Halloween Latex Mask Tips
A few years ago, I completely gutted the Costume Closet in my studio. I removed every bin, every costume, every accessory and took stock of what was where and if it was still needed and desired. It took a while as I am a master at Tetris when it comes to stuffing that closet. I’m so good at it that sometimes things disappear into the depths. One such group of MIA costume items was the latex masks.
When I came upon them, I had that moment of “oh, yeah, I forgot I had those.” (Does anyone else do that, or is it just me?) Most of the masks were in great condition, just as I would want them to be. But, a couple didn’t fare so well as I did not store them properly. So, I wanted to let you in on a few tips that might help you avoid ruining your mask.
Tip 1: Test Drive Your Mask
Try on your mask before your party. Better yet, try it on in-store before you purchase it. Masks are a one-size-fits-most costume piece, and they will fit each person a little differently.
Tip 2: Check The Optics
Slip on your mask and make sure you have a clear line of vision. If not, using small, sharp scissors, carefully enlarge the eye area slits. Trim a little at a time and try on as you go.
Use this same technique to enlarge slits in the nostrils and mouth areas if needed for better ventilation.
Tip 3: Low Rider
Some masks, especially over-sized pieces, sit low, causing your eyes to line up with the mask’s forehead. To remedy this situation, you will need some foam (such as upholstery or project foam) and rubber cement. Trim the foam and place it up inside the mask at the top of the head. You can use painter’s tape to hold it in place as you try on your mask and make adjustments. Once satisfied with the fit, use rubber cement to secure.
Alternatively, I’ve also seen bladder control pads used in place of foam. (I am not even kidding.) This option should work well for masks that only need a bit of lift. The bonus is that the pads come with adhesive, and you can remove them.
Tip 4: Colossal Cranium
If you are stuck at Tip 1 because you can’t even get the mask over your enormous egg, we’ve got a tip for that.
Turn your mask to the back. If the mask has a slit, all we need to do is extend it. Again, grab those small, sharp scissors and carefully lengthen the slit. Cut a small amount at a time and use caution when trying on the mask. You don’t want to pull and tear the slit.
Once the slit is the correct length for your noggin, trim to make a circle or use a hole punch at the top of your cut. This circle will keep the slit from extending further.
Some full-over-the-head masks do not have a slit, so you will need to create one. Locate the center back and trim your slit, again ending with a circle.
Tip 5: It's Like A Sauna!
At some point during your party or haunted house shift, you may be rethinking the whole mask thing. It can get a bit balmy inside, but many mask lovers find the pain is worth the shrieks, screams, and squeals.
Before you store your mask, you will need to give it a quick clean-up. Most mask manufacturers will tell you that all you need is some diluted mild dish soap. Dip a paper towel into the soapy water and gently wipe the mask interior around the eyes, nose, and mouth areas. Let your mask dry completely before storing it.
Tip 6: The Party's Over
Now, what should we do with our mask? Well, don’t just toss it into the trunk of your car until next season. Instead, take your clean mask (see Tip 5) and gently stuff it with some paper or plastic grocery sacks. You don’t need to fill the entire mask or overstuff it. You just need enough to hold the shape.
Slip your stuffed mask into a plastic bag and place it in a cool dark spot, such as a closet.
I can now say that all of our masks are properly stuffed, bagged, and easy to find inside the Costume Closet. I hope that these Halloween latex mask tips will help you safely manage your masks as well.