August 27, 2011

Cheap Halloween Costumes: Beetlejuice

This is pretty old news, but Harry Badface alerted me to an article about an Etsy site charging $500 for a Adam and Barbara Maitland Halloween costume, so I felt I should post something in case anyone else wants to do something for less money.

Halloween is big deal for the RoBeastress and I, and in 2009, we decided to do our first couples' costume. Our choice was a bit ambitious and we knew there wasn't going to be an off-the-rack version of the couple from Beetlejuice, so we had no choice but to take the Do-It-Yourself route. DIY Halloween costumes are exciting and inexpensive, and the results are usually extra satisfying. There's also lots of preparation and trial and error involved, so it helps to have lots of patience. The RoBeastress and I are not patient, but fortunately, she's a certified genius and I'm an aesthetic wacko. Let's see what I can remember.

The front of the Adam face took shape with two cheap masquerade masks.
The top was a baseball/hockey cap with the brim cut off. 
A glove stuffed with newspaper through the hole in the hat made up the back and then the whole thing was taped up. Man, I was fat in 2009.

While the final shape of the RoBeastress' mask looked a lot more complicated than mine, it was actually a lot easier to accomplish. (Certainly a lot easier than trying to post fucking pictures in Blogger and add captions to them without screwing up your entire layout.)
She basically made a large oval with newspaper and papier mached it. After it dried, she cut it in half, emptied out the newspaper, then reinforced the shell with more papier mache. She discovered that technique from this guy's awesome YouTubes.
Here's the two halves of the hollow egg shell linked with some cardboard, pre-papier mache.

My first papier mache experiment was not as successful. I tried using ripped bedsheets with the glue mixture because I wanted to achieve a more fleshy texture. It instead came out super wrinkly:

I ended up peeling it all off and started over with the more traditional newspaper technique. Results were much smoother:

While I was busy having my wrinkly crisis, the RoBeastress made her giant tongue (tape and coat hanger wire)....
...and baked some teeth (Fimo modeling clay shaped into tiny squares and made tooth-like with a Phillips' head screwdriver).
Here are the finished faces after being painted, glued, and eyballed (those were like a quarter a piece):

We got some of that one-way Ninja black cloth to fill in the holes where you could see our skin. The RoBeastress donned additional black face paint in case of flash photography, and I shaved off my beard because Alec Baldwin didn't have an awesome beard in the movie. The RoBeastress and Geena Davis share the curly hair gene, so there was no work needed there.

Here are a couple full body shots (no black face paint on the 2nd one):

We ended up winning the costume contest at the bar and the prize was more than we paid for materials to make it. So let that be a lesson to you--get out there and DIYFS.


Jaylynn said...

I love the costumes! How did get attach the Barbara mask so it didn't fall off? Thanks.

Ro-Beast Rollie said...

Sorry for never responding to this! There is a tiny elastic head strap we attached to the side of the mask. It was easily hidden under her hair.