this was a freaking knackering Halloween,im sleep deprived and very poor but it was so worth it. every Halloween’s special to me because being at a university which specialises in games we get a lot of video game based costumes which is always fun as hell. for this year i`ve been obsessed with a game known as left for dead 2. a team based first person shooter in which you kill various types of mutants and try to survive the zombie apocalypse. all of the characters (even the zombies) have loads of appeal and are very likeable in their own weird ways, and even weirder my group of friends are like them in a lot of ways (in looks only lol we don’t have any convicts or junkies among us I hope) so I set my hopes on dressing up as them for Halloween.
i`d say it came out perfectly except for the lack of certain zombies (jockey,boomer,tank and spitter) and i`d like to talk about the creation process of the costumes and props.
the boomer bile is a projectile weapon in the game and it was one of the harder things to make. i wanted a big container with the right shaped edges and I couldn’t think of anything, luckily my girlfriend told me a soda stream bottle was the perfect shape so one of my roommates invested in one and I used the lids from cosmetic products to create the top and bottom. the actual goo inside is a combination of shower gel,soap and paint. i paper mached over the top and bottom before realising it started to leak so i had to remake it twice. the indents and details on the top would have been too difficult to fashion from plastics and metals so I faked depth by painting and drawing.I printed off the label from the game and used superglue,sellotape and blu tack to seal that bad boy up so it wouldn’t leak anymore.the annoying molotov`s thing about it is how unwieldy it is. unlike the pipe bomb and there was nowhere to attack a strap so we could hang it from our belts, that and it`s too heavy. but damn does that goo look good!
bile shown off by the lovely Rebecca who managed to sew her hoody like zoey`s perfectly
speaking of which,the molotov`s were a lot of fun to make,mostly because they were so easy. one restriction we have on our props is no glass since we wouldnt be allowed into the union with any on us. so we got creative and emptied some J20 bottles and then filled them up with brown paint(and gave it a good shake)
scratched off the labels (not too much,kept the faded look) and shoved a rag in there. I kept the rag in place using elastic bands and attached the straps there. the straps themselves came from the flashlights we bought.
there’s Iain the smoker in the background and bobby = bill, being dangerously in character
the pyro in me loves molotov`s but the pipe bomb was really something special. the inside shape is toilet rolls and cosmetic caps and the fuse is leftovers from a broken cd player. the pipe bomb in game has two buttons and a square battery.my one is mostly correct save for some minor details. thanks to a friend of a friend who is a whizz kid with electronics he managed to hook up a red light which activates when the wiring is pressed down.
one detail i got wrong was the placement of the electronics. they are usually at the top of the pipe bomb next to the fuse but putting them there upsets the weight of the pipe bomb and it doesn’t hang properly from a belt. but who cares! it actually lights up! 😀 that `ticker` thing next to the battery pack is actually from the inside of an alarm clock.
I wouldn’t let anyone else have it lol, shame the light doesn’t come up so well in flash photography
the ammo packs were especially fun to make.most of the work for these consisted of drawing and painting. the only crafting part was making a box and then holes in the back to attach hooks and strings. in game the characters have packs magically stick to their backs so we used very thin white string to subtly attack it to ourselves. we looped it over our shoulders like a backpack. we forgot to get a decent photo of the yellow pack which is a pity, im quite proud of the font and flammable logo. the handle on the orange pack is a handle from the destroyed cd player.
I know,I know,it looks like a lunchbox…
another backpack we have is a first aid kit which was created from scratch by my talented friend swiss. he created the inside with cardboard and stuff it with foam to give it that `full` look, like the one in game. I had to `donate` a few t-shirts to make sure this got made. the great thing about it having a working zip is that we used to keep the pills in it. we even printed off the actual pill logo from the game and plastered it over a cod liver oil bottle.
don’t worry,there’s only skittles in those pill bottles. can’t trust louis and his addictions.pity we couldn’t find any items to serve as an adrenaline shot. Greg = Ellis does work at the hospital but he wants to keep his job so he didn’t smuggle any for us
we had one more backpack and it was rather elaborate.the defib kit from the game has two paddles which mysteriously arent connected with wire but still work somehow. my one however was connected. the paddles had a habit of falling out their slots so the string saved them many times that night.for the pads and rim of the monitor I used tinfoil. the rest of it is just cardboard,pen,paint and paper mache.
the knobs and dials are all remnants from the cd player.theres like a piece of that thing in everything! it`s a really cool bit of kit but if I ever go back to it,i will definitely use magnets or velcro to keep the pads in place.for the actual main box,it`s a combination of foams and a cereal box. the pads are made from those miniature cereal boxes you get and some shaped foam for the handles.
