Halloween makeup/special effects

This is by my friend Ellen who originally posted it on MySpace before the site went downhill and everyone started deleting their profiles (including Ellen).

I decided to post up some free  special effects information to help friends of mine on here who are wanting to build their own Halloween costumes on a budget. Now indeed is the time to begin your costumes  my friends!


I first began makeup and body paint experimentation on myself at about 13. I did not really get into horror and movie makeup effects until about ten years ago. My ex-husband, and his friends Wretched Soul, and Mitch shared their knowledge with me.  Wretched Soul and Mitch do amazing latex and special effects work. My body and latex collection I show here  I bought most of my main dummies from Mitch's company BITY productions. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to learn from these hardcore guys.

This is by no means a complete list. I know there are a lot of great special effects artists out there. Any write-ins on links or books for this blog I always appreciate. I am always learning.

It is my hope in these troubled times, that my online teaching experiment here will be a gift that keeps on giving.  Kudos to Alexplorer whose email inspired me to begin this.


I recommend www.halfpricebooks.com  for great deals on used anatomy and special effects books.  There are many half price book stores across the nation who buy every day used books from people, so selections of individual stores is always changing. 

One of my favorite special effects artists is horror makeup man Tom Savini. This guy has great videos, and books, plus offers schools for the serious student who can afford them: www.savini.com.

My Favorite book of Savini's I have is Grande Illusions. I have found this book has paid for itself many times over.

If you get Grande Illusions, you can see these next books I recommend  are straight from Savini's recommended lists.

Dick Smith's Monster Makeup Handbook is another great book I recommend. It is written for the beginner in mind.

Richard Corson's Stage Makeup is a another book I enjoyed as well. It is also great for the aspiring college theater makeup artist,
For anatomy, Atlas Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck is a great book designed for the sketching artist. It has pictures of actual anatomy models, and anatomy break-down pictures.

I use Color Atlas of Anatomy by Rohen/Yohkochi when I work on body parts. I like this anatomy book because the authors actually took dissected cadavers pictures and put in the book. The cadaver pictures are dissected and numbered for easy review of body part names. Its not for the weak stomached! >;)

The other book I use a lot when I work with latex parts and dummies is A Manual On Clinical Surgery by S. Das. This is a great used book I found when I worked at Half Price Books. I like it because there are actual pictures of people with various disfigurements and conditions. Its a great reference when making monster makes or dummies for horror houses. This is another book I don't think is suitable for young children or people who traumatize easy.

As far as general human anatomy books, I recommend simply buying a used college anatomy and physiology book. Dental books with dentists in mind is great for teeth. Pretty much all the information is the same. It is important if you decide to commit to making body parts and casts, to start learning all you can about the human body now. I also recommend learning Latin here, as all medicine, and science anatomy is based of the dead language of Latin.

If you are wanting to make fake latex animals, once again, I recommend getting a used college book on zoology. On animal casts, I don't recommend using a live model, as most animals don't like things poured on their body, and won't stay still.

As you assemble your library, you will find that its good to get books that show actual death scenes and corpses. I know this sounds gross, but you will find the more you study the decomposition process, the more realistic your work will become. Here are a few titles of some books I found. These I recommend hide far from your children and light-hearted friends:

*Looking at Death by Barbara P Norfleet

*Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook text by Katherine Dunn, edited by Sean Tejaratchi

*Muerte! Death in Mexican Popular Culture by Harvey Bennett Stafford.

All of these books have actual graphic scenes of corpses. I don't recommend reading this book before eating.

There is a interesting read called The Dead Walk by Andy Black that talks about zombie evolution in media. It is a good book that has a great filmography at the end.


http://www.makeup-fx.com/index.htm - I enjoy this website a lot on latex because Lars Carlsson's site has great pictures on beauty, and 3D makeup . This site also  has great step-by-steps on various special makeup and cast effects. I always go to this site whenever I want to research and refresh on a technique.

http://www.expertvillage.com/video-series/143_special-effects-makeup.htm - I found a few makeup videos on this information site. I liked these videos because the Halloween makeup techniques are shown step-by-step. There is a couple of interesting videos on airbrush makeup, which I am just now getting into. 

http://www.ehow.com/how_4731118_applying-special-effects-makeup.html - This is a html page I came across I keep on my favorites for Halloween time. I think its important to follow the steps for applying and taking off latex prosthetics. Also, you can go to the links on the page to learn more on vampire effects, gelatin, powder, blood, and my current fav, shards of glass.

http://beauty.iloveindia.com/makeup/special-effects.html - I recommend this page here because it has some interesting how-tos on scary makeup and blood on a budget. This site is also great links to India fashions, plus all around tips on beauty makeup and fashion for people of varying ages.

http://make-up.lifetips.com/cat/64170/stage-makeup/index.html - This is two more pages with some great tips and links to other makeup needs. I like to keep these in my favorites whenever I need to refresh on a technique.

Reposted 2011 by the Ale[x]orcist.