Scaring kids. Freaking out your neighbors. Having your friends discuss if they need to have an intervention. The true joys of Halloween! I take pride in my costumes and really enjoy creating them and figuring out how best to achieve the desired looks. Below is an archive of past costumes worn by myself and Melanie, my ever-patient wife. Some are better than others. I like to think that I've gotten better over the years, but sometimes time and budget rear their ugly heads and influence the final outcome. Still, I'm pretty happy with our creations over the past years. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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My Costumes Melanie's Costumes

Zombie Nurse / Bubblehead Nurse Versions 1 & 2

(from Silent Hill )

Version 2.0

My original thoughts on this costume, written at the time of its first creation, are below, under version 1. For this version, I wanted to try something a little different. I really liked the total transformation aspect. It's a pain to do, but it was fun having people unsure about who/what I was. No one knew immediately who I was. And stalking people is much more fun when they're not sure who you are! But there were some improvements I wanted to try over the first version. For starters, I wanted to be able to see... And I wanted more blood. And much better boobs.... This version is definately more game oriented (SH 2). The ones in the game with face-obscuring hair had a gun, but that seemed boring. And not nearly creepy enough. So I made an old amputation saw from a keyhole saw, some styrene scraps and some civil war photos for reference. And lots of fake blood, of course. I also made the surgical mask as a way to hide my face and further disguise my guy-ness (and as a way to not have to shave my beard; the legs were enough, thank you...). Between the mask and the mussed hair in my face, it was hard to get a good look at me and made it that much more creepy. It worked really well and I had a great time lurching around the party. The boobs are upgraded from last time and are full-on latex breast forms. Just remember, when trying to appear female when you're not, clevage sells! In any case, they were quite popular. I'm still not sure if that's good or not? I'm going with not since I got felt up a LOT at the party... And for the record, this may well be the last time I shave my legs for a costume....

Version 1.0

This is sort of a combo of the nurses from the movie and the ones from the video game (SH2 mainly). Truthfully, I'm probably closer to the game version...

This costume was a LOT of fun to make and quite a challange. I really didn't want people to be able to guess who I was this year, so I decided that the Silent Hill nurse was perfect. Except that I'm not female. Or maybe it was perfect because I'm not female. Whatever the case, I had to create that illusion first, and then build the rest of the costume around it. I think it turned out really well. And creepy! I won't go into detail about tracking down size 12 Mary Janes for my feet or trying to find a size 16 dress to make major alterations to (I finally broke down and bought a sewing machine this year because I knew what this costume would entail). If you want details, email me, I'd be happy to tell you how I created this one!

I will mention the mask, though. I wanted something comfortable enough to wear for several hours without being too hot or heavy or just too painful. I also needed to be able to see well enough to get around (and stalk people ;-). I tracked down an old fencing mask (sword fencing, FYI) and used that as my base. It was the right shape and comfortable. I painted the steel mesh white so it would blend in underneath the gauze. I then wrapped it with medical gauze, taking care to only put one layer over my line-of-sight and to stretch it pretty good, too. I was able to see pretty well through the mesh and single layer of gauze. People weren't able to see in at all and the mesh was mostly invisible under the gauze due to it's woven pattern. I kept the gauze pretty loose at the bottom so it draped down and covered the seam where my breast prosthetic met my neck (a stuffed bra would have been ok, but actual cleavage is a lot more convincing ;-).

Incidentally, I love the pic below! Rhonda (in the red dress) has her hand up to shield me from her view. She was creeped out by the costume and didn't want to look at me. So of course I made it a point to stand right next to her as much as I could ;-)

Thanks to all the cosplayers who have done the nurse already and gave me inspiration and motivation. Special thanks to Leeser who created a version of this that I'm envious of. And she was quite generous in sharing how she did it. See her's here.

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Ash, Part II

(from Army of Darkness and Evil Dead II)

In 2006 we didn't have our party. Too much other stuff going on and we needed a break. But we did dress up and go to someone else's party! I decided to re-hash my Ash costume, since it is one of my favorites. I made a few refinements since the last time I wore this one. For starters, I picked up one of those cheapo plastic chainsaws that makes the 'chainsaw noise' that they sell at Halloween. I ripped it apart and removed the sound card and speaker, which I wired into my real chainsaw. I also wired in a button that I located on the interior grip so I could easily activate the sound anytime I wanted! I carried around the Special Edition DVD case, which is made to look like the Necronomicon. Looked good and was better than what I was willing to make ;-). I also added a Russian Officer's Map Pouch to my belt to put the Necronomican in. Having only one hand really makes you think about how to carry and access other props... Everything else was still good from last time. I will say that the makeup gets easier and quicker every time!

