Jason King examines the colorful package incredulously, wrinkling his nose a little before he looks up, cocking an eyebrow.
“Are you serious?” he asks.
King sighs and begins ripping at the cardboard for a better look at what he’ll have to work with — two packages of Halloween makeup bought at a drug store. His task is to do a professional-looking makeup job without the use of his normal materials, which usually include makeup he airbrushes on, gelatin prosthetics and high-quality, mint-flavored fake blood that comes in large jugs.
A professional makeup artist, King does the makeup for cast members at a “haunted hotel,” and creates masks and does side jobs for several other haunted attractions scattered throughout San Diego in the fall.
Today, though, he’s going to use $5 makeup kits to demonstrate how the average person can still give the professionals a run for their money:
This can be the key to a lot of costumes, King says, and it’s easy to make at home.
— Karo Light Corn Syrup (it’s a clear liquid), available at any grocery store
— Red food coloring
— Blue food coloring
— Any brand of nondairy powder coffee creamer
1) Pour however much corn syrup you want into a bowl. This is how much blood you’ll be making.
2) Sift in the powder creamer until the corn syrup is no longer see-through.
3) Put in three or four drops of red coloring per cup of corn syrup.
4) Put in one drop of blue coloring per cup of corn syrup.
You now have convincing (and edible) fake blood.
— Always clean your face with astringent, or at least with soap and water, before applying makeup to make it last longer.
— The triangular wedge makeup sponges available at drug stores are best for applying makeup, and may be easier to use than sponges that come in the package.
— For an antiqued look, put baby powder in your hair.
— If you’re using makeup that’s applied with a brush, wash the brush between each color, or buy a set of cheap brushes and use one in each color.
— Brushes are often better for getting the details right.
— If you’re doing someone’s makeup, sit them sideways in front of a mirror and continuously check what you’re drawing against the side you’ve already done in the reflection.
— If you opt for blood, use a plastic ketchup bottle with a narrow opening to dribble it on your face. Let the blood run down your face naturally.
— You can also put the blood in your mouth and spit it out over a sink while making a “pppbbbbtt!” sound with your lips to get it to splatter nicely on your face. If you buy fake blood, read the package to be sure it’s OK to put in your mouth.
— A stipple sponge comes in many packages and is good for creating scrapes and a five o’clock shadow. It’s a little stiffer than a normal sponge and has larger than average pores.
— When taking makeup off, wipe it off with a baby wipe first to make it easier to clean with soap and water.
— Use white-cream face paint for the base, dabbing it on with a sponge instead of smearing it on. It will hold better if you dab it.
— Leave an open area around the eyes for the black paint.
— When the white is done, use a blush brush or sponge to dust baby powder over the makeup. This will help dry the face paint and fill in any spots you missed.
— Go back and use the black makeup stick to fill in around the eyes, making sure to go over the eyebrows, too. Be careful as you color close to your eyes.
— For the sunken cheeks, suck in your cheeks like you’re making a fish face and follow the natural lines. You’ll fill in the most where your cheeks are the most indented. You should have a curving triangle when you’re done. Try to make your cheeks as symmetrical as possible.
— Use eyeliner to create the teeth. Start by drawing a line down the center of your lips and work your way to your mouth’s corners. You can make the teeth as big as you like. After creating the lines, go back and draw in the curves to make the bottom and tops of the teeth. Finish by lining the crease where your lips come together.
— To create an empty nose cavity, draw two, slightly off-center, large teardrop-shaped ovals on your nose and fill them in with black. Outline your nostrils with black, too.
— For cracks, hold the eyeliner in your hand and shake your whole arm as you draw the lines, keeping your wrist straight. Then, pat at the crack with a clean sponge so it isn’t as defined.
GHOULISH HOBOS AND PIRATES
— Mix white and black paint to get gray and fill in around the eyes for a sunken look.
— Use a stipple sponge and black or brown paint to create the shadow of a beard. Don’t put too much makeup on the sponge, and tap it on your face. You may need to go over the same area several times.
— You can use the same technique to create dirt on your face.
— Use the stipple sponge and red paint to make road rash by tapping your face, or streak with the stipple and red paint to make scrapes.
— Mix red and blue for a purple to put around one eye for a black eye.
— Mix green and yellow and lightly outline (use a brush or the edge of a sponge) the purple to create a swollen effect.
— Blend around the eyes.
FAIRIES, PRINCESSES, GODDESSES
— You may want to buy a lightweight white (or lighter toned) face powder to brush over your entire face for a pale, fragile appearance.
— Use eyeliner to create dramatic eyes and bring it out from the outer edges of your eyes and draw swirls and flowers down your face.
— Fill in flowers with pastel colors.
— Some makeup kits come with a glitter gel that can be used liberally around your face.
— Some spray-in, temporary hair color can look good with these costumes.
— Don’t make your face too dark. Pea-soup green is best.
— A fake witch’s nose or, at the very least, an ugly fake mole is the key to making this costume work.
— Whiten your face with either pale face powder or with white cream.
— Use dark eyeliner around the eyes.
— Use dark paint to draw two parallel lines down the side edges of the nose and create a shadow right behind the flare of your nostrils.
— The nose is the most important part. It should be about dime-sized at the very tip of your nose.
— Outline the edges of your nostrils, and bring the line that bisects your nostrils down to almost the top of your lip.
— Use eyeliner around your eyes, turning up slightly at the outer edges of the eye.
— Use the same instructions as the skull face without the teeth and using greenish-gray base paint instead of white.
— Wrinkle your forehead and trace your natural lines with a black or dark brown paint.
— Smile and trace the natural lines around your mouth.
— Draw stitches where you like with eyeliner.
MORE HALLOWEEN MAKE TIPS HERE: How to apply Halloween makeup, Halloween face painting