Projects: Vampire Costume

In all the years since I started haunting - in that I mean decorating the yard with ever increasingly elaborate displays - getting into costume has always been a very rushed and last minite sort of thing. Gone are the days of spending 3 hours appling prosthetics and makeup! Now I am lucky if I have time to darken around my eyes, pull on a mask and costume befor ethe kids start arriving.

I had been interested in the new type of high quality silicone masks being produced and when I saw an outstanding vampire mask from Real Flesh Masks out of Montreal. An order was quickly placed and I anxiously awaited its arrival. When it came I was blown away by its realism! I had asked for it to be custom painted with fake permanent blood stains running down from the mouth (again so I wouldn't have to take time to apply) and it did look quite gruesome!

Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full-size image in a pop-up window.

To complete the costume I ordered a ruffled renaissance/pirate/vampire type shirt from a craftsperson on the etsy website - thewitchesspindle. Great quality. Pity I'm going to trash it with lots of stains, dirt and blood! It came in pure white but I was able to distress it using a wire brush, woodworking rasp, razor blades and lots and lots of elbow grease! I then aged it using a tea staining technique I found online. This made the shirt turn a light beige or tan colour - very old and tattered looking. Plus PermaBlood of course!



The first year I wore it for Halloween in 2014 the costume was a huge hit. People didn't know what to make of me and couldn't figure out if it was a mask or not. I got a ton of scares and quite a few screams from sneaking up on people.

The following year, thinking to up the scare factor quite a bit, I placed an order for the Pale Fiend Silicone Gloves from CFX Masks but the skin colour of the mask now wasn't the right shade to match the gloves. I had heard that Johnny Cox, of The Basement FX masks, did amazing work with re-paints. After contacting him I sent my mask out in the mail to California - quite the nerve-racking experience for someone who doesn't trust the post office not to lose our Xmas cards let alone a very expensive mask!!

It finally arrived and then it was up to Johnny to work his magic. Here you can see the incredible result!! Just AWESOME!! I'm blown away by the change in the mask! Not only will the skin tones match the gloves but the pale colour shows the blood so much more and will really stand out at night in the haunt. The subtle veins and shading really brings out the details of the sculpt. And the BLOOD! WOW! So much more realistic! Johnny worked with what was there but added not just more but depth and colour to really make it stand out! Again, WOW!! I really can't recommend his work enough.

I was so thrilled with the new additions and modifications and I couldn't wait to try it all on for the first time. I got to make its debut at Midwest Haunters Convention Masquerade Ball in 2015 and it was very well recieved. Halloween itself with the new and improved vampire costume was a blast. I got a great reaction with many, many people wanting to take photos with me along with more than a few kids run screaming from me!



Fake News Reports for Building a Backstory

I've had a backstory for the entire haunt for several years now but nothing written down, just in my head. It does help though with controlling prop purchases and tying the haunt together as a whole rather than random, separate scenes. When it came time to feature my new vampire character I thought to do up a bit of a viral marketing campaign to introduce him.

I used a PowerPoint template I downloaded to create a newspaper clipping and wrote the copy myself. The photo is an actual skeleton discovered in Poland earlier this year that showed signs of a ritual vampire burial. I only photoshopped in the fangs. I then followed up with another fake missing person report. I posted both to Facebook. It was then fun watching the reaction. Several people asked whether they are real or not or others have disputed them by doing research online to try and come up with more info on the story!

VAMPIRE REMAINS UNCOVERED?

Archaeologists in Ontario have uncovered what appears to be the buried remains of what some believe to be a vampire. The grave was unearthed by researchers from Miskatonic University during excavations on land adjacent to the historic Blackstone Estate, the ArchaeologyNews.info website reported.

Dated to the 16th-17th century, the skull had been smashed in by a blunt force trauma, possibly at the time of death, but the teeth were still intact and showed 2 elongated incisors in addition to a stone stuck into the mouth - all evidence that the subject was believed to be a vampire. Scientists downplayed this possibility saying that such vampire-slaying rituals were not unheard of at that time especially if the unfortunate victim was born with an abnormality.

Efforts to study the skeleton further however were hampered by reports that the subject had vanished overnight. Although University officials refused to comment further, an unnamed source however confirmed that the skeleton was indeed no longer at the site and all efforts to locate it or the present day grave-robbers had failed. Suspicion is directed towards one of the young grad students working on the grave who also appears to have run off in the night. Friends say she was last seen in the area of the dig but has not been seen since. Police will continue to search for her and the skeleton.

Here's the next in the series of the viral news reports I did. (BTW her name, Virginia Natara, means virgin sacrifice - nice touch I thought!) The image I just found through Google image search.

STUDENT STILL MISSING

Police are asking the public for help in locating 23-year old Virginia Natara. Virginia is a student at Miskatonic University who dissappeared under mysterious circumstances while working on an archaeological excavation near the Blackstone Estate last week. She is Caucasian, five-foot-six, weighs 105 pounds with light brown shoulder length hair. She is also wanted for questioning in relation to the missing "vampire" skeleton which was stolen from the dig site the same night as Virginia dissapeared. Anyone with any information is asked to contact their local police station.

Later on I continued the story with more missing people reports as the vampire took more victims and finally revealed him in a blurred cel phone shot along with a police report. I'm not sure how many, if any, visitors to the haunt had seen the reports or recognized the character from the stories but it was a fun way to gear up to the Halloween season and build excitement over the summer months.

Here's the latest posting to continue to expand on the storyline...

MODERN MUMMY MYSTIFIES POLICE!

Police were called to a abandoned rural farmhouse this week when a dead body was discovered within the decrepit shell of a building by local youths.

Although police and other authorities refused to comment one of the youths described the corpse as being very similar to an ancient Egyptian mummy. "It was all dry and shrivelled up. Sort of like all the blood and stuff had been sucked right out of him. Just like the mummies we saw at the museum last month on a school trip. You know what I mean? This guy though was wearing regular clothes, not no egypt type threads. Weird, eh?" said Todd Jones.

Vagrants are know to frequent this location, situated as it is on an out of the way section of the Blackstone Estate, but no missing person reports have been filed since the disappearance of archaeology student Virginia Natara some weeks back who has still not been found.

Here is the final Police report with images taken from the victim's cel phone...

MASKED KILLER STALKING OUR STREETS?

In another puzzling and disturbing development in the series of recent unsolved murders, a number of cel phone images have been released by the police in the hopes of identifying the elusive suspect. The cel phone was discovered at the crime scene of the most recent victim. Her name is being withheld pending notification of her next of kin however sources say she was known to police and involved in the sex trade.

The images taken from her phone are dark and somewhat blurred however they show the suspected killer, taken at close range by the victim, in what can only be assumed to be an elaborate disguise or mask. Warning: the images are disturbing as it shows the killer covered in the victims' blood. In fact it appears he was drinking it in some sort of bizarre ritual or fetish making his apprehension all the more urgent.

Police are hoping that a member of the public with information or knowledge of this individual will come forward and bring him to justice. The also urge anyone who sees the suspect to call police immediately and not to approach him as he is considered extremely dangerous.