(This is) Halloween 2007: The Nightmare Before Xmas!

Jack Skellington

About a month and a half before Halloween, I figured I had better do a makeup test to make sure we could pull off this look.  Plus it was another good excuse to shave my head.

I only did half my face in order not to waste the paint.  This was two coats, and it took more than half the tube.  That's Pauly, our foster Boston terrier, who is glad to have been adopted subsequent to this picture and away from this crazy family.

I tried black lip stick I had bought Dani probably three years earlier as a joke (I told her I wanted her to dress up goth... and she actually looked pretty good).  Unfortunately, the tube had dried out since then, so I ended up using the black face paint on my lips as well.  Yuck!

Lessons learned:
*Multiple coats are required.  Do a thin coat, then another, and then another.  This is especially true around eye lids where I found it gunked together.  Every time I blinked, it felt like it was happening in slow motion.
*Learn how best to rub it in evenly.  I found the side of my hand worked best at not leaving streaks, but it took a couple passes before I figured out how much pressure to apply.
*Avoid overlap.  When I applied the black after doing the white first, it ended up mixing together.  I had to redo some spots.
*Use instruments for detail work.  Finger painting is fine, but detailing requires more precision.

As Halloween approached, we made a trip to the Halloween superstore to make sure to get tons and tons of makeup.

We also bought a pair of gloves to try to make skeletal hands out of.  This turned out to be a waste.  More about that later.

I just want to point out that a nude bodysuit for a kid is a freaky idea.  Seriously.

Also from the Halloween store: I just thought this was funny.  It's a lollipop stuck in some spider webs by the cash register.  Some elements of Halloween are simply incompatible.

Jack's suit was (as always) from the thrift store (Note the tag on my waist).  Dani's chalking a line along which to cut.  The idea was to exaggerate my height and make me look really thin.  She also split the back and used scraps to extend it to create tails.

Additional cartoonish pin-striping was accomplished by Dani hand-drawing all the lines with fabric paint.

The neck tie was similar to the Yoda ears Dani made a couple years earlier in that they had a wire frame to help hold their shape.  She used a relatively light gauge wire this time though so that it was bendable.  In fact, you could do stop-motion animation if we were so inclined.

Okay, the first pair of gloves didn't work out because they were synthetic (rayon, maybe?) and didn't take the dye well.  Dani Tried dying them black with the idea of putting white paint on them, but they turned lavender.  No good.

Pictured here is a cheap cotton pair, the first of which has the basic bone pattern sketched into it.  The plan here was to make it look like Jack's hands: small palms and long fingers.  The finger "bones" actually extend into the hands.

The marker ended up smearing, so we ended up with yet another pair of gloves (they were like $2 or something from General Dollar) and using fabric paint instead.  This is only halfway finished.  Most of the white surrounding the "bones" was painted over.

Final version.

This is why you need three coats.  Here's the first coat.  It takes at least five minutes to dry between coats.  If you try to apply a second one before the first is dry, it just ends up smearing as though it's all one thick, wet coat.

Second coat.  Looks pretty solid, but there are a few bare patches.

Then with a third coat plus the black stuff painted on by Dani, you get a pretty decent Jack Skellington.

Note the white on the collar.  This was taken on Halloween night, the third time we had suited up (after parties/Oak Lawn on the Fri/Sat before).

Here you also get to see the final version of the painted gloves.


We started with a photo reference to figure out how many different pieces of fabric would be required.

Dani took a thrift store dress and over-laid some taped-together pieces of regular 8.5"x11" then sketched the design onto it with the corresponding number key.

After a trip to the fabric store to fill in the missing bits, we were ready to start putting it all together.  Incidentally, the green and some of the brown should look familiar since those were leftover bits from Yoda a couple Halloweens before.

Dani just used spray adhesive to attach the scraps.

Maybe she could make a new mattress for the futon next.  The goddamned worthless cat pissed on it, which is why there's nothing there but a cheap foam mattress at the moment.

She didn't use the sewing machine, but rather applied cartoonish top stitching both for visual effect and to supplement the adhesive... both of which held things together surprisingly well.

Final step: Dani used fabric paint to sketch in the remaining bits of the patterns on Sally's dress.

Gertie the Boston terrier in the background offered to be used as a paperweight since that's all she's good for, but we really didn't need one.

Dani poses in the front yard.  This was the second wig we tried.  The first was black and too thick for the character.  She also has on some white face paint.  A touch of green would have looked better, but she just used some leftover bits from me.

She's also wearing a long-sleeve shirt in this shot that has mock surgical stitching to match the stitches drawn on her face.

Happy Halloween!

Copyright 2007 Alexplorer.