So, this year my 9 year-old, @hurricaneholdy, wanted to be Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th for Halloween. Not such an easy task as there have been multiple sequels and a remake so choosing a single look could be daunting. Each of these movies has a different take on this now legendary character. We specifically picked F13 Part VII as this was the most difficult look because of the beating he'd taken up to this point in the series. He'd been underwater, in the ground, and on fire. His bones are exposed and his hockey mask busted. We thought this would give us the best chance to focus on those really cool details that make this the best looking and most recognizable version of this iconic splatter legend.
What we used:
Kid-sized Mannequin - not necessary but a HUGE help. They can be bought from eBay for less than you think.
A Bucket of Liquid Latex - I suggest black (you will see why in a few steps)
A Roll of Toilet Paper - No, this isn't a joke
A Roll of Paper Towels - I suggest anything without a frilly pattern
3 or 4 Cardboard Coat Hangars - we just need the cardboard tubes
Disposable Foam Brushes
Acrylic Paint - Brown, Red, Black, Yellow, White
Spray Paint - Brown, Black, Yellow, White, and Spray Gloss
Metal Clippers or Cutting Tool For Plastic
An Empty Bucket
Airbrush (optional but suggested)
Velcro and/or Zippers
Halloween Hockey Mask
Halloween Plastic Chain
Cheap Skull Mask
Goodwill Shirt and Pants
Goodwill Children's Halloween costume
Most will take for granted the time it takes to make a costume like this and just pass it off as store bought or simply won't look into the detail work. This is why we are posting here! We know YOU do! :) Not only that, this costume is doable for almost anyone as the techniques here are not that complicated and all of the supplies are readily available. If anyone tries this or is inspired to make your own creation, I'd love to see what you come up with! Additionally, we made this for a kid but there is no reason that you couldn't make an adult sized costume. The concepts are the same. Anyway, here it goes... Ki, Ki, Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma... (yes, that's how the theme actually goes - look it up)
Step 1: Making the Cowl
The first thing we did was buy the supplies for the cowl. We decided we would not make molds for this costume. Rather, we would freehand sculpt the pieces with latex soaked tissue paper, polyester batting, and paper towels.
Yes, that's right, we raided the bathroom pantry for the materials for this costume and it's mostly toilet paper and latex. If you have never worked with this medium, I suggest you give it a try. It's a little sticky but it is very forgiving and once you get the hang of it, you can do a lot of very presentable work with it.
Since Jason wears a hockey mask, we decided to leave the face open. There was little reason to sculpt something that would not be seen and it allows for better ventilation and visibility from inside the mask. Trust me, a 9 year old will only put up with so much. LOL.
To get started, we took a head form that was a little larger than my son's head and painted on a layer or two of liquid latex with foam brushes we got at harbor freight. Once that dried, we put on another thick latex coat and pressed the toilet paper onto the wet latex. We tore the edges of the toilet paper as we went as to make them uneven. Sharp corners can stand out but irregular shapes blend in very well.
Step 2: It's All in the Details
We then took the polyester pillow stuffing and dipped it into the latex. We used this to create larger forms on the head piece. It was great for shaping muscles and anatomical features like cheekbones and the jawline. We added some cuts and scrapes and the indentations for the hockey mask straps as Jason's skin has gotten soft over the years and those straps chaff a bit. Once the poly fill was laid out, we covered it with a layer or two of latex soaked toilet paper and paper towel, making sure to tear the edges so they would blend into one another.
Step 3: Getting Cheeky
Going for the Jason look from Friday the 13th part VII, we took an old, cheap skull mask and cut out a section of teeth from the cheek area and latex-ed it into place. we built up the anatomy around it to make it feel recessed and surrounded by torn flesh. I will admit that Jason from part VII did not have ears but it just didn't seem right not to sculpt some in toilet paper and latex to complete the look.
Step 4: Taking It Off!
After allowing the cowl to dry COMPLETELY in the sun for a few hours, it was time to take it off of the stand. To remove the cowl, we powdered the head with baby powder to prevent it from sticking to itself. This is VERY IMPORTANT or you could find your creation stuck to itself with no possible way to fix it. I then peeled up as much of the cowl as I could, lightly separating it from the wig stand. I took a pair of scissors and cut a slit up the back so I could remove it. It came off with little effort. We powdered the inside to prevent any sticking.
Step 5: Ch-Ch-Changes
Sometimes when you build something like this by the seat of your pants you wish that you had done it differently. In this case, I had wished I has made the cowl from black latex instead of the regular. Luckily, I has some in the garage so we just added a layer of paper towel and black latex to the whole creation. This not only added a layer of strength to the cowl, but made the whole mask black which would help when painting in later steps. The black latex in those hard to reach areas makes painting easier.
Step 6: Back Off... Er, On
So, next was the back piece. The Jason from F13 Part VII has an exposed spine and ribs. So, we took a mannequin and painted a layer of black latex on it's back. Once dry, we repeated the same steps with the toilet paper and latex as with the cowl.
For the spinal column, we used a piece of insulating foam for the underlying structure. We will build the vertebrae details with toilet paper later. For the ribs, we took the cardboard from coat hangars and flattened them. We bent them into curves and cut them to size. All of this was latex-ed down and all ends covered to prevent them from popping up later.
