloween 2010. They were our first-ever his-and-hers couple’s costumes, and we threw them together pretty last-minute! The only complicated/time-consuming part was the paper maché turnkeys that went on our backs. I had never done paper maché before and had no idea what I was doing, so they ended up having really rough, uneven surfaces. The base for the keys was foam board and poster board, all taped together and then paper maché’d over, then painted silver with acrylic paint.
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Published by Manning on July 17th, 2015 | No Comments

Failed vampire hunter Halloween costume

Failed vampire hunter Castlevania costume for Halloween

This costume was really simple but it makes me laugh so I’m posting it!

The way I described my costume depended on who I was talking to. For nerds, I’d say I was “Manning Belmont, least talented of the Belmonts” (get the Castlevania reference?). To non-nerds I’d just say I was a failed vampire hunter.
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Published by Manning on June 29th, 2015 | No Comments

Ghostly knight in not-so-shining armor Halloween costume

Ghostly knight Halloween costume

This was a costume I’d wanted to try for years, and it was a lot of fun! I decided to be a ghostly knight for my nighmare-themed Halloween party. My goal was to look like a knight that had been resting in a tomb for five hundred years; dirty and rusty and dessicated. After lots of research on how to make knight armor from scratch (which sounded really difficult and time-consuming), I opted to instead start with an ugly plastic store-bought suit of armor. As I often say, sometimes the best jumping off point for a beautiful custom Halloween costume is a crappy store-bought Halloween costume!

The suit of armor I bought was a nice shape, but a terrible color and texture; flimsy smooth silver-gray plastic; nowhere near as shiny or metallic-looking as you see in the photo there. That was fine, as I knew I wanted to change the look of the thing completely; I wanted to transform this plain silver-gray plastic texture into solid heavy old corroded metal. Here’s how I got it there:
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Tips for applying Halloween makeup, hair color, fake blood, contact lenses, etc!

zombie makeup tutorial

My makeup method is pretty simply and I use different variations of it almost every year.

For my face, the main type of makeup I use is Ben Nye Creme Colors (paid link) — they come in a little flat jar and you can find them at a lot of Halloween stores, often behind the counter because they’re a little pricier.

For zombie makeup or general scary ghoulish makeup, I usually just use black and white Ben Nye Creme Colors, and I just use my fingers to apply it. I start off with a base of white, all over my face. Then I use black makeup on my finger tips to apply heavy black areas around my eyes, under my cheekbones, etc, and blend them out toward the white. I use my finger tips to add shadows down the creases on the side of my mouth, and on the sides of my nose, at my temples, above my brow ridge, etc.
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Ambitious Halloween costume ideas I’d like to try someday

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.
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Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015 | No Comments

Making a straight jacket for my Renfield costume

How to make a straight jacket for your crazy Renfield Halloween costume

When I was working on my asylum-themed Halloween party in 2014, I decided I wanted to go as Renfield from Dracula! I really wanted to get the straight jacket perfect. I’m not used to working with fabric and clothing, so this was an interesting challenge.
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Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015 | No Comments

Spider costume for my evil circus Halloween party

Six-armed spider costume for Halloween

Another old favorite! I designed this spider costume for my evil circus/freakshow Halloween party back in 2003 or so. It was pretty simple, really; I bought an old suit at a thrift store and had my sister cut and sew the pants into extra arms. Then I got some cheap white gloves, stuffed them and the arms with bunting, and added attached ’em to the jacket. The arms are attached to one another with fishing line, of course, so when I moved my arms all six would move together.
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | No Comments

Vampire costume in coffin with stake through heart!

Vampire in coffin Halloween costume.

Oh how I wish I had better pics of this costume! It’s my favorite Halloween costume I ever made, probably around 2002 or so.
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | No Comments

My hand-painted skeleton suit

how to make a home made skeleton costume

I made this skeleton suit for my first Mardi Gras (2012) and have worn it every Mardi Gras since, plus a few Halloweens here and there. Making the suit was a fun project, and a little more challenging than I expected.

I started with a thick black blazer and a black pair of cotton pants, both of which were from H&M; I already had them in my closet and chose to sacrifice them for this costume.
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | 4 Comments

Paper maché violin skull mask, Mardi Gras 2015

Completed paper mache violin skull mask, Mardi Gras 2015

I made this violin skull mask for Mardi Gras 2015. It was one of the most complicated things I’ve ever made. I bit off more than I could chew with this one, but I’m really happy with how it came out. Check out all these steps…

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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 17 Comments

Paper maché conjoined twins skull mask, Mardi Gras 2014

This year I was determined to give chicken wire another go, after my failed attempt the previous year. I had already sketched out my idea for this conjoined twins (aka “siamese twins”) skull, and I knew I wanted them to be different heights and sort of distorted and curved-looking. So I decided to start out with two big tubes of chicken wire.
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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 4 Comments

My first big paper maché skull mask, Mardi Gras 2013

My first Mardi Gras skull mask; photoshoot behind a warehouse in New Orleans

This was my first big paper maché project!

I started off by buying some chicken wire and trying to shape it into the skull shape I pictured in my head. It didn’t work out at all; I had no idea what I was doing and I just couldn’t get the chicken wire to do what I wanted. So I gave up on the chicken wire for this mask. (I used chicken wire again, with much better results, the next year!)

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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 30 Comments