here’s louis clearly overdosing on pills.what did I tell ya
the red electric guitar is an iconic melee weapon from the game but instead of spending a stupid sum of money on an instrument which will most likely get damaged,i just used my plastic shell for my guitar hero controller and sharpied the faceplate red.
luckily our Rochelle owns a plastic chainsaw which actually vibrates,a very nice touch. we would have brought a frying pan also but unfortunately that counts as an `actual` weapon so we wouldn’t be allowed in with it. miraculously nobody had to resort to eBay for finding costumes. we found everything we needed from hardware stores and clothes stores (tk max, primark) they may be cheap shops,but the white suit cost a pretty penny and was so damn hard to find. the Ellis shirt is an actual piece of merchandise from the valve store. the Rochelle shirt was either sold out or not in stock can’t remember so Millie bought a regular pink shirt and painted on the logo and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference it looks really good.
for the Francis outfit we had to `sacrifice` a regular leather coat by ripping off the arms to create a vest.
i`d planned to use the leftover leather for ammo pouches and gun holsters but there wasnt enough time. we used face paints for the beard. all the guns you see are all toy weapons with a lick of black or grey spray paint. theyre pathetically tiny but we weren’t allowed to bring in bb guns or airsoft rifles.
that’s a shiny bum, not a fart in case you’re wondering
the tattoos were penned our by rebbecca.it`s a shame we couldn’t get Fabiene to shave his head to serve the role of Francis better but alas he is too attached to his hair.
i`ll talk very briefly about the bald cap for louis as it`s quite ridiculous and not exactly my proudest creation.
now to talk about the special infected. and if I thought finding a cheap white suit was hard,making these costumes was agony. the smoker took the most time and research. initially I debated whetever to use paper mache for the smoker tounges but Iain might have choked. even the mouthguard i bought for it wouldnt’t have helped so we just got a small toy snake for easy removal. the boils are made from a cardboard shoulder pad with balloons paper mached to it,popped and then painted. for the arm we used cornflour and water to get that `lumpy` look. but it started to flake and peel quite easily so we did a quick and nasty repair job with clingfilm and sellotape. the two hunters are meant to have boils on their limbs as well but we didn’t have enough time. we ripped up the purple shirt he has on to give the illusion of boils bursting from within his skin. the edges of the shirt are pinned to the cardboard. one detail I didn’t do was the smokers brand of underwear. he has tighty whitys with the fictitious brand `SKIVS` but that’s just a masochist level of attention to detail that and I don’t think Iain wouldn approve of me underwear shopping for him.
and of course,some face paints for the head,neck and shoulders.
okay now lets talk about the charger.slightly easier to create then the smoker but still pretty gruelling.the main prop is of course the oversized arm. it’s a combination of paper mache,foam and a hell of a lot of sellotape. initially we just wanted to spraypaint the cardboard once we made it. but it came out looking very odd. the spray painted sellotape contrasted with the cardboard so the only solution was to paper mache it and then spraypaint it again. when that worked Fabiene painted on some scars and scabs
disgusting attention to detail
the rest of swiss`s outfit was mostly fabrics.he pinned three sets of jeans together to make a fake pair of dungarees (harder to find then you would think) and he tore up his grey shirt to make a seamless join between his shoulder and arm which looks really good. and of course a large splattering of face paints. he doesn’t have yellow eyes or a bald head,but we do have the chargers most important asset 😀 a clunky,uncomfortable cardboard arm.
“he`s pounding me into shit!”
the charger is very rarely cosplayed and i can see why. the proportions are very tricky. luckily with swiss`s fluffing he managed to bulk up appropriately. we couldn’t find anyone to be a tank but we did have one other boss infected. our friend Lauren made herself a witch costume quite easily. the witch is easy to do but it has good results. I didn’t have much of a hand in creating this one so instead i`ll just show you lots of photos.
to get the nails she had to buy two sets of Halloween nails. the first ones were white plasticky ones which slipped onto the fingertips and then she superglued long black nails onto the top of those. she dipped the wig in blood to get the roots perfect and a fuckton of white face paints. she did a really good job 😀
and now to talk about everyone’s favourite parkour zombie. the hunter.
well that should be hunters. my roommates Ross and Jean Pierre both went as the hunter from the second game. the difference being that this one has torn clothes and boils on the skin. we didn’t have time for the boils but there’s always time to take a knife to a hoody and go postal on it 😉 hunters is probably the easiest special infected to do. all you need is a generous amount of fake blood and some duct tape.
we are all going to keep our costumes and props for next Halloween and any other circumstances which could call for them ( D-CON next year) and we will continue to refine it all untill our posse is perfect 😀 hope everyone had a good Halloween!
in case I forgot to give credit to anyone,heres everyone’s names
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