We then took the poly fill and created shoulder blades and surrounding skin and muscle. The outer edges were covered with toilet paper soaked in latex to create the ragged torn flesh.
I then took the latex that had built up and dried in the buckets and glued it around to create the look of rotted and torn muscle. Never throw that stuff away. It looks like rotten muscle and tendons! There's a video in a few steps that explains this in more detail!
Step 7: Give Chest Piece a Chance
So, just like the back, the chest shows through Jason's ripped clothing in part VII. The process here was exactly the same as the back in terms of materials and technique. Now that these pieces are done it's time to attach them too something.
Step 8: Let's Give Him a Hand... or Two!
Next we needed to make hands. Obviously the best way to do this is to attach the "skin" to a store-bought glove so that you aren't also tasked with making them. A local Halloween store had a pair of skeleton gloves in the back they sold us for $2.00! Not only were they cheap, they already had bones! Score!!
The process here was the same in regard to materials and technique. Once they dried, I tore a few more holes over the "bones" as I wanted then to show through the rotted flesh.
Step 9: Gluing It All Together
So, now what? I have a cowl, hands, chest, and back how do you wear that? My son and I went to the local Goodwill and bought old kid's Halloween costume. it was a basic onesie with velcro in the back with a skeleton design stenciled on it.
We put the kids Halloween costume on the mannequin and began painting it with latex. We left the areas that would be covered by clothing alone so he would not get so hot. We decided to attach the gloves to the suit so there would be no seam at the wrists. Using the same techniques, we created exposed wounds and knees. For obvious reasons, the cowl remains separate.
Once everything dried, I powdered the rubber and then carefully peeled the suit away from the mannequin where the latex had soaked through. Once he was pretty loose, I took some scissors and cut slits from the side of the neck to the top of the arms making a HUGE neck hole so I could free the mannequin from the suit.
Step 10: Clothes Make the Man
We then took the Goodwill clothes and put them over the under suit so we could determine where to cut the holes. Once determined, we made the cuts and ran the clothes in the washer and dryer. This further frays the edges so they don't look freshly cut. Jason has spent some time on fire, under water, and in the ground, after all!
The top was the wrong color and both the top and pants needed weathering, so we mixed up some green and black paint in a bucket and dipped the clothing in it. Once dried, I realized that they should be a bit bluer so we dipped them again.
Production stills weren't much help determining the color of his clothing. It was greenish/blue/brown but in the end hard to nail down because of lighting and the fact that he was wet in many scenes. I think we are probably in the ballpark.
Step 11: Color Me Deadly
I will let the pics do the talking here as I just fire up the airbrush and go for broke. I'll be honest, I'm not great with an airbrush and the one I have from Harbor Freight is terrible. LOL. The most important thing is to take your time. This is about subtle shading and highlighting.
I had my son paint the large skin areas with a foam brush making sure not to fill too many of the cracks. This is where the black latex comes in handy. We now don't have to paint in all of the black areas! I used browns, reds, and yellows with my airbrush. Once painted, I follow up with some spray clear for that glossy look.
Then, I added some zippers to close the two slits I had made to take the suit off of the mannequin. Take a look at the video to see how it's all coming together.
Step 12: Jason Is Nothing Without His Mask.
So, I took a leap of faith and ordered a CHEAP hockey mask off of eBay that I had seen advertised on the internet as "FREE, just pay shipping!" As with anything it seemed too good to be true so I found the same masks on eBay and paid $5.00 (with free shipping) for one. Yes, $5.00!!!!! When it showed up, I was AMAZED at how good it was. The paint job was not great (see first pic) and not sequel specific, but my plan was to repaint it all along. The straps were good, the snaps were great and the look was very specifically Jason-like. There's something in the shape and placement of the eyeholes that makes Jason... well, Jason. I digress.
Needless to say, I was VERY pleased. So, I went to the internet to get reference pics of the VERY specific damage and paint scheme of the Part VII mask.
Following the internet pics, I took a pair of metal shears and cut away sections of the mask. Jason has an ax wound from Part III in his forehead and a huge chunk on his left cheek is gone, exposing the tear in his cheek.
Then, I took the mask into the backyard and spray painted it with layers of white, yellow, brown, and black. Take your time and layer your colors. The base should be white with a VERY LIGHT yellow coat. Think of it as tinting the white just so it looks aged. Once satisfied,w ith your base color, use the black and brown to lightly weather the mask. Think about how a mask like this would get dirty. The edges land low areas would hold the most, while the high areas like the nose and brow would be cleaner. If you screw up, you can always go back to your base color and start over. I did. :)
Then, I hand painted the triangle on the forehead in dark red (as it appears in the movie) and followed up with a clear coat. Once dry, I took a little brown and dirtied it up a bit more and took away a bit of the shine. Time to put it all together!
Step 13: I Love It When a Plan Comes Together
Here's Jason on the mannequin ready for his big night. Just add a chain around his neck and a 9 year-old and I'd say we've got a pretty convincing Jason - even if he is under 5 feet tall. :) Let me know what you think!
Step 14: GO SCARE THE NEIGHBORS!
Ki, Ki, Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma!