I’m currently constructing a complete and pretty elaborated Halloween costume.
I decided to separate the costume, the deco’s and props into 3 dedicated Instructables.
- Death Doctor of Plague
- Bone windshine
- Circular saw windshine
- Small gasmask
- Book in chains
- Bag ‘o eyeballs
- Medieval lantern
- Twig Voodoo doll
- Walking staff (with skull)
- Poison sling
- Torn hooded cloak (with cape connector)
- Rope belt with noose
- Chickenfeet/ crowsfeet necklace
All these deco’s have a dark of evil tone to them and would be a perfect add to any dark-themed party!
Step 1: Bone Windshine
Cleaning your skull, bones and teeth
If you, like me, went on a (morbid) scavenger-hunt for the bones you have some cleaning up to do. I used a very weak hydrogen peroxide solution to clean and whiten my (already pretty clean) skull and bones.
$1.50,- and straight out of the bottle (3%) I submerged the bones for about 15 – 24 hours.
Now with a scrubby pad and a dishwashing bristle I simply brush all leftover goo off.
If your bones are dirtier (or fresher) as mine, you might have a couple of additional steps. Check out here (momgoescamping) on how to!
Hanging anywhere; your ‘typical’ windshine, just a darker tone to it! By drilling small holes through one side of the bones you’re able to pass a thin rope through (or just tie it around the thicker part tightly). 5 bones with a wooden ball on the inside will create a wonderfully dark-toned prop!
- 7 bones
- Electric drill with small drillbit
- Jute twine
- Garbagebag twisters
- Goat or cow molar
- Random piece of wood
- Small bronze skull-bead (or a small real skull)
- Couple of snail shells
I started off by tying a loop in a 60cm piece of jute twine. The loop-part is about 15cm till the knot, and below is a single strand hanging about 30cm long. Over the loopy part you can simply scoot on your mauled piece of wood, 2 bones (with a hole drilled in the middle) and the small bronze skull bead.
10 to 15cm (depending on the length of your bones) below the loopy part is a wooden ball on the string held in place by a simple knot below it.
As a ‘finishing’ detail I took a big goat-molar, drilled a small hole in it (note that it did partially break, don’t put on too much pressure when drilling teeth!), passed the twine through, folded it onto itself and wrapped it with a garbagebag-twister.
The bones are on a separate piece of jute twine. If you lift the piece of wood a little, you have a small hole in between the jute twines where you can tie off one end of the twine. Now stick the bones to the twine and divide them a little on both sides
When the last bone is on the twine you can tie it off inside the small hole. Take another piece of twine and crudely and with no pattern tie off a couple knots and pass it through the top-side randomly. This will keep the bones in place, you can separate and secure them with this extra twine and intentionally create a disorderly look.
As a last minute add-on I decided to take a couple seasnail shells and connect them with garbagebag twisters in the same loop we tied everything else into! More ‘plingy’ noises!
If you want this to make more noise as mine is doing, you will have to spread the bones out a little more, so there hanging separate and loosely. The wooden ball should be around the middle, not at the bottom.
Step 2: Circular Saw Windshine
The idea was a saw blade connected to the outfit with a bunch of molars loosely suspended on rope above/ against it to make a clingy sound with every step. Morbid, freaky, unusual… perfect!
I intended it to be used as a costume-prop, as a ribcage prop to be more precise… nice thought, bad idea… too heavy, too big and potentially dangerous!
So we’re doing this one as a deco-piece only!
- Circular saw blade
- Thin malleable (soft) cord or rope
- A bunch of teeth/ molars
- Rebar-wire or rope (1 about 80cm, 1 about 20cm)
- A twig or stick about 20cm long
I wanted to bend it about 45 to 60 degrees so it would fit my body posture better, but no go… I tried drilling holes into the sawblade, didn’t work at all (DUH)… these things are rock-solid!
So I had to come up with a different mounting way. With strong rebar-wire and a stick I’ll form a sort “W”-shape, wrapping the stick into place. The stick will act as a suspension-bar for the molars to hang off of.
You can also use rope instead of rebar-wire, as in the example (blue paracord for ease of viewing).
This would work best if hung on a door, so every time it gets moved the teeth/ molars swing out and back to make contact.
I added a voodoo-doll (an original from Thaiti!), which is being choked by a 100cm piece of rebar-wire. This would have looped around my chest keeping it somewhat in place! Now I only need a 20cm piece of rebar-wire to keep that doll in place!
This thing does a lot more ’clingy cling’ as I expected and is a lot more macabre as I imagined…
Step 3: Small Gasmask
I had the luxury of having a Styrofoam shape-holder inside one of my gasmasks. This is the perfect size and shape for a gasmask-prop. It doesn’t require much materials either;
- Face shaped object (half of a small football, cardboard shaping, papier mache etc.); to give the mask shape and stick stuff onto!
