PITTSBURGH — Swap the mask for makeup this Halloween and create a guise that’s spectacularly spooky!
This bewitching season, 3.7 million children and a record-high 48 percent of adults plan to dress up, reports the National Retail Federation. Discount stores are the top destination for costume shopping, followed by Halloween specialty shops, grocery stores, department retailers and online shopping.
Whether you’re going with something that’s store-bought or self-made, a little makeup can make any goblin or ghoul even more ghastly. For inspiration, look no further than the blood-sucking villain and his bitten brides in Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic “Dracula.” Vampires’ ashen skin, sunken eyes and blood-stained lips can be incorporated into other popular costumes, including the timeless zombie.
Here are some DIY tips and tricks from makeup artist Sherry Deberson, picked up behind the scenes in rehearsals for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “Dracula.”
— Alabaster base: On stage, white makeup with bluish undertones gives skin dimension. Use a makeup sponge to dab color across the face and set with a powder. Ben Nye and Mehron are good brands to try. Novices will find cream sticks easier to blend than pancake makeup. Get some at Spotlight Costumes in the West End and Costume World in the Strip District.
— It’s all about the eyes: The right eyebrow can transform a look from silly to sinister. Apply water-soluble Elmer’s glue stick against the grain of the brow. Block out the natural eyebrow with the same makeup used to cover the face and then draw on the new brow. Something slanted down with a dramatic arch is particularly menacing.
— Kardashian cheekbones: Contouring is the key to livening up the face of any creature that’s returned from the grave. Dust on a dark powder in a diagonal line, starting from mid ear and extending down the cheek. Follow up with a few strokes of brown or red above the line and blend. With a skinnier brush, add a couple short vertical lines between the brows for more definition and a swoop of color out from the inner eye.
— Out for blood: Line the lower eyelids and lips with a hint of red. Maybe even dot the corners of the mouth with more blood, a nod to the creature’s latest conquest.
— Hair-raising details: If a wig is part of your wicked transformation, keep it intact with bobby pins or Spirit Gum adhesive. To add to what you already have, including facial hair, dip a bristled brow brush in the hair color and stroke it through to fill in a mustache or sideburns.
— More coverage, more fright: Be sure to cover hands, ears, neck, arms — anything not covered by a costume — with makeup. Blend in browns, reds and grays to the neck and in between fingers to complete the disguise.
— Set it and forget it: When you’re happy with your haunting new look, keep it with a fixative barrier spray. Have a wipe handy to blot skin if you start to sweat.
— Safety first: If you’re new to makeup or trying out a different brand, put a small amount in the crook of the arm to test for allergies. If there’s no reaction within 24 hours, you’re good to go. To remove it, use a baby wipe, makeup remover, and some soap and water.