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The Ringmaster

Version 2.0 (2009)

Version 2.0 added gloves and claws. And better pictures....

Version 1.0 (2005)

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I loved this costume! It was just something I came up with and assembled from a variety of places. It was really quite scary in person, especially with those teeth! Some of Melanie's friends wouldn't even look at me when we were talking because the teeth creeped them out so badly. God, I LOVE that!!

The hat was from my old, old, old Mad Hatter costume (so old that it's not even on this site). The wig I got on eBay from Hong Kong. The teeth are from my friends at Dental Distortions (of course!). The antique ruffled shirt was from my vampire costume (again with the old). I got the bright gold tux vest on eBay ($10), as well as a real tux jacket with tails ($10 also). The pantaloons (man, I love that word!!), also called jodpurs, are from an East German officer's uniform and I got them from an Army Navy store in PA. Think about the puffy pants that a lion tamer would wear and you've got it exactly. This was the hardest part of the costume. Most jodpurs are for horseback riding and cost well over $100 ! Anyway, these were perfect!! I finished things off with my 4 inch platform boots from the Ring Wraith costume, which made me 6'8" without the hat! The makeup was just something I came up with and I thought suited the costume pretty well. Like the Ash costume, this is one I'm looking forward to wearing again!

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Ring Wraith

(a.k.a. Nazgul, a.k.a. Witch King, from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy)

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The Ring Wraith was an entertaining costume to wear because it is ominous and imposing. You don't get a good sense of scale from the photos, but I was about 7 1/2 feet tall! I'm 6'2" to start, and was wearing 4 inch platform boots. I had on a set of football shoulder pads to increase my width and raise my neck. I made a 'helmet' of sorts to wear under the hood to raise my head up high enough to be in proper scale with the rest of me. I chose the helmet-type design so my 'cloaked head' would move around naturally as I moved my real head (as opposed to a brace attached to the shoulder pads). My eyes are actually positioned about a third of the way up the hood. Most of what you see up there is empty space (no comments!!). I did drape a piece of sheer, black fabric in front of my face to help hide any sign of flesh. The cloak itself is a lightly modified version of a Simplicity pattern (I forget the number). Sharon (my father-in-law's significant other) did an amazing job of adjusting the pattern to fit the exaggerated proportions I needed. I wanted to use some type of roughish burlap-like material, but ended up going with what was on sale since I needed over 20 yards of material! So, the sale rack it was! I'm still quite pleased with the way it turned out and plan on fraying the edges and adding some additional distressed material if (when) I decide to revisit this costume.

The gloves are Icon TiMax motorcycle gloves that are covered with titanium armor and just look mean. I added some additional armor plates for effect. They aren't exactly like the ones from the movie, but they look really nasty and I didn't have to do that much to them. Plus, now that Halloween is over, I can wear them when I go riding!

The sword is a detailed replica of the one from the movies. Instead of paying $200 retail for it, I snagged a knock-off on eBay for $30, with scabbard! It is real metal and about 5 feet long! I did the aging and weathering myself to help it look more used and ancient. A formidable weapon!

Originally, I intended to make the spikey battle helmet worn by the Witch King Wraith in the final movie. Given all the other projects going on I decided not to go that far. The biggest problem with such a helmet (other than actually making it) is getting it to sit on my head correctly. Keep in mind that, for proper scale, I'm already looking out of the hood where the mouth would be. So I would have to brace the helmet up about 8-10 inches above my head. Easy with a cloak which weighs nothing, but another story with a helmet, even one made from very light materials. Plus, the helmet would have added another foot to my overall height, which means I couldn't have stood up indoors. In all, a big pain in the butt!

I would have to say, though, that my favorite part of the costume was what it allowed me to do. Since I was so tall and there wasn't any exposed flesh, it was easy to be mistaken for a prop... Yeah, you know where this is going! The night of our party, I stood in the front yard near the hanging and impaled corpses, close to the walkway. Standing very still, many visitors weren't sure if I was a prop ot not. So they'd come in for a closer look. Closer, closer... Nothing compliments quite like a scream that the folks inside the party can hear! ;-) *sigh* Good times!

