Sunday 30 October 2011

Halloween costume inspiration - black & red

Sylvia Ji 'La Adelita' 2010 via the Joshua Liner Gallery.

I love this Sylvia Ji painting. Although it has much deeper meaning it also makes for great Halloween inspiration and it combines my love of dressing up, Dia de los Muertos and Freda Kahlo in one glorious image. These are large painting in Acrylic and gold leaf on wood panels and you can read more about the background to the works in the Las Adelitas exhibition on the Joshua Liner Gallery flickr page for the show.

Sylvia Ji 'Red Quechquemitls' 2010 see full exhibition at the Joshua Liner Gallery.

Sylvia Ji 'La Madrina' 2010 see full exhibition at the Joshua Liner Gallery.

Andrea Peira's winning Photo in the World Body Painting Festival 2011

This is exactly the sort of thing I like to do, but when you live in a mobile home and like candles it's just not practical, so I make do with enjoying the work of others unless I'm invite to things in large open spaces. The Photograph above was by Andrea Peira and the costume and body painting was by Birgit Mörtl+Melanie Rodel Body Painting Festival 2011

Birgit Mörtl+Melanie Rodel - Body painting & costume for the World Body PaintingFestival 2011 (via

Halloween make-up via

Saturday 29 October 2011

Halloween inspiration - black white grey & stylish

Mummified drink bottles by one charming party

Marshmallow goody bags by one charming party

Crushed Oreos adorn the top of the cake to resemble dirt, inside is red sponge. By one charming party

Halloween table display with pumpkin painting tutorial on Apples & Onions

Black lace candles on Family Chic

Table setting for Black Halloween in Sweet Paul Magazine

Black Pumpkin styled by Paul Lowe for Black Halloween in Sweet Paul Magazine

Framed Embroidery by Paul Vitale for Black Halloween at Sweet Paul Magazine

Spanish Moss tealight holders and white Ranunculus with wording make more grown up table decorations via One Charming Party.

Chiharu Shiota - In Silence - 2008

Sweet Paul's scary portraits tutorial is here.

So you have some ideas for the house, but what about you? I always think about how I'll do my hair, or my wigs. Here are some tamer than usual ideas for a more stylish party...

Désirée Dolron - Xteriors VI - 2003 (via Alain Truong, see more on Artnet)

Dusan Jaukovic working with Morpheum Couture for Best Shop (via Haute Macabre)

A Tribute to Dorian Gray. Shot by Vincent Alvarez for Soon International. Found via Haute Macabre.

Next up, what to wear? Perhaps that should have been before the hair, but I usually start with hair and work a look around it. When you are going for something stylish that shouldn't mean giving up on the costume side of things, dressing up is half the fun. One option is to think Couture or Avante Garde catwalk style take some Halloween fashion tips from the runway shows and magazines.

Gareth Pugh via About a Girl.

Gareth Pugh - Spring Collection, Women's 2010 via Million Looks.

Gareth Pugh - Spring Collection, Men's 2010 via Homme Times.

Gareth Pugh via About a Girl.

Peter Pilotto Franken-Fashion mask for model Guinevere van Seenus on Dazed Digital.

Chic Gothic Glam, shot by Craig McDean for Vogue Italia. Found via Haute Macabre.

Photographed by Jerry Bennet :: Modeled & MUA by Manchester
Wardrobe and Styled by Alex London. Found via Haute Macabre.

Photos from Max.Tan’s F/W 2010 collection via Haute Macabre.

Iris van Herpen - Capriole - Paris Haute Couture Show

I have so much more but don't have time to find the links, perhaps another time? FOr now I need to get on with my own Halloween arrangements, like dusting off Mr P's green lady painting 'Tina' by J.H.Lynch which is perfect for Halloween in a mobile home since it oozes kitsch. I'll try and get a photo if I have time.

Friday 28 October 2011

Blues & Greens

Green weed in Blue window

I needed a bit of blue so these are random shots from my old photo's, and the frozen one is Mr P's.

