I love Halloween. More specifically, I love making cool costumes and showing them off. For the past few years, my costume of choice has been a phoenix outfit which eventually evolved into a flamboyant monstrosity with a 12' wingspan, a ludicrous piece of headgear, lots of sparkly fabric, and detachable 200mW handheld lasers lighting up polycarbonate rods on the wings, which could be fitted together into a 7' lightsaber-staff and twirled about like a baton. However, as of this year, I think it's time for a change of pace. So, instead of sparkles and lights and general flashiness, I am going for a different angle. This costume is not funny, it's not cute, and it's definitely not kid-friendly. Instead, it's a horrific, chainsaw-wielding monster straight out of your worst nightmare. It is also highly customizable. Sound fun? Well then, let's get started! It's time to put the "trick" back into trick-or-treat...
This costume has the potential to get you in trouble if you act like a jackass while wearing it. Brandishing a chainsaw at six-year old children will probably get the police called on you, so please use common sense while wearing this costume.
Chainsaws (and all of the other substitute tools which lend themselves well to this costume) are extremely dangerous if you do not know how to use them properly. If you have never picked up a chainsaw before, please do not attempt to use one for this costume. You will get hurt.
A THIRD WARNING!!!
If you do happen to do something stupid and end up cutting off your legs or getting arrested, don't blame me for your stupidity.
Step 1: Parts List
Here's what you'll need:
- A scary mask
- A gas chainsaw (if you do not have a chainsaw, many other tools and items can be substituted)
- Spooky clothing
- Gloves (optional)
- Other accessories (optional)
Each item is discussed and analysed in greater detail later on the following slides...
Step 2: The Mask
The mask is probably the most important part of the costume. Obviously, you want it to be as scary as possible. But what makes a mask scary, you may ask... In my opinion, there are many ways to make a mask scary. I have listed a few things to take into consideration below.
Shocking: How would you react if you turned a corner and stared into this mask on a dark night? What would your first impression be?
Grotesqueness: Does the mask get more horrifying the longer you gaze into it? Does every little detail fill you with revulsion?
Familiarity: Does the mask take something ordinary and comforting, such as a teddy bear, and twist it into something horrifying? This is a good thing to have in a scary mask, because the twisting of something good and pure into something evil instills a whole new level of horror into the person who sees the mask.
Creepiness: How unsettling is the mask to look at? Does it seem like something is off about it, but you can't quite place what it is? (If you look at my mask, you may have noticed that the mask lacks a lower jaw. This was done on purpose. People will not consciously notice this at first, but they will notice something "off" about it, which adds to the horror.)
I chose to make my mask out of paper mache. Personally, I went for a combination of shocking and creepy, but choose whatever strikes your fancy.
Step 3: The Saw
Next up is the chainsaw, also a very important part of the costume. Pretty much any chainsaw will work, although small to medium sized ones are best if you plan to go trick-or-treating with them. Smaller chainsaws are heavy, but still light enough to carry around without your arms aching by the end of the first block. However, most people who own a chainsaw only own one, so you're kind of stuck with what you've got on hand.
BUT WHAT IF I DON'T OWN A CHAINSAW???
Never fear! One of the great things about this costume is that it works with lots of other, more commonly owned tools. I have listed a few good alternatives below. (In case you're wondering, all the pictures of alternative tools to use were taken by me, wandering around my house for a few minutes looking for other stuff I have on hand other than a chainsaw.
Chainsaw: If you're going for maximum scare factor, and do not care about having to lug an extra 10 pounds all over your neighborhood, this is by far the best option.
Sawzall (reciprocating saw): This would be my choice if I didn't own a chainsaw. They look pretty menacing, especially if you put a longer blade on them, and they also make a decent amount of noise.
Hedge Trimmer: Looks big and scary. Good choice.
Drill / Impact Driver: Another pretty good choice, especially if you equip a large drill bit (especially an auger bit). Also lighter and more portable than most power saws.
