Grand High Witch Costume
Wearing the costume that made a room full of children cry!
|Costume type:||Costumes for Adults|
This homemade costume for adults entered our 2016 Halloween Costume Contest.
A word from Shane, the 'Grand High Witch' costume creator:
I've wanted to costume as the Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl's "The Witches" for a few years, so when I finally had the resources to make it she was the first costume I put together.
The Grand High Witch costume is an over-the-head latex piece with earholes, eyeholes and a large hole for the mouth- so the only makeup that is needed is bright blue eyeshadow and dark red lipstick (and possibly some foundation to match the prosthetic to the skin).
I started creating the piece around September 2015, hoping to wear it for Halloween 2015, but I didn't have enough time to finish it - so it sat in a cupboard for 10 months before I decided to finish it at the end of August this year.
I build the chest and back pieces first, using stills from the movie to get the chest just right. I found out after making the chest that the mannequin I was working on was a little bit too small, but I managed to get around this by building extra latex around the edges.
When I started building the face I thought it would be best to go straight onto my face using latex and cotton wool. I made the nose using a kitchen sponge that I cut into a long pyramid shape, which I then covered with latex. Once this had dried it was difficult to move in. The cotton wool seemed to stiffen the mask. I tried again, this time measuring my facial features and drawing them out onto a flat non-porous surface (a laminated countertop!). I did a rough sculpt using plasticine of what I wanted the face to look like - knowing that any detail would be lost as I was putting latex on top of the sculpt, rather than making a negative as a mold - I only included the cheeks, brows, nose and forehead, deciding to add the chin separately.
After coating the sculpt with a few laters of normal latex I finished it off with some latex that I had coloured with full-coverage water-based foundation. This dried a bit darker as the latex cured and went clear/yellow.
After powdering the face with talc to stop if from sticking to itself I started applying it onto my face. I wore a pre-made rubber bald cap and had to cut some parts of the flat piece to make it fit the contours of my head.
After latexing everything in place I added extra details like thicker wrinkles using thin pieces of cotton wool, and veins using teased out wool.
The end result was pretty good, but I needed to attach it to the chest piece. I made a long curved strip to go around my whole neck - connecting to the chest and back piece.
The ears were stuck directly onto my ears using cotton wool/latex. They didn't need to be very flexible as they weren't moving.
After everything was stuck in place I painted the whole thing the same colour - a mix of foundation makeup, latex, and purple acrylic paint (to counteract the yellow of the latex). Once dry I split the remaining coloured latex into a few batches and coloured one with more red, one with more blue, one with more brown, and one with more black. I emphasised the contours of the head, the nose, the wrinkles etc. and I used a fine brush to paint on extra details, and an old toothbrush to spatter tiny drops of latex across the whole piece to give it more texture.
Once that dried I added a final coat of clear latex, and covered the whole thing with strands of hair from an old wig. Once dry I pulled off most of the hair, leaving some stray hairs on the mask.
I found the black dress in a charity shop, and added a black and purple cape/train with a purple ribbon.
The finishing touches were cheap witches fingers (painted to match the skin tone, and given a coat of black nail polish), and a set of custom thermal-plastic teeth that were yellowed and stained with black along the gum line. The Grand High Witch wears a necklace and earrings from her drooping ears, so I found an old necklace in a charity shop and took it apart to build a matching earring/necklace set. The earrings popped right through the holes I had left in the ears. I also ordered purple contact lenses 10 days before the event, but these didn't arrive in time :-(
Once the mask was finished I was able to carefully pull it from my head after it had loosened from my skin. It can slip on and off with a little effort, but everything stays in place - including the ears.
The costs for this project were:
Latex : £15 (I used latex carpet glue, which is just like slip latex)
Dress : £2
Cape : £5
Teeth, Fingers, Necklace : £5
(Contact lenses : £7)
Total cost: £27, or £34 with contacts.
Total number of hours work... A lot!
I hope you enjoy this submission as much as I enjoyed making it, wearing it, and scaring small children with it! Thank you.