Tag Archives: halloween

Halloween Makeup walk through #3

So okay, this might be coming a little late this year, but I genuinely didn’t get around to doing any makeup for Halloween this year. Figured better late than never.

So this look is similar to the Pin up Frankie I did last year, but I have done things ever so slightly different this time around. Still super easy to recreate at home, most of the items you will already have in your makeup bag! 

First of all, you need to get a good reference picture, I prefer to use source if I am doing something from a film, book, comic etc so that you are looking at the art in the way it was originally intended. Therefore any changes you make, you are making with full understanding of the original. You are not using someone else’s makeup, which may already have been altered for a variety of reasons, and altering further. If that makes sense. So today, this is the image I was using : 

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Now before we start, here is what I used – Snazaroo face paint in a light blue, 2 shades of blue eye shadow (dark blue in a powder shadow), black and blue liquid liner, mascara. (spray bottle of water for the face paint and makeup brushes) and a wig.

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The first step is to spray up the paint cake, I used a foundation brush to apply out of preference, but a sponge will also work. Apply over all the areas that are visible, face, ears, neck and chest (this will of course depend on what you are wearing.

While you are waiting for the face paint to dry, you can apply lipstick – I used a Colour Pop liquid matt, but anything you have in your bag will do. Once the base is dry, you can start applying the darker blue eye shadow. I used a mineral shadow because the powder is easier to pat onto the face and you don’t run the risk of rubbing your base off. I started around the eyes, roughly following the eyeline. 

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Once this has been completed, I used the blue shadow to underline the stitches – I started on the mouth and worked my way around the face. I did the neck and check last but only because I always find that area more awkward. Once the eye shadow has been applied, I used a combination of black and blue liquid liner (Nyx vinyl) to line the cut and then the crosses to represent the stitches. I also did V shaped lashes on my lower lids.

After all of that is completed, if you are planning on going out, or wearing it for a longer period of time, spray on some finishing spray and you are good to go 🙂 And it really is that simple, I tend to do makeup looks that are simple, easy and mostly use products you have in your makeup bag or cupboard 🙂 

It would be entirely possible to use a blue eye shadow as a base for this makeup, instead of face paint. It certainly wouldn’t be as bright, and might be more wearable. I haven’t tried it out yet but I will update the blog if and when I do!

If you try this out, please let me see! 

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A carnival of clowns

It is that beautiful time of year again, you know, the time of year where leaves change colour and start to cover the pavement in warm colours, when there is a tinge of frost on your breath as you rust to the bus stop in the morning, when you start hearing reports of clowns terrorising your local….

Oh wait, what?

This is a fairly new phenomenon that I really didn’t realise was even… well a phenomenon until very recently. In late August reports started coming out of America that people dressed as clowns were trying to lure children away into forests. This quickly escalated into the clowns coming up to residences and appearing at windows, banding on doors, being a nuisance. I wasn’t alone in wondering at the logic of this, in a country where guns, to a degree are fairly commonplace. I assumed, that this would just be something isolated to America… or maybe I hoped. But no, it wasn’t long before they turned up in the UK. Now, living in Northampton, we had the Northampton Clown a couple of years ago (I am now informed that this was in correlation with the release of either the book or film, IT) who has since been unmasked. In all fairness, he was fairly laid back, and would leave cryptic messages on his FB page, giving clues as to where he would next turn up. He would always just appear standing in the middle of a car park, street corner. Always quiet, never interacting. 

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But since then, things certainly seem to have escalated. It is hard to pin down exactly when clowns started becoming synonymous with Halloween, or when they started terrorising locals – I mean until the Northampton Clown, it was not something I had come accross. And given to urban legend, second hand stories and various differences around the country, you will get told either they haven’t until this year, or that it just something that happens every autumn. Although this year is slightly different in that this escalated quickly and the police have since had to put their foot down and stated that anyone dressing as a clown will run the risk of being arrested on sight. 

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But is dressing as a clown any different from other festivities that come along with this time of year? This is the last hurrah, the party before we all buckle down for potentially a hard winter. I mean traditionally… historically if you will. Halloween has always been a time for scares, pranks, for the veil between the living and the dead to be that little thinner. All Hallows… Eve? and The art of carnival! both explore the history behind our need to let loose. I mean even looking at the football season, especially when it is an international tournament. The fact is that, we are tuned into needing days to let off steam. We are lucky that now we have, as a basic standard, a 5 day working week and 4 weeks holiday, bank holidays. 

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And while I am meandering to my point, bank holidays, to a greater extent have taken over from festival days, although I don’t wish to repeat myself if you have clicked the links to my previous blogs. Not, actually, all that long ago, we didn’t have the luxury of time off, and relied on festival days to blow off steam. Halloween is a time of year that we are slowly taking back. It has always been a time of celebrate, but we have slowly moved it over to a child’s holiday, not something for adults to concern themselves with. Why would we want to dress up and pretend to be someone else? Why would we want to put on a mask for an evening? Why indeed! 

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I don’t condone the idea of people dressing up as clowns to terrorise people, frankly, outside halloween it is kinda.. creepy whether you like clowns or not. And it really does give people the excuse to cause trouble. That is really why there were traditional feast days, and carnival days. So that everyone understood that is was a ‘day off’ from roles, responsibilities, that everyone was on the same level. A sort of, wholesale ‘what happens in Vegas’ situation. 

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So dressing up as a clown at will, from late summer, approaching children, tapping on windows, and hell, even attacking people? This is really not acceptable, there is a reason while, as a society, a global one at that, we are all feeling rather uneasy. It really doesn’t matter what your intention is.. although sorry if you are going to dress up as a clown, you must realise that you have a 70/30% chance of terrorising or upsetting people. Just stick to Halloween weekend/night. And stay either in a club/nightspot, or home. Don’t think it is big or clever to scare innocent people. We have Fright Nights, we have movies, we have enough ‘safe places’ to get scared where we will also be guaranteed comfort and support should anything untoward happen.

I am sorry to sound like such a downer, I love clowns, I love clown makeup, and I adore halloween. But everyone has a right to be safe (even dressed as a clown) and to enjoy themselves! 

HAPPY HAUNTING!

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The art of carnival!

In a recent post, I touched on the history of Halloween, where it finds its roots (sorry america, you aren’t responsible for this one!) and this led to an interesting discussion about festival days and carnival, really how ingrained it is in our society. It is something I studied at uni so I thought I would revisit.

Now while I was at Uni, the period I was looking at covered the 15th & 16th century and at first glance you would think that this would bear no relevance to today. But please give me a moment of your time and you will see that things have not really changed.

Now we are fast approaching Halloween which is popularised by costume wearing, this was indeed a big part of festival days, were you would have several roles, that were easily distinguished, and still recognisable today. For example, Hero’s and Heroines, wise rulers, fools, knights, damsels in distress were all popular features. In urban environments peasants were often portrayed as dishonest.

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Another popular theme was The World Turned Upside Down; Judges in stocks, Clergy dressed as women etc. Carnivals would be presided over by a fat man, often carrying a phallic symbol, the Carnival King. It was often young men that kept things going, carnival spirit was freedom and release from the daily toil – some festivals would go one for days and even weeks. Although from time to time, they were also used as political stages.

As part of the ‘world turned upside down’ theme found in festivals and carnivals there was often a ‘Lord of Misrule’. In the main, this was legitimised disorder built into the 12 days of Christmas. Originally appointed at the royal court, he was given full ‘panoply of kingship’ including a throne, armoury, a jester and a gibbet for mock executions.

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This was also true of private households, Polydor Virgil, writing in the 15th Century emphasised that there were mock rulers to whom the usual leaders of the household or official institutions became subservient to during the Christmas period. It seems that the office lay in role reversal, in the elevation of the servant to a position of apparent authority. The alteration of the natural order seems to have been the misrule involved and a suitable symbol for a season of revelry and release from work. No information remains on exactly how they carried out their duties 😉

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However, at Christmas 1516/17 someone took this idea a little far. A ‘Jack Straw’ figure and his ‘followers’ appeared at the Lincoln Inn, broke down doors, and invaded rooms. This was carried out in the spirit of the season but not a legitimised action. Jack Straw was named after the leader of the 1381 Peasants Revolt and clearly an instigator of pranks and wild behaviour among young men.

