Monday, November 2, 2015

Crazy Crafty: Where the BEAUTY At?!!

Isn't it cute how beautiful people get to use Halloween as an excuse to play at being unattractive, charmingly dabbling in the seedy underbelly of the genetic lottery, casually day-tripping to the underworld of the grotesque in which the rest of us ugly mugs are forced to exist everyday?  In direct contrast, we are left to exploit the holiday for its democratizing properties, sprucing ourselves up just enough to timidly step out of the shadows, hoping that our efforts to improve will at least be met halfway by their sweet attempts to slum it.  Feeling fairly confident this Halloween, I was still taken aback when a friend actually remarked that I looked "handsome" in my costume.  So don't be at all surprised when I trade-in my signature specs for a turban!

Screen-captured PROOF!
Although I did such a stellar job at blurring things out, the possibility
remains that I might have left the comment on my own Facebook post.

Seriously, if it means wearing fifteen pounds of costume jewelry, donning a scant amount of eyebrow pencil, and fumbling around in a state of legal-blindness to make me look like a passable human being, I will just have to do it.  But exerting so much energy on my own appearance would leave me entirely unable to pursue other projects; such was the case when it came time to think about Mary's costume.  Usually, all of my creativity is focused on designing her costume, using whatever energy remains to throw something together for myself in the few days leading up to Halloween.  This year, however, I began with mine, completely burned out by the time I was done.  I used the distraction of a pumpkin patch to casually mention to Mary that she was on her own for a costume.  Just as I was explaining my utter lack of motivation, she bet on the winning piglet at the pig races.

In the form of a rubber pig nose, Mary won Halloween inspiration.
As soon as she donned her prize, we knew that when it came to this
year's costume, beauty would definitely be in the "Eye of the Beholder."  

While to me every episode of The Twilight Zone is essentially the same (anxiety inducing in its heavy-handed dramatic irony), even I am able remember a few standouts.  The star of TTZ's second season was entitled "Eye of the Beholder;" in it, a young woman recovers in a hospital room from a final surgical attempt to make her look "normal."  As the bandages are unwound, a lovely face emerges (not only free, in typical television fashion, from bruising/scars/stitches but also attractively made-up).  Strangely horrified by the results, she flees from the room as the "normal" faces of the hospital staff are revealed.

The beautiful people
Every day is "Opposite Day" when you're in The Twilight Zone.

On the basis that an early-'60s nurse's uniform could easily be pulled together from the contents of her closet, I committed to crafting a mask for Mary inspired by the characters in "Eye of the Beholder."  Starting from scratch was unrealistic, so I picked up a mask from the dollar store to use as a base.

Except for the ears, the feline face already had lines
reminiscent of old Florence Swine-tengale (above).

Trimming down a pig nose and sawing off a cat's ears was nearly enough to have me jump ship as a moderate carnivore and swim to the island of vegan delights - almost.  After the basic remodel, it was time to build up some of the broader contours of the face.

Tools of the trade

After removing the choice, tiger-print spandex from the mask, I built up a
topography of unadulterated ugly using paper straws, hot glue, and papier-
To smooth things out and fill in the nooks and crannies, I employed
ordinary household spackle (also found at the dollar store).  My work was
finished with a couple coats of craft paint.

Mary took over by using things in her make-up bag to add some shading/depth/repulsion.  Falling decidedly in the "inspired-by" rather than "faithful-reproduction" category, in the end, I believe our mask was a success.

Proven by the impact of Mary's dramatically-lit, Halloween-night selfie

For all the work I usually put in, my favorite costumes are often the last-minute, homemade
jobs; Mary's wearing all her own clothes and the nurse's cap is just a folded piece of paper. 

Failing to take any pictures of the mask-building process or of our Halloween festivities, I wasn't sure that I had enough material to warrant a blog post.  My hesitation, however, was no match for the insistence of our pal, Kimmie, at That Girl the Wheelchair - and I quote, "I need a blog post about this.  Now."  Here you go, Kimmie; thanks for the kick in the pants!!!

"Eye of the Beholder" from The Twilight Zone (1960) 

I hope your Halloween was enjoyable and that it too left you pondering the meaning of beauty, reexamining the importance we place on it in our society.  I hope you understand that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  I hope you remember that we are all capable of an internal beauty, a beauty that will shine through whatever genetic shortcomings we feel we may have.  Okay, not really.  More than anything, I hope you ate so many treats that your Reese's hangover was as bad as ours!


Mr. Tiny


  1. Yay! I am so happy! I am seriously excited to learn the making of (Behind the music style) of Mary's costume. As a huge Twilight Zone enthusiast, I was beyond excited to see her costume. I audibly gasped. Next year, you need to make her the "thing on the wing or that bobble head future teller devil that william shatner plays with at that diner. I really could go on and on with costume concepts all the livelong day. Kudos and thanks for indulging my requests!

    1. Everybody in my family loves The Twilight Zone...except for me. It gives me so much anxiety. I feel that enough goes wrong in life without the fickle finger of Rod Serling issuing his ironic brand of fate. Sometimes I identify so closely (too closely maybe) with the guy who just wants to be left alone so he can read; as soon as he gets his wish, he breaks his glasses. Sure, he was kind of a jerk but couldn't we cut him a break and just let him read?! He just wanted to read!!!! All that being said, I'm glad to have gotten the seal of approval from a true TTZ fan!

    2. That's my mom's favorite episode. She feels that librarian's pain. I love shows that make me anxious and haunt my dreams. I used to be a huge enthusiast of Tales from The Crypt and Outer Limits too! If only those aired in rerun!! Every New Year's Day, I watch a twilight zone marathon to start the year off weird...I guess

    3. I think I'm the weird one. I just like total escapist fare. Everybody will be watching the Twilight Zone marathon in one room and I'll be in the other room watching Gidget & The Flying Nun. Maybe I just have a thing for Sally Field!

  2. You are the sultan of style, the king of kitsch, the prince of pop art.

    1. Little ol' me? I'm not sure if I'm deserving of the praise...but I'll take it! Thank you!!!

  3. Thanks for the episode!! You did a fantastic job of making Mary's mask. As a fan of Face Off, I truly appreciate your efforts!!!

    1. Thanks, RS!!! I hope you had a Happy Halloween'

  4. Being thee ultimate Twilight Zone fan I think this is amazing and genius, Chris!

    I'm telling you, you and my wife would be BFFs if you got to know each other. She also finds TTZ anxiety-inducing and prefers Gene Kelly and Hayley Mills...

    Great job once again Chris!

    1. Thanks, pal! Tell her that I am ready to party anytime. Which is to say, I'm ready to have a quiet day full of old movies and baked goods anytime. Hahaha!!!

    2. That sounds like her kind of day! Throw on some Keely Smith and Dick Haymes on the turntables and you're ready to party down!

  5. it turned out so nicely! i always have grand plans for my halloween costume but usually i run out of time and slap something together.
    i get too much anxiety from scary/tense things too! all my friends will go see a scary movie and I'll stay home and watch project runway reruns. that is enough tension for me!

    1. Thank you! If I am going to watch something scary/unnerving, I have to do it waaaaaay before bedtime. I don't have nightmares related to the show; I have major anxiety dreams about life. I guess I'm already kind of anxious and don't need to fuel the fire! You looked great on Halloween - major points for the commitment to body paint!