Happy Halloween! I was so excited to be invited to a Halloween party this year because I’m always psyched about Halloween every year and want to dress up. I absolutely adore costume and theater makeup, and I figured since I’m typically glamorous 364 days out of the year, why not go as something really scary this year? In total, it took me about an hour and a half to get ready from start to finish, and I wanted to break down the costume with some tutorials, as well as show the products I used. Can you guess who I am?
What an excellent day for an exorcism.
I went as Regan from The Exorcist, played by Linda Blair, who at the time was only eleven years old when it was filmed. Released in 1973, this movie was extremely provocative for its time…not only the subject matter, but the actual lines in the movie once Regan becomes possessed even further. It caused quite a stir among critics and conservative types back then, and is still regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time. I personally think there is very little horror movie imagery that is more frightening than a possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. I was up for the challenge!
- Erase your eyebrows. This is an important step that is often overlooked. While the makeup back in 1973 wasn’t as realistic as it is now, it is still scary as hell. Little details, like erasing your original eyebrows, can really help make the costume look freakier. I used a regular glue stick (yes, the kind from any craft section will do!), and I applied it over my eyebrows in the direction of the hair growth. Then, I applied transparent setting powder to the eyebrows so that the glue wouldn’t be tacky anymore. I applied a full coverage concealer over top of my eyebrows and set it again with some transparent eyebrows. No more eyebrows!
- Create your scars. The next step uses liquid latex, shown in the photo above. I used Mehron, which is a fantastic brand known for costume makeup. Grab tissue or toilet paper, and make sure that it is single-ply, as you want a thin piece. Tear off various size pieces, making sure the edges are uneven and jagged. Place some liquid latex on your face where you want your cut, and place the ripped tissue/toilet paper over top of it. Next, apply liquid latex over top of the entire sheet of tissue on your face, making sure all the edges are down. To create Regan’s scars, I looked at a reference photo of her and placed them about where her’s were in the movie: over top of her nose at a diagonal, her forehead, her cheeks, her chin, neck, chest, and around her lips/mouth. Let the liquid latex dry, though it will only take roughly a minute or two.
- Apply your overall face color. I used a Mehron Fantasy FX color that was gray. I believe the color was called “Monster Grey” or something along those lines. I used a sponge to stipple the color over my entire face and neck, including over top of the liquid latex “wounds.” You may need to go over it a few times to get a nice finish.
- Carefully tear open your “wounds.” Using tweezers or a small pair of scissors, carefully “tear” open your liquid latex “wounds.” Your liquid latex wounds will feel tacky and sticky, almost like a band-aid, and you can cut right through them to create an open looking wound effect. Remember that since this is a Regan costume, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can leave pieces of your wound open that look frayed or decaying. It all adds to the effect!
- Shade, shade, shade. This is actually the part of the makeup that took me the longest. I broke out my eyeshadow palettes and used a matte black, a matte gray, a matte brown, a matte purple, and a matte yellow. I first applied black under my eyes and into the sockets of my eyes, extending it all around the eye to make it look sunken in and dead. Then I used various other colors to “contour” area’s of my face that Regan had, such as around my “smile lines” and nostrils. The key is to use various shades to get a depth to your bruising and cuts. I used yellow and purple to make my face look bruised. I also patted the matte black around random area’s on my face just to make it look like my skin was rotting.
- Shade in your wounds. I used black inside of my cuts. So anywhere you ripped open your liquid latex is going to be your actual “cut.” You want the inside to be the darkest, so use matte blacks, browns, and grays. I also shaded around the entire piece of toilet paper I used for the wound to make it look like my wound was rotting.
- Get bloody. I used “vampire blood” that I bought for $1. You can use gel blood from the Halloween store, or any that you find in the seasonal section. I used a brush to apply it directly into holes where I shaded my wounds in. I let some drip down out of the wound for a realistic effect. I also used my finger to pat some of the blood onto my face around my mouth, and on my neck and chest area.
- Pea soup vomit your mouth. Since Regan is known for her pea soup vomit, I mixed up some petroleum jelly with a pea-like green eyeshadow pigment and smeared it from my lips to my neck, to make it look like I had vomited up pea soup. You want your mouth area to look completely decrepit, so make sure your lips are pale and have no pigmentation to them. You can also use black eyeshadow to create chapped, rotting lips.
- Set, set, set! I used my regular makeup setting spray at the end, but you can also use transparent powder. You want to make sure everything you just applied will stay all night long.
I purchased a wig that had an auburn tone to it, and I made sure that it had bangs like Regan does in the movie. I bought my wig from eBay for less than $15. If you have a similar hair color, you can get away with just applying some clip-in bangs to your regular hair. I don’t mind purchasing wigs because they always come in handy for future costumes and projects.
One word: contacts! The eyes make this costume. Since most of this costume was completely homemade, I knew I couldn’t leave out the special FX contacts. I purchased mine from YouKnowIt.com (no affiliation), and they are always wonderful about customer service there. The contacts are a bright yellow “Avatar” style lens, but they work here beautifully. Regan’s eyes were a bright, glowing, creepy yellow. If you’re going to do this costume, you’ve got to do the glowing eyes!
I went to Goodwill and purchased a long zipper-up nightgown that looked like it was from the 80’s. It cost me less than $3! I knew I was just going to ruin it anyway, so I was down with that price. I also purchased a teddy bear and a plastic cross for less than $1 there.
- Pea soup vomit your nightgown. I used a combination of green fabric paint, Elmer’s glue, and oatmeal to create the “pea soup vomit.” I splashed it over my entire nightgown. There really is no right or wrong way to do this…just go crazy! The glue helps the oatmeal stick to your nightgown, and the fabric paint is ideal because it doesn’t harden and warp the fabric of your costume. Mine dried in less than twenty-four hours.
- Wreck your teddy bear. I applied leftover vampire blood to my teddy bear, as well as some of the leftover “pea soup vomit” mixture I had onto the bear. I also cut the bear open slightly with a pair of scissors and stuck the plastic cross inside of the teddy bear. I mostly just used the bear as a prop to walk in with. He hung out elsewhere most of the night because he was pretty creepy.
- T-shirt wrist restraints. I added these last minute before walking out the door. I remember Regan had to be restrained to the bed, so I cut up an old white t-shirt and wrapped them around my wrists, letting part of it hang down. Then I squirted vampire blood all over them and my wrists, hands, and fingers to make it look as though I was “fighting” the restraint and getting bloody!
- Slippers. I used regular slippers I owned. The fun part about this costume is that it is super comfortable to wear. I mean, you look gross and disgusting, but you’re dressed in your pajamas!
My husband went as Father Merrin, the priest. I found a black priest robe costume for him on Slickdeals.net for $2 shipped, and then we added a black top hat and sprayed his hair gray. We went as a “couples” costume, and we won “Most Original” which was cute! It is definitely a conversation-inducing costume, so be ready for people to stare at you, ask you how you did it, and tell you that you look completely freaky. I definitely got a ton of “OH MY’s” at my costume, even from grown men!
Overall, have fun with it! Halloween is meant to be really fun and all about dressing up and getting into character. I had so much fun at the party, and I enjoyed being able to dress up and spook the hell out of people! If you have any questions on how I did my costume, feel free to comment below or e-mail me. I can’t wait for next year!
[ALL PHOTOGRAPHY ON THIS SITE IS TAKEN BY REBECCA KAZIMIR. NO PHOTOGRAPHS ARE TO BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.]