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Carnivals were also an opportunity to ‘punish’ those who did not stick to traditional roles, a woman marrying a younger man, a young married couple unable to produce a child – they would often be harried and harassed. Eggs and flour through at their house, pots and pans hit outside their house at all hours to make sure they would not get any peace. In some cases, these were the sort of cases brought to the Lord of Misrule to face a court and decide their punishment.

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Carnivals succeed in allowing people to ‘blow off steam’ every year, in symbolic and ritualised ways. In this way, it helped to control the populations, if the people knew that at certain times of the year they would be able to relax and let heir hair down. However, this was not always enough to curb revolution; ritualised revelry could only accomplish so much. Sometimes the issues at hand; if not properly addressed would cause mass rebellion. Religious movements at the time also meant that some festivals were beginning to be frowned upon as they had their roots in pagan rituals. Although a lot of the festivals were able to be incorporated into the new religious calendar, in order to minimise the upheaval for people still getting used to the new set of morals and life style codes being inflicted upon them.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading this, I realise it isn’t to everyone’s taste but it does offer food for thought – think about festivals that we still have today – music festivals that last 3 or 4 days, bank holidays, religious holidays that are still observed but now secular. The ideas behind festival and feast days have not been diminished, but they have taken on new guises.

All Hallows… Eve?

So .. I touched on this in a previous post – Halloween is not a recent American import, and neither are some of the traditions associated with it. I will be doing a couple of blogs regarding festivals and carnival – a personal interest of mine so I hope this interests you.

Halloween was originally celebrated 2,000 years ago as Samhain, where celts would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off evil spirits. This was a time where the summer changed into winter, crops to see people through the winter gathered, it was a time that the veil between the living and dead would be at its thinnest, spirits would come back and make mischief.

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When the Romans invaded the United Kingdom, and stayed around for 400 years, their own festivals, which took place over the same time of year, were slowly incorporated. One was Feralia which was a day in October where the Romans would commemorate the passing of the dead, and another which bore more similarities to a Harvest festival which was the day the Romans would celebrate Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees.

By the 9th Century, the Catholic had moved the observance of All Saints day to 1st november, which carried similar traditions, dressing up, parades and bonfires. It gradually blended, then supplanted the Celtic festival day.

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Trick and Treat – where this come from? It is a common misconception that this one of the more annoying aspects of the American import.. but no. This is also one tradition which has evolved over time.

When Celts were celebrating Samhain – worried about spirits returning when the veil between the world separating the living and dead was nearly gone, they would place bowls of food outside to distract the spirits from coming home. They would also wear disguises and masks so that their deceased relatives would not recognise them. When it blended into the All Saint’s celebrations, the poor would knock on doors, and were given ‘soul cakes’ in return for the promise of prayers to be said for the families deceased relatives. This was then taken up by children who would knock on doors, and be given a treat.

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Of course, what is interesting to note, is that the dressing up switched from the household to the visitor. But then, when children started to knock on doors, it is an evolution of the celebration. The children are the embodiment of what you are trying to keep out. They are the spirits of the departed, and to appease them you give them a gift of food.

Halloween is a time of ending and beginnings, there are other traditions that would take place, some like, apple bobbing, some suggest is related to the Roman celebration of Pomona (goddess of fruit & trees). But it is a time for looking forward, while ‘winter is coming’ it also means that spring is following soon.

So there are a lot of forward looking traditions associated with 31st October – the celts believed that with the veil between the world of the living and dead being so thin, the Druids could devine and forecast the future. This was important as they would need to predict the winter so that people would be able to prepare.

But then there are also traditions for girls to predict their future husband, whether they would be married. One I remember well, and tried my own hand at, is peeling an apple, the apple peel had to be continuous, and you would throw it over your shoulder. The peel would settle into the initials of your future husband.

Now, I hope I have given you an albeit brief, overview of the history of Halloween and why, I confidently defend against it being an American Import.

Enjoy xx