Nail gun: Another fun one. Slightly less fun because you can't lug around your air compressor to go with it.
Other power tools: Pretty much anything will work, as long as you can easily imagine it being used by a slasher villain. For example, a circular saw is great, while a sander is not.
Machete: Always a good option. It's much more portable than a power tool, and is still pretty scary.
Hammer: Again, very portable, still pretty scary, although not as much as a machete.
Sledgehammer: Not much scarier than a carpenter's hammer, and weighs as much as a chainsaw. Not a very good choice.
Axe: Pretty lightweight. Looks good on you.
Club: Baseball bats, 2x4s, tree branches, pieces of pipe, etc. All make great clubs, especially if you drive some long nails through them to make spikes. May weigh more than most other options.
Pruning saw: The teeth on a good pruning saw are really sharp, and they look intimidating as well.
Shovel: Good zombie-killing weapon. You can tie your candy bag to it and rest it on your shoulder if the bag gets too heavy.
Kitchen Knife: The upside is that just about everyone has one of these in their house. The downside is that it's neither original nor very scary.
Weapons: Something like a sword or bow and arrows works well. I have used my bow in costumes in previous years.
Add some fake blood to your hand tools to make them look more menacing. I wouldn't recommend doing it to power tools though, it will gum them up.
When choosing a power tool, another big factor is whether it has it's own power source (unless you plan to hide behind a bush in your yard and jump out at people, in which case a power cord is not a problem). Gas chainsaws are better than electric ones because you can start them up as you walk menacingly towards someone. Same with all other power tools, battery powered is always better if you plan to be moving around.
On fake power tools and fantasy weapons: Unless you have a really, really good quality prop (indistinguishable from the real thing), if you don't have a real one, choose a different tool. This costume is supposed to be scary. An obviously fake chainsaw is not scary. Even with sound effects.
Step 4: Spooky Clothing
Pretty much anything works here, as long as it looks intimidating when combined with power tools and scary masks. I chose black tattered robes (made from old curtains) because I felt that they went well with my mask, and because the black of the robes makes a striking color contrast which accentuates the orange of my chainsaw.
Other ideas include skeleton outfits and other store-bought Halloween clothes, martial arts uniforms, casual wear with fake blood splatters, white sheets, Gothic-style outfits, and anything else that you think will be scary. Note that if you are using a power tool, you need to make sure your clothes will not be caught in the tool when you turn it on.
Step 5: Gloves
Anything to cover your hands works here, or, if you're throwing this together 5 minutes before you head out to get some candy, don't even bother. Note that some costumes will go well with hand wear, while others will not. In my opinion, the less of your skin is visible, the creepier your monster will be. I chose to wear black gloves. Leather work gloves also work well. Note that most gloves can be turned black in a few minutes with a sharpie.
Step 6: Other Accessories
The sky's the limit here! Fake injuries, laser pointers, claws, and anything else you want to add; get creative!
Step 7: Finished!Time to Go Scare People!
Again, this is another area where you can get creative. Presentation is everything. Take my costume for example; I am going to present myself in a very specific way: I am not going to talk to people with the mask on. Instead, I am going to stay completely silent as I walk towards them with a hunched back and an uneven gait and my chainsaw hidden beneath my robes. Then, once I get to about 20 feet away from them, I am going to pull out my chainsaw, start it up, and repeatedly rev the engine as I continue to walk towards them. I am also not going to do this to any groups of people with small children.
If you are using a chainsaw, be sure to start it up often enough that it stays warmed up and starts on one or two pulls. This way you will not look silly as you madly yank on your pull-start a dozen times and ruin the scary moment. Another thing to consider is removing the chain from your saw before you head out. This will ensure that if some overprotective parent calls the police, you can show them that the chainsaw has no chain, and thus there will be no doubt about whether you were trying to actually hurt people.
Now get out there and start massacring people! (Please don't actually massacre anyone.)