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(from Army of Darkness and Evil Dead II)

This was a really fun costume to make and wear, and still my overall favorite. The chainsaw is real! I got it from a pawn shop for $10 (it didn't work). I ripped out the motor and guts and fabricated a handle that I could hold onto inside the chassis. I also cut away a section from the back so I could reach my hand inside. It looked AWESOME! I got the McFarlane action figure of Ash (seen in picture 2) and used that to configure the harness and shotgun holster. I used nylon web straps and d-rings and laid it out exactly like the movie. It is actually quite comfortable! The shotgun is an airsoft toy gun that I found from a seller in England (God bless eBay...). It looked pretty cheesy at first, but I disassembled it and refinished it. The final looked good enough to make some party goers nervous! The shirt is a Dickies work shirt that got shredded and dragged through the dirt before being covered in fake blood. It will stand up on its own. The wounds and dirt are just makeup. I made the S-Mart name tag in Illustrator, based on the logo in the movie. Yes, I need to get out more. The best way to describe this costume is "Groovy....".

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The Troll

(from under my house ;-)

The Troll was fun, but ended up being a lot more work than I thought. The prosthetics took longer than I expected, and blending them in with the makeup was harder than I anticipated. Still, I was pretty happy with the results. The forehead is a "Spike" vampire forehead from "Buffy", and the ears are pixie ears. The hair is a cheap "rasta-man" wig that I found at Target for $8. I de-braided the dreds and had a mess o' tangled hair; perfect for the troll. The shirt was a pirate shirt that got stained at a previous party. I ripped the collar and hems off to rough it up. I then soaked it in tea for a few days to stain it and give it that 'old and tired' look and finished it off with some rope for a belt. I also added the lower set of wolf teeth from Dental Distortions for the animal look. I was happy with the results and most of my friends didn't recognize me, which is a nice compliment (I guess ;-)

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(from X-Men)

Wolverine was a challenge simply because of the claws. The hair was easy; I didn't get a hair cut from August on, knowing I'd need a lot of hair to pull off Wolvie's funky 'do. Jeans, leather coat and tank top were no sweat. I even had a Canadian military equipment supplier make me a set of Canadian dog tags with Wolverine's info, just to be authentic. Then I had to do the claws. I started out using aluminum, which was a HUGE mistake. Aluminum may be soft, but it is a royal pain to work with. I quickly abandoned the metal idea and moved to wood, poplar to be specific. I fashioned the 6 claws to be identical, using a jig saw, a sander and a grinder. Once I had them made to shape, I fitted each one to my hand, fashioning the cuts based on their placement on the back of my hand (the claws extend onto the back of my hand to add to the effect that they are coming out of my skin). I then sunk hanger wire into each claw to attach it to the grip. Once I had the placement figured, I made a small hand grip to keep hidden in my palm. I cut grooves into it so each claw would align properly. I then sank some screws into the grip with 'friction plates' to hold the claw wires in place. The screws allowed me to make fine adjustments to the placement of each claw, assuring me a perfect fit. When finished, they looked quite real and would stay in place even if I extended my fingers out, letting go of the grip. This was because I was able to adjust them so they were snug enough to stay on their own. This costume was great in that I was able to create claws in such a way that they looked very real. I was (and still am) very proud of that. Unfortunately, the rest of the costume wasn't all that impressive, so the overall impression suffers, despite the amount of work I put into it. Oh well...

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The Hessian

(the pre-headless Headless Horseman from Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow)

More pics if/when I find them... It's been a while since I wore this one!

The Hessian was the first costume that I really went all-out on. I bought an $18 broadsword on eBay and carved a new handle for it that resembled the snake hilt from the movie. It needed more weathering, but still looked pretty cool! I had Martha (my mother-in-law) sew the cape for me. One of these days I will learn to sew... The cape was made from some really nice, textured black material with a cool blackish-red satin lining. Really awesome! The armor was pretty hard to get right. Every time you see the Horseman in the movie it is night, so getting a good look at the armor was tough. I ended up buying the McFarlane action figure of the Horseman. I took a close-up photo of the armor pattern. I then printed it and then traced the pattern onto clear acetate, which I clould use with an overhead projector. I then projected the pattern of the two dragons onto the vinyl I was using to make the armor. Using silver fabric paint, I hand painted the armor pattern. It took forever, but looked very cool! I made the belt and chaps, too. I had to buy 16 belt buckles for the chaps so they would look authentic. I also bought a nasty pair of spurs. The only thing left was the hair (which I dyed black - big mistake since I used real hair dye and had to wait for my hair to grow out to get rid of the color ;-) and the teeth. I got a set of "Demon 2" teeth from Dental Distortions that were absolutely perfect with a little modification (they thought so too, and added "The Hessian" to their line-up after our discussions). Unfortunately, someone (no comment) visiting our house the week before stole them and I didn't notice until the day of our party. Too late to replace them, I had to run to the local halloween store and settle with a cheap set of teeth that I spent an hour filing down to the right shape. I was very dissappointed but the costume was a hit nonetheless.

