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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

One of my favourite parts of Halloween is the costumes, I adore seeing people of all ages get dressed up and having fun. But my all-time favourite part of costumes is the special effects (SFX) makeup. I love seeing what people come up with and learning about how they create their looks. I got into SFX in my first year of high school because of a haunted house I was helping with. I got to watch as they applied SFX makeup to each member of our cast, myself included. It was incredible to see, and I found myself wanting to learn more. So, I promptly went home and watched a dozen tutorials on basic SFX makeup and by the next Halloween, I was planning on incorporating it into my costume.

This isn’t to say I became a master SFX artist or anything –  it was just something fun I decided to learn to do and found I really enjoyed. To this day, if I’m bored and I have access to some of my SFX makeup, I’ll mess around with it and see what I can do. It’s just something I’ve come to enjoy. It’s also a skill I think everyone should try learning at least once. Here are some of the reasons why I think this!

You get to add a personal spin to your costume.

Every costume I’ve done with SFX has relied on my own creativity to bring it alive. Even ones without complex makeup stand out more because I’ve added SFX. And it’s always a great conversation starter because even small bits of SFX are eye-catching and unique. They add to your costume and allow you to adapt a simple look into something more personal.

You get a better understanding of the work that goes into SFX.

SFX isn’t easy. The work you see on film can take hours to create and perfect. People dedicate their lives to mastering SFX and making their makeup look as hyper-realistic as possible. Learning the basics of SFX gives you a greater understanding of the skills required to do such work, and it can be a lot of fun to look at a movie and try to figure out the techniques and application methods they’ve used to create certain effects.

It’s a lot of fun.

It’s messing around with makeup – it’s bound to be a lot of fun. My favourite part is experimenting around with fake blood.

It’s relatively inexpensive.

When I first got into SFX I used cheap liquid latex, toilet paper, cotton balls and whatever leftover makeup I had to create looks, all of which is relatively inexpensive. You can also use coffee grounds and even lube to make your own SFX kit. You don’t need all the fancy materials when you’re just learning and personally, I find it more enjoyable to mess around with household materials to see what you can make of them.

Overall, SFX is a lot of fun and if you have the chance, I highly suggest giving it a go!

Kathryn Morton

Wilfrid Laurier '24

Kathryn is a third year language student who spent her first year stumbling through Laurier's financial mathematics program before ultimately changing her major. Yes, she's aware those two have no overlap, we don't talk about that. This is her third year writing for Her Campus Laurier.