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If you want to make sure your haunt sticks out, you have to make sure that your actors have their own unique look. If you can't afford to make completely custom outfits and looks for them, you can still acheive great things by customizing store-bought masks and costumes from Halloween stores.

Customizing Store Bought Halloween Masks

When master horror film director John Carpenter was filming the original "Halloween", they were on an indie level budget, and didn't have time or money to make a completely new, custom mask for the Michael Myers character. So, production designer Tommy Lee Wallace went to a Halloween store to search for a mask of a generic person. Unfortunately, there were no "generic" masks. Every single mask was of a celebrity or pre-existing character. The only thing he found in the whole store that looked generic was the Star Trek "Captain Kirk" mask, which actually looked nothing like William Shatner. Tommy took this mask, along with a few others back to the set, after which the $2 Kirk mask was eventually chosen, due to its distinct lack of discernable features. After a few alterations and customizations, Wallace arrived with the iconic mask that made it into the film. If one of the most well known horror films of all time could simply customize a cheap Halloween store mask and turn it into a historical masterpiece, so can you.

Here are some suggestions on how to customize store bought masks:
• Paint - Change the mask's color, or even use paint to add marks, cuts, bruises, etc. The Shatner mask used in "Halloween" was painted flat white.
• Hair - Does the mask have eyebrows, facial hair, etc.? Remove it! Conversely, if it doesn't have hair, try adding some. The hair on the Michael Myers mask was "teased" to make it look dirty and messy.
• Holes - Alter the eye holes, mouth, etc. to create another look. The eye holes in the Myers mask were cut out to be larger than the original mask.
• Dirt! - Want it to look dirty? Add DIRT. Rub the mask around in some dirt, maybe try some grease, etc.

The above ideas are mere suggestions. Be creative. Come up with some more ideas of what to do to your store-bought masks. The important thing is to make it YOURS.

Customizing Store Bought Halloween Costumes

Start with a pre-made costume that looks at least like it's going in the right direction for what you're looking for. Then, you can add and subtract from the outfit to make it unique.

Here are some suggestions on how to customize store bought Halloween costumes:
• Add your own clothing or accessory items to what's already there. For example, you might keep the top of the costume, and use your own pants instead of what came with it. Maybe add a hat of some sort. Perhaps it needs jewelry added, or a scarf or gloves.
• Slice, cut, shred - Costume doesn't look evil enough? Destroy it creatively with scissors. Cut slices, holes, or give a shredded look.
• Paint or clothes dye - Use paint or clothing dye to change the color of the costume, or just part of it.
• Blood - Use theater blood (available in small bottles and large jugs at Halloween stores) to splatter on the outfit, or to strategically place blood stains or streaks.
• Dirt! - Again, our favorite. Looks too new or too clean? Use actual dirt. Rub it in, drag it through, whatever it takes.

Again, these ideas are just suggestions. Be creative and come up with some more ideas of what to do to your store-bought costume. The important thing is to turn it into something that is uniquely yours.

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