Blue sky and Rowan from the window

Blue door where I used to walk the dog

Frozen flood water in local fields (thanks to MrP for this one)

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Halloween costume ideas - Day of the Dead


I love Mexican Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead. All that colour, art, creativity and food, what a joyous way to celebrate and remember loved ones who have died. Every few years some friends host a Day of the Dead Party instead having a traditional Halloween party. In the early years I started off with simple skulls make-up and a plain red wig but in subsequent years I was inspired by edible Sugar Skull candy and opted for much more colourful face painting and costumes and lots of colourful flowers in my wig to give that true Mexican feel. As always, I did other people's faces first so my own was a bit of a last minute rush, but even messy painting looks jolly when it's in such bright colours. I always enjoy doing them.

Monday 24 October 2011

Hendrik Kerstens photography

Hendrik Kerstens - Bag

Hendrik Kerstens - Lampshade, Napkin and Paper Roll

Since I was talking about being creative with bin bags I thought I'd show you some of the work of photographer Hendrik Kerstens who photographs his daughter in the style of the Dutch masters. You can read a little about his work and how it began here. His work is another great example of how imagination and creativity can more than make up for a lack of budget and materials when it comes to creating looks and costumes at Halloween, or any other time.

DIY Halloween Lighting Ideas

I like to set the mood at Halloween with home made or customised lighting.

I make paper Pumpkins to work as wall and window decorations, lighting and masks.

• Fairy lights, which are a year round feature, get a Halloween twist with orange paper chain and shreds of orange crepe paper (only on led lights that don't get hot).

• Tealight holders and glass jars get wrapped in orange paper chopped with jaggy tops and grouped to look like little fires.

• Rather than doing scary faces on pumpkins I prefer something more decorative or abstract so that I can keep using them past Halloween.

• Paper pumpkins ensure I still have a spooky vibe on the night. Made from orange paper and drawn on with marker pen then cut out. They look great in the window with tealights behind them (safely in jars) and if you attach two lengths of wool either side they double as pumpkin masks if you have guests who don't have the time or interest to make anything. The one in the photo above is in front of a small table lamp with a 4w energy saving bulb to give a gentle light.

Halloween face painting - elf/goblin/sprite

Elf, Goblin, Sprite? I just painted in a way that suited the ears I'd been given.

A friend gave me her green ears • sitting by the fire

Here I am as a Goblin type of critter in 2005. It was a mild dry October that year so we had the party outside around a tiny barbecue based bonfire with orange tea light lanterns and pumpkins around the garden.

Halloween Invitation 2011

When I was a kid I absolutely LOVED it when we were out Guising (Trick or Treat) and would occasionally go to a house that had made an effort to be spooky. In the 70's it was very rare to encounter that and I vowed when I grew up I'd always dress up for the Guisers. Since Asda in the UK was bought by Walmart there was a definite importing of Halloween as a commercial concept and all the other supermarkets have followed suit so Halloween themed houses are much more prevalent these days, but I far prefer a home-made look rather than a bought one and for me getting creative is the most fun part of Halloween. Having ME has meant not a lot of partying but having had a nice Fancy Dress dinner for 4 last year I decided to increase that this year and tweaked the Elfish Goblin with some fangs to make the above e-vite for it.

Halloween costume inspiration

Junya Watanabe - Commes des Garçons - Autumn/Winter 2008-09

When friends say they don't have anything to make a fancy dress costume with I always remind them that you'll never be stuck for a costume if you have some old tights and a bin bag (panty hose & trash bags). Several of my best, indeed 1 prizewinning, outfits were made with those basics and perhaps some wire or cardboard scraps, or a bit of tinfoil to tweak my own clothes into creations fit for any costume party.

I've had a LOT of fun over the years stretching old tights over shapes to make weird headwear but beware, I found out, to my great dissapointment, that sometimes people think you've made a bad attempt at being Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) from Star Trek.

The collection above by Designer Junya Watanabe is clearly not made from bin bags and tights, but the effects are similar, albeit painstakingly sewn and crafted, not held together with glue, pins and tape like my 'collections'. The point is that you just need to use your imagination a bit. Costumes don't have to be about recreating something that already exists. Some people may look at you with bafflement if you don't dress as a character but don't let that stop you coming up with something creative and original if you are feeling inspired.

Update: A follow on post shows the work of Hendrik Kerstens who uses a plastic bag to style his daughter like the Dutch Masters.

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