Halloween is almost here, which means access to free candy, parties, and more candy—if you have a costume. Maybe you can’t think of one. Maybe you resent being told that you need one. Either way, it’s the one day of the year where you’re not encouraged to “be yourself,” because everybody always rolls their eyes when you try and pull that. Luckily, the Rookie staff has shared some of their most creative costume ideas to inspire you should you want to be edible, adorable, dangerous, or just plain dead come October 31.


By Leeann

This is me dressed up as Kuchisake-onna, aka the Slit-Mouthed Woman, a Japanese urban legend the gist of which is that a beautiful woman wearing a surgical mask approaches children on playgrounds and asks, “Am I beautiful?” If the child says yes, the woman rips off her mask, revealing her HORRIBLY MUTILATED face and says, “Am I beautiful NOW?!” She then produces a gigantic pair of scissors and proceeds to, um, cut up the poor moppet’s face, Joker-style. PRETTY AWESOME, RIGHT?!

I’m proud to say I did this makeup myself with no prior experience beyond watching Dawn of the Dead a million times, so I promise you don’t have to be some sort of special-effects genius to do this. You will need the following products, which I bought at a Halloween costume shop:

  • White cake makeup. I used Mehron StarBlend in Moonlight White, but any thick white makeup will work.
  • Liquid latex to create the wounds. Ben Nye’s is good—buy the smallest bottle, you won’t need much.
  • Bruise makeup. I love Ben Nye’s Master Bruise Wheel for the perfectly gross colors, and also the name. But you can get the same effect with cheapie zombie-makeup kits at CVS, or with lipstick you already own. The most important colors are deep red and purple.
  • Fake blood. Ben Nye’s Stage Blood is cheap, realistic, and comes in zesty mint flavor!
  • Black eyeliner—perfect for simulating dried, crusty blood (who knew?).
  • Stipple sponge. This is for the makeup application. You can make your own by snipping a bunch of little holes into a regular makeup sponge.
  • A toothpick

1. Make the wound. Paint a thin layer of liquid latex on either side of your mouth—this will be your scary smile, so make it big!

2. When the latex is mostly dry, take a toothpick and gently drag it through the middle of the latex to expose your real skin underneath. Then roll the inner edges of the latex back to make it look like it’s gaping (ewww):

3. OK, here’s the fun part: dressing the wound! Using black eyeliner, color the inner edges of the wound, where the blood is oldest. This will give your wound DEPTH and DIMENSION, like a beautiful sunset.

4. Using your stipple sponge, lightly dab your dark red (or purple) bruise makeup (or lipstick). Then DAB (don’t smear) the color on the outside of the wound—apply more color near the center, and less as you move toward your real skin. This should look REALLY CREEPY at this point:

5. Dip a toothpick into the fake blood, and apply it to the inner part of the wound. Don’t use too much, or the blood will trickle down your face all night in a realistic, but sticky and unpleasant, stream.

6. Use the stipple sponge to apply some sickly green or yellow to the outer edge of the wound for that “been walking around with this grievous flesh wound for a week now” look:

7. Use the cake makeup to paint your face and neck, and apply dark eye shadow under your eyes for that undead pallor. Grab a pair of big, old-timey shears (try to get the all-metal kind, because plastic isn’t terrifying), find a surgical mask somewhere, throw on a trench coat, and go give people nightmares. AM I BEAUTIFUL NOW?