Latex Halloween masks make for some of the most fun, creative and creepy costumes, but they do require a bit of finesse to make them be all they can be.
The beauty of latex masks lies in their wide variety and larger-than-life detailing. The bane of them is what they typically look like when first taken out of the box. How are you going to be the scariest werewolf ever when your snout bends to the left, there's a crease running up your forehead, and one eye is caved in?
Follow these tips to make sure your latex mask is going to look and fit exactly how you want.
Dealing with Folds, Creases and Bends
If you’re serious about making your mask the sensation you know it can be (you bought it because you fell in love with it, right?), then you’re going to need to bring on the heat!
Stuff the entire head with paper until the mask resembles want you want the end result to look like. This is important because it is during the cooling process that the latex actually takes on its new shape. Using a hairdryer, apply heat to each trouble area for a few minutes. The heat will soften the latex and make it more willing to bend to a new shape. Be careful – the latex gets extremely hot to the touch. NEVER wear the mask while applying heat!
For parts that are bent to one side (noses, mouths, etc.), you may need to use a ruler to keep them straight while heat is being applied and also while the mask is cooling. This additional support will encourage the latex to keep its new direction. Allow the mask to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Sizing the Mask
Although most latex masks are created as “one size fits all,” this rarely ends up being the case. If the mask is too large and the eyeholes do not meet up with your eyes, then fill out the extra space with foam, plastic bags, or paper until you are able to see out of the mask.
If the mask is too small, then extend the slit in the back of the mask with an X-acto knife or a small pair of scissors. Cut the slit up one half inch at a time and keep trying on the mask until it fits. Once it fits to your satisfaction, use a paper hole-puncher and punch a hole at the top of the slit. This will prevent the slit from running any further.
Most latex masks intentionally come with eyeholes that are very small and it may seem impossible to properly see out of the mask. While some people have no trouble at all with the default eyehole size, most of us will not be so fortunate. Impaired vision can be a total buzzkill if you’re supposed to be some creepy creature but you’re fumbling about, trying not to bump into things! To correct this issue, use a small pair of scissors and trim the eyehole cuts a little bigger. Go slowly and cut sparingly, trying on the mask frequently until you are happy with your ability to see.
If you find yourself with a mask where the eyeholes are too big and people can actually see your eyes (thus robbing you of the joy of being completely anonymous and threatening), you can fix this in one of two ways:
Use black face paint around your eyes to cover up any exposed skin.
Personally, I recommend the second option, as the black-out mask is guaranteed to not smudge, smear, or make a mess inside the latex mask.
Now that you’ve smoothed out all the creases, fixed any bends, fitted the mask so it stays snugly in place and lets you see out of it, you’re ready to go and scare the daylights out of your friends! Happy haunting!