Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween costume

I had a few Halloween events this year, and thought it would be fun to make a costume. I bought some outlandish hats (who, moi?) at Value Village, but instead of using any of them I opted for a rather sinister look in dressing as a medieval plague doctor.

Here's what I came up with, using an old trenchcoat, my elderly "Indiana Jones" model fedora (didn't have a black hat), and the mask was made from a generic plastic mask from Wallack's Art Supply, to which I fastened a beak made from cardboard, tape, and some black fleece fabric. I'd like to make a better mask next time, preferably out of leather like the original ones. But this did the trick:

(thanks to RealGrouchy for the photo).

Yes, I know it also looks like Black Spy from Mad Magazine...

I wore this first for a Halloween party of the Monday dance class for which I do music accompaniment, then for a 'Ween night ride with HPVOoO friends, then later on to a party at my neighbour's place. It seemed to creep people out, so it had the desired effect. But it was NOT a good thing to wear while riding a bike...

The plague doctor wore what could be called the first hazmat gear. It was thought that the plague was spread through the air, and so he was covered from had to toe. The hat was what all doctors wore in the day (an identifier, much like a chef's hat), and the clothing was coated with wax to keep anything from sticking to it.

The beak of the mask was stuffed with herbs and camphor to act as a sort of gas mask, and while it of course did nothing to stop non-existent plague vapours it probably at least helped cover up the smell of dying and dead people. The creepy look also served as a warning to people, per a comment I found: "The Plague Doctor's appearance was actually meant to strike fear into the populace. There was no mass communication at the time and his appearance sent the message - 'Stay in your homes - plague is here. You may be dead within days.' It was a form of crowd control, basically."

1 comment:

jason said...

Thanks, now I will have nightmares for weeks.