- Burlap sack; to cover the face-shape with and create the base of the mask
- 2 small black jarlids; will act as eyes
- Some 5x5mm wire mesh; for over the eyes (dramatic effect)
- Iron wire; for ‘stitching’ burlap together
- Small piece of ribbed hose; for the breathing tube
I choose a ‘nicely’ dirty part of the burlap and doubled up on it cause its really wide stitching and could “see through” it. I wrapped it around the Styrofoam shape and stuffed it in the back, sort of holding its shape. Now on the front I trace the places of where the eyes and the breathing-tube should be mounted.
The small jarlids for eyes get wrapped in 5mm mesh. If you look at the pictures you see I cut the mesh in a way I can poke the ends through the burlap and then bend them onto the burlap from the inside, like staples through paper! Also note I used 4 of those pokey thingy’s to bend around the jarlid keeping it in place!
Besides the pokey thingy’s I also filled the lid in with hot glue, really working it through the stitching into the jarlid.
When they solidified I pulled the topside of the eyes together, using a piece of wire, giving it a more angry look.
For the breathing tube I have the wiggly-thingy from a desklight. It has connection screws and such already so it was just a matter of poking the (very small) bolts through the burlap and securing it on the inside with the (very small) nuts!
Now we can stick the burlap to the face-shape. Starting off on one side I quickly noticed the hot-glue didn’t connect the Styrofoam and burlap well… out of sheer panic I grabbed a jar of pvc cement. Hoping it would stick to the Styrofoam and solidify throughout the burlap, suffice to say I drenched!
But it did work! Better as I would have thought. It didn’t remove any doubts tho, so I grabbed some rebar-wire and crudely wrapped the backside in, sticking it straight through stryrofoam, burlap, glue and all! I decided to leave the bottomside not tucked in, I like ‘the beard’ too much!
The breathing tube looks like its crudely stuck on there (which it is…), like its not part of the ‘mask’. So I drilled a couple of very small hole through the plastic cover and cross-stitched the plastic cover to the burlap. It creates a morbid look and fixates the breathing tube in the right place (a quick dap of contact adhesive on the inside of the plastic cover also does the trick).
I added small rings at the top and with a piece of iron wire made a loop for hanging.
You could put some facial accents on the mask using a marker like angry eyebrows, cheekbones etc.
Step 4: Book in Chains
I happen to have a perfectly themed, small book for this. It is called “The Good Book”, has golden features and is hollowed out to accommodate a flask. I would only do a booze-book if you're using this as a costume prop. You could do this without the booze and chain, just rope and a book would do!
- A (holy or medical) book
- About 1m thin chain or thick rope
- Couple pieces iron tie-wire
- (old) padlock (optional)
- Black spray paint
- Small bucket with dirt and gravel
In the picture I do an example-wrapping with rope, for viewing purposes! Connect the crossing parts with iron tie-wire when wrapping with chain to keep everything from slipping.
For a simple weathering method; spray the entire chain black, then throw it in a bucket with small stones/ gravel, give it a good shake, pad it off, et voila! (which i didn't do...)
You can micro-manage by scraping flakes off with a knife or take a bit of course sandpaper to it!
To ‘seal the deal’ you can hang a small, vintage padlock on the front. I only had the modern-looking ones so I passed on this option.
Step 5: Bag 'o Eyeballs
This is (in my case) a costume-prop, you should, however, place it as a porch-prop or somewhere around the house. But since I’ll have no access to pockets on my costume and still personal stuff to carry around I decided to give the costume a worn-down small pouch. It’ll also house some spare parts like batteries and spare lights for the glowing eyes, some jute twine, some garbagebag twisters, some tie-rips and maybe some contact adhesive (and my leatherman will be on my belt! preparation is half the game!).
It will also act as my “trophy-bag o eyeballs” to fit the costume.
- Some kind of small pouch
- Plastic eyeballs OR pingpongballs/ stryrofoam balls and sharpy’s (red, blue and black)
- Painters silicone chalk + chalkgun
- Red spraypaint
- Black paint (shoepolish in my case)
- Clear (transparent) nail polish
- Small brush
- Wooden BBQ-skewer
- Iron ring (mine is a lamp-makers-ring)
- Contact adhesive
I found a bag of ping-pong like eyeballs which lend themselves perfectly for this prop! But you could simply make these with colored markers (sharpys) on Styrofoam balls or ping-pong balls.
I tried to droop a lot of hot-glue on one of the eyes first… I was left with half an eyeball…
So painter chalk it is! A big drip on the backside which I spread out using a wooden BBQ-skewer. I didn’t particularly pay attention to anatomy, but most of the ‘tissue’ should be focused on the back.
By dipping in and pulling straight out you can create the thinner, stringy part.
I stuck them on skewers to let them dry overnight.
For a really good fake blood ‘ible, take a look HERE!
I tried 3 types of coloring; nailpolish, spraypaint and commercial fake blood spray.
The nailpolish worked really well, it dried very fast and it sticks good to the silicone. The color is a bit too bright straight out of the bottle tho. The brush makes for easy and precise ‘painting’.
The spraypaint is a bit messy and its hard to control in such tight spacing. You can see some spray on the plastic balls (which I don’t mind), and 2 eyeballs had drips running to the front. The color is very nice, still to monotone, but not that super-bright like the nailpolish.
