Alien Mercenary Halloween Costume
This is a concept that I sketched out just 2 days before Halloween, and somehow managed to pull it all together around my work schedule. I didn't want to spend much money, so my ideas were limited to mostly supplies I had in my closet or garage. It was also my first time working with liquid latex/prosthetics, so at least throw me a bone for that!
Things you need:
Black knee-high boots
Shrug or short jacket
Belt to hang accessories from (mine has pouches)
12 feet corrugated wire cover, any color.
12 feet aquarium tubing, any thickness.
8 plastic caps/plugs to plug ends of aquarium tubing
4 1.25x6"+ flat metal brackets or sheetmetal
8 5/16" bolts and nuts
1 old black tshirt or scrap fabric
scrap leather strips (optional)
Random jewelry/craft findings for corset (jumprings, charms, wire)
Spray paint in 3–4 colors (I used silver, white, copper and black)
12oz or more Fake blood
Glow in the dark craft paint
8 oz or more oil
3 catheter bags w/ tubing (preferably new)
Sewing needle and upholstery thread
4oz liquid latex
8 prosthetic horn pieces in various sizes
Pointed prosthetic ears
Tissues (for stuffing horns and ears)
1/2 ounce spirit gum
White face paint
Blue face paint
Gold face paint
I bought the black zippered front catsuit and corset from ebay, the belt came from a costume shop in town and the boots came from cryoflesh.com.
The reason I went this route is time. I didn't have much of it, and the more covered and glossy my body looked, the more attention I could spend on other details.
I knew I wanted to add things to my torso, but I didn't trust the catsuit to not rip if cut, etc. A cheap, thin $10 costume corset will work just fine.
The belt is needed to hang my accessories from, but the only purpose the pouch had was to hold a small bottle of paint and spirit gum for touch ups throughout the night. Pouches are optional.
I measured from my shoulder, across my back and around my waist, cutting the tubes into in 3 foot sections. I will put copper paint splatter on the corrugated covers, but I wanted to put fluid in the aquarium tubing and catheter bags, so I had to seal off my ends.
I bought the catheter bags from a medical supply online- probably $5 for three. They come with the tips pre-lubed, so you'll have to wipe all that off before putting the adhesive in the tube.
I poured my fake blood and oil into the tops of the bags before gluing it shut. There's no need to mix the fake blood with the oil- it's supposed to separate and look gross. The oil isn't really needed, but I thought it looked better this way.
Before you go crazy and fill the bags to the top, think about how much all of that liquid will weigh as it hangs from your hip all night. Less is better!
I found glow in the dark craft glue, which I mixed with equal parts water since my aquarium tubing is thin. I used an old marinade syringe to inject the fluid into the tube. I had to prop these up on the counter until the glue dried in the plugs.
(I intended to use the blood in the aquarium tubing, but I have a hard time walking away from the words 'glow in the dark'.)
Once the catheter bags are dry, you can just slip them onto the belt because they come with pre-cut slits for hanging.
Painting the Accessories
To expedite this process, I had to bust out the airbrush stencils previously purchased from dickblick.com but I used spray paint that I already had in the garage. If you have more time, I highly recommend setting up the airbrush equipment and taking your time on this step. (I would have preferred to airbrush it according to how it fit on my body, but with no extra hands or large mirror.... well.. I am just not that talented. I didn't want to try Cirque du Soliel'ing my way into a visit to the chiropractor while clutching aerosol.)
I laid my things out adjacent to each other and did a few sloppy passes over everything with the copper paint. I had a patterned gear stencil around 6"x10" that I laid across various areas, spraying a mist of white and silver paint. I didn't want the pattern to show well, so I really do mean MIST. (This, of course, means the paint particles fly around- clear the area around you unless you don't mind paint drops.)
While the stencil was wet with white paint, I laid it wet-side-down on the bottom edges of the boot platform. I set that stencil aside and grabbed one of my texture stencils, going over all the fabric with copper paint. I used the wet side of this stencil as a stamp in random spots throughout the calf area of the boot. I went back over everything with just a little bit of black and more copper to dirty the look of the crisper white edges.
