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Halloween Cosplay Tips from a Face Painter

Auntie Stacey Pirate facepainter, www.auntiestaceysfacepainting.com1) Find inspiration in your closet

Special occasion clothes can be the perfect starting point for a costumed character. The flower girl dress from a wedding makes a fantastic start for a fairy princess. Tuxedos for vampires, graduation grown (belted, with a shredded hemline) for witches. Worn clothing can find new life, eh, undead life, as a zombie’s outfit.

2) More face paint, less mask

Masks are hot, uncomfortable and hard to breathe through. They restrict vision, which could lead to falls and bruises. Make-up looks more realistic and feels better.

3) Plan your design

Sketch out a few ideas beforehand, remembering to keep it simple. A face is a lot harder to paint than a flat piece of paper. Try to isolate your character’s one essential detail, such as a cat’s whiskers or Superman’s graphic S.

4) Look online for images & tutorialsSnake face paint by Auntie Stacey

A Google search will yield almost too much info.

5) Don’t use craft paint!

Your mom was right when she told you not to draw on yourself with Sharpie pens. Art supplies and craft glitter may be non-toxic, but they are not hypo-allergic or in any way safe for use on the skin! If craft glitter gets in your child’s eye you are not going to have a good evening. Only use quality products that are approved for use on the face and body. Here’s a link to a supplier.

Auntie Stacey's face painting

This Zombie’s shading was done with eye shadow.

6) Use the make up you have

Eyebrow pencils work well for adding kitty whiskers, pirate’s wrinkles or a vampire’s hairline. Place dark eye shadow around the eye socket to make your zombie’s hollow eyes. A blend of purple, dark grey and dark brown is ideal. Use blue eye shadow for a Frozen inspired design.

7) Supplement with face paint

There’s nothing like quality water based face paint for bold colors and good contrast. Halloween stores usually stock small quantities of good brands such as Wolfe Brothers, Snazaroo and Kryolan. Or purchase online.

8) Get a good brush

One #5 round with a perfect point is worth 10 cheap brushes designed for three year olds to destroy.  Lowell Cornell makes great watercolor brushes. Look for them at art stores. To use them: Mist the make up cake with water. Load the brush with paint by rolling it back and forth in the cake. Practice making thick and thin lines on your arm and/or legs. It takes a while to feel how much water to use.

9) Make your own fake blood

  • 1 cup corn syrup (Karo or other brand)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in the blender and mix for a few seconds. Variations on the recipe include the use of coffee or red fruit punch. Experiment. But please don’t feel obligated to use all the blood you make on your face and costume – it is messy.

face paint by Auntie Stacey10) Consider hiring a pro

A professional face painter will bring a full kit containing all the colors of cosmetic grade face paint you’ll need for every design. She’ll be fast and full of ideas to make your characters come to life.

I hope you have a blast creating an original, safe and fun Halloween costume and make up!

– Auntie Stacey

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