The fake blood spray didn’t stick to the silicone at all, it intended for skin and clothes.
After adding some black accents to the nailpolish-one and the spraypaint-one, I decided that the spraypaint is the best fit. Note that colors look different in pictures…
After spraying and letting all the eyeballs dry I added some black accents to deepen the look. I used a small make-up brush and black shoepolish. I dipped the brush in the shoepolish, smear it over the high-contours of the painted silicone and the wipe it gently with a dry cloth to get the full black stains off, smearing them out. In the pictures the black is way more obvious as in real life!
To give the eyes a wet-look, I cover the whole thing in clear nail polish and let dry!
I’m using a crappy soviet gasmask bag. I don’t particularly like the green color, so I’ll have to grunge it up! I won’t really rip at this one since it will hold my valuables aswell. After throwing the bag in a bucket with (couple days old) black dye, the worst of the green has come off. Grunging it up will do the last bit into getting it somewhat color-complementary to the costume. I also used a lot of red in this step, housing my ‘trophy-eyeballs’, its “saturated with blood”.
I sew in a couple teeth instead of the buttons. A small hole in the canines and jute twine, a single loop knotted on the inside of the bag. Give the loop just a little room, so it will fit the button-loop.
I also sew in an iron ring, wrapped in some additional cloths, into the opening. I crudely wrap-stitched the entire ring with cloths into the opening with the biggest needle I could find! This will make it more like a dump-pouch and gives me sturdy ring for ease of access.
I stuffed the bag with a t-shirt and spread the eyeballs out on top. Prop it on a table, maybe put a kitchen-knife and fork on a small plate next to it!
Step 6: Medieval Lantern
During one of my scavenging-hunts I found a very weathered lantern. This would be an easy conversion to carry-on lightsource for on the staff (or around the house). I also had a pretty weathered oil lamp at home… but for my costume it would be a bit to modern, so I decided to make a “medieval-style” one.
For the candle I’m going for an electric flickering tealight-candle. I doubt I can bring actual open fire into a party! To give the appearance of a tall(er) candle, I cut a toiletroll at 7cm measured from the top. I cover the outside of the top 1.5cm with hot-glue and really let it droop over the edges. This makes it look like you have candlewax dripping along the sides.
About 2cm on the inside of the rim I glue in an edge for the electric flickering tealight-candle to stand on. I don’t glue it in, it stands on a solidified edge of hot-glue.
Now take some white spraypaint to it (not the electric flickering tealight-candle) and presto!
I grunge it up just a little to get the bright-white off it!
The lantern I made of 3 strips of thick bark (felled from a fallen tree), a tree-ring (diameter of your intended lantern), a piece of leather and a piece of cord. The whole thing is framed with rebar wire (iron coat hangers or thick electric wire would work to), making it more solid (the bark itself isn’t strong enough, I think).
I drill 6 small holes in the tree-ring, about 1.5cm in from the edge and fitting to where the edges of the bark are coming. I drill all the way through. Standing up in these bottom-ring-holes are 6 pieces (20cm) of rebar-wire. The bottom centimeter (below the tree-ring) is bent to keep it in place and the tops are connected to a ring (about 40cm of rebar wire). From the ring to the top I create a little roof using 2 pieces of rebar wire (2x about 40cm). This is where the leather will wrap around.
I cut out 3 strips of bark measuring about 7x15cm. the top and bottom need straight edges and the sides can be a more natural break-line (I punch a flat screwdriver through and then break the bark). By laying a piece up to your tree-ring you can mark off and drill through your tree-ring. When setting a piece of bark upright, I simply bend the tops of rebar-wire over the top of bark with the wire from the top ring in between. Squeeze these tight using a plier and dap some glue and let dry.
With a patch of black leather (45x13cm) and a piece of cord we’ll tackle a quick and easy roof. But first create a little roof using 2 pieces (about 40cm) of rebar-wire.
Bend one of the wires in the middle by looping it around a pen or such creating a little loop for hanging the lantern later. With a plier I twisted the wire/ loop making it stronger. Bend your second wire in the middle too and loop it around the twisted part of the other wire.
Shape it like a roof and set it onto the top ring of your lantern. Now you have 4 pieces of rebar-wire sticking out over the sides that need to be looped around the top ring, holding it in place
The top edge of the leather patch gets folded together, like an accordion, every couple of centimeters. With a leather working tool (no idea of the name) I poke through all layers, hook in a piece of jute twine and pull it through all the folded layers. The first and last hole are passed through twice with the cord, pulling them together. Scoot it over the wire frame creating a wrinkled, sloping roof.
Step 7: Twig Voodoo Doll
A super easy, but often overlooked decoration piece. Often seen in wooded horror movies, iconized by “The Blair witch project”.
The only things you’re going to need is a bunch of fairly straight thin twigs and some jute twine or other natural cordage (palm-tree fibers, willow-tree bark fibers etc.).
To add to detail I mixed in some bark-fibers with the twigs.
To emphasize a head you can bunch up some fine material.