I didn't directly paint the corrugated cover (that black hose in the picture) with stencils but I kept it close enough to catch bits of whatever color paint I was spraying, then doing a pass on one side with copper.
Now for those bracket type things I picked up from the roofing section- I had to roll up the ends because I liked that look better than flat. I didn't use any texture stencils on it- I just sprayed the copper and silver paints at close range, letting them overlap and react to each other. No need to paint the backside.
Sewing the Accessories
The black fabric or old shirt is simple- I cut the shirt in half, horizontally. I kept the hem intact, but cut 1/2" strips up to the hem. I folded the hem part in half because this is more or less a loincloth type addition. It doesn't wrap entirely around my waist. No fancy sewing is needed- just a few crude stitches to ensure it maintains its shape. I cut the strips into a V shape, then stretched them out a little to give the fabric that twisted, distorted look. I ended up safety pinning this to the inside of the corset. I couldn't sew it on because the corset hooks in the front.
The corset detailing takes awhile, but I received a lot of compliments on it. I bought a pack of die cut gears from the craft store, along with some jump rings. Both were maybe $6 after tax. I happened to have a bag of silver bead caps and the cameo in my craft bin, so I threw those in there. Open a few jump rings and start haphazardly piecing the findings together. Once I finished that, I positioned it on my corset and did basting stitches by hand around every other finding.
I had a strip of tan leather-type material that I sewn to the front in a zigzag pattern for no reason. Nice for contrast, but at the time, I did it for no reason.
I made a small incision in the corset fabric, pushing a screw through to bolt on the bracket. The hoses were simply slid underneath and flattened as I tightened the bolts. Repeat for the second corset bracket, back of the olive green shrug and front of the suit.
(I spray painted my horns white, adding copper spray paint to the tips the night before. I did not buy them this way. It was not necessary since I had to repaint them once applied.)
I ripped the bald cap before I even got started. Maybe it was just old, but it snapped the first time I stretched it out. I had to improvise with the pieces and spirit gum, which thankfully worked.
I didn't take a picture of the horns from underneath to show, but I just stuffed them stiff with clumps of tissue so that they stayed erect without adding weight. I didn't have anyone helping me, so I had to apply glue to the horns with one hand while using a compact mirror with the other to see what I was doing in the bathroom mirror behind me. Once two looked more or less bilateral, I pressed the edges down firm against the bald cap and trimmed my next set of horns. Repeat until all horns are done.
While giving the spirit gum time to set/dry, I started drizzling liquid latex onto my nose and cheeks. I continued this down my neck and worked my way up to the prosthetic edges.
While waiting for my first layer to dry slightly, I painted liquid latex in thin 2"x4" strips on top of my metal makeup case. I applied a second layer of liquid latex to my face, but this time also the edges of the prosthetic horns on top of my head to hide the overlap.
By this time, the 2"x4" strips I made were mostly dry- carefully roll one corner up and lift from underneath using your palm. Be sure it doesn't curl back and touch itself! Unpowdered liquid latex is a bigger nightmare than trying to saran wrap holiday leftovers by yourself! I put a patch on the back of my neck halfway over the cap to hide cap edge, and some along my hairline to hide the prosthetic edges. I painted another layer of liquid latex over everything.
This took awhile to dry, but once it did I used a sponge applicator to blot on Mehron white face paint. I practiced moving my head around to see if I had any thin areas of latex or if I missed any spots with the white. I applied more to my neck and moved on to sponging on the blue Mehron paint. For this, I just followed my cheek bones and accented the deepest areas of the horns, but covering my neck and shadowing the back of my head. It was a crude paint job because the latex had already taken several hours.
Removing the Face
I did not use any type of remover. I did not do anything to my face to prep for what was to come. I just ripped away the bottom part of my jaw & neck, then stretched the largest portion of the mask over my face so that I might be able to salvage it for another project in the near future.
I was careful to keep the spirit gum away from my eyebrows, but the broken bald cap pushed some spirit gum into the hairline of my neck. I stood under the hot water in the shower and worked the spirit gum residue out with conditioner, so I do not have any weird bald spots.
Bonus: tearing all that latex from my face made my skin look fabulous- I woke up the next day with the smoothest skin like I had used an industrial strength pore strip! Huzzah!