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The Vampire

(Undead Bloodsucker, Sunscreen Spokesman)

This is a costume I don't have any good photos of...

At some point, if you dress up for Halloween, you HAVE to go as a Vampire at least once. I'm pretty sure that's a law. Somewhere... In any case, here was mine. I got decent fangs that fit over my real canines. They weren't bad, but if I ever do another vampire, I will go with Dental Distortions teeth since I think they do awesome work (see the Ringmaster and Troll for examples of their work). I got a frilly shirt that works really well for a vampire. Also works well for my pirate costume that I wear for the Trick-or-Treaters. A satin vest and dressy pants, too. Black fingernails and a solid coat of Geisha White makeup for the pale factor. Oh, and this was the year that I learned that the "temporary" hair color, isn't. Not remotely. It took about 2-3 months fot the black to grow out and my hair to return to brown. So you've been warned!

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Boba Fett

(The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi)

This is another costume I don't have any good photos of...

Boba Fett was the first costume I really went all out on. I built the jet pack and even made the armor out of sheet metal. It looks pretty half-assed compared to what I do now, but we all have to start somewhere ;-) The effort was there, but my skills weren't quite up to snuff. In all fairness, the metal parts of the armor turned out well enough that if I ever decide to do Fett again, I would reuse them (with a few mods). All in all, it wasn't too bad. In any case, I remember it fondly since it was my first real effort at a costume / cosplay. Plus it's Boba Fett! That's reason enough to love it!!

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The Dread Pirate Roberts

(The Princess Bride)

This is another costume I don't have any photos of... At all.

I'll post something if/when I track some down.

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(You need a reference for this?!?)

I went as Death the fall I got married and moved. So photos of this once are scarce, at best. And they're prints. If I can find any, I'll put 'em up. The best part of this costume was the scythe. It was real. And rusty.

Ok, this isn't a photo of my costume. But it is a photo of a prop we made using my Death cloak and scythe. So it's pretty close. Ah heck, you get the idea...

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Melanie's Costumes

Hit Girl

From the movie "Kick Ass", of course! I think this costume is awesome and Melanie looked great in it! Of course, she was hot at the party in this head-to-toe leatherette get-up, and I was freezing in my "I-think-I-cut-it-too-short" zombie nurse outfit! She also has a cape to go with the costume, but wasn't wearing it for these pictures. We also got her a set of brass knuckles. My plan was get a fake pair made of plastic. It turns out that real brass knuckles, made of, well, brass, were cheaper. So she has real brass knuckles. So, you know, keep that in mind...

Diner Waitress

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Would you order food from her? I suggest leaving a big tip!...

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Evil Alice

(from Wonderland, duh!)

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She's Alice. She's evil. What more do I need to say?!?

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The Nurse


I keep asking her to wear that wig again... This was a simple costume, the main part of it being a straight purchase. We got her some white stripper boots and created the Red Cross logo out of vinyl to add to the boots. I also made her a big syringe out of an antique air plunger. It looked pretty good, even if we didn't take any pictures with it. Another very popular costume for Melanie...

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Lara Croft


The Lara Croft costume was fun and relatively easy (and based on the video game Lara, thank-you-very-much!). The hardest part was finding a top that was the right style and color. The belt is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. The buckle is a seat belt assembly from a mid-60's Volvo. I picked it up, new in the wrapper, at a yard sale. Pretty cool design that I configured into a weapons belt. The guns are airsoft replicas of Baretta 92's. I bought some cheap nylon holsters from the army surplus store and used seat belt straps to make the drop-down assembly to convert them to thigh holsters. A push-up bra, some cheap shades and hair color finished the outfit. Oh, we also got a long braided pony tail hair extension, but you can't see it in the photos. Personally, I really liked this one. I still ask her to wear it every now and again ;-)

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This is another costume I don't have any good photos of...

If/when I find any pics of this one, I'll post them. It was actually a good costume, but with the duties of hosting the party, we didn't take any photos. I made a 'wig' for Melanie made from rubber snakes. It looked awesome but weighed like 10 lbs. She looked really good, but had a headache for the next week. I really want to track down some pics for this one. Unfortunately, this was back before digital, which means they're in a box or album somewhere...

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Goth Chick

(again with the hubba...)

Melanie had bought the outfit on one of our trips to New Orleans. The boots and jewelry were from Hot Topic. The facial jewelry was fake, but looked real enough that people were asking her if she had gotten her face pierced for the party. We may be dedicated to this, but not that much!!