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Halloween makeup skills taught in theater class

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For some, Halloween is simply a fun holiday that serves as an excuse to play dress up, eat a lot of candy and party with friends. For others, it’s more serious. When it comes to costumes, some people don’t mess around, especially with makeup.

Costume and special effects makeup is an essential part of Marquette’s theatre department. Every student in a show needs to have some basic knowledge of how to do stage makeup, and some students practice hard to perfect the craft, which comes in handy this time of year.

Connie Petersen has been teaching the stage makeup class at Marquette for 15 years. Students create a wide variety of looks: different ages, time period-inspired looks, animal makeup, blood and gore special effects, and much more. Peterson said that there is definitely an art to applying makeup in a realistic manner.

“The hardest thing for students is to understand how their face works, ” said Petersen. “It’s not just about putting on makeup, but it’s also about understanding how the muscles work.”

Techniques can be elaborate, and for those that are serious about their stage makeup, Petersen recommends investing in a Ben Nye makeup kit, one of the main brands of stage makeup. But for others looking for a spooky Halloween look, she has other tips.

Thicker fake blood, useful for applying fake wounds, can be made at home with peanut butter and food coloring. Additionally, bruises can be replicated with various colors of dry eyeshadow.Emily Kraus, a sophomore in the College of Communication, is currently enrolled in Petersen’s makeup class. Kraus offered some insight into the specifics of using color when applying makeup.

“Using color can be really challenging, because for bruises you literally have to use every color in the rainbow pretty much,” said Kraus. In the recent blood and gore chapter, the class learned how to make bruises, burns, cuts, gunshot wounds and zombie and vampire bites.

Caroline Norton, a sophomore in the College of Communication and Kraus’ classmate, has learned how to do stage makeup throughout her theatre career, which began in fourth grade. After years of perfecting her skills, Norton frequently does Halloween makeup for her friends. Some Halloween looks she has created in recent years include a creepy doll, zombie and pop art.

For anyone looking to invest in makeup products, buying a large array of all different products is not always necessary. When it comes to makeup, sometimes you can do a lot with a little.

“I really think liquid lipsticks are a gold mine,” Norton said. “Liquid lipsticks can be used on your lips, they can be blended together to create dimension … they can be used as eyeliners because they’re eye safe … they are so versatile. And they stay. They don’t rub off when you eat or anything, which is nice.”

Kraus also said that there is no need to buy excessive products for specific purposes.

“That’s kind of my philosophy with makeup,” Kraus said. “You don’t need the most expensive thing in the world to make it look good.”

It just goes to show that even if students aren’t enrolled in a special effects class, they can still transform themselves into almost any character tonight.

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