My friend and I decided about 1.5 weeks before Halloween that we wanted to dress up to go out. I was looking for costume ideas on the internet and had a thought to use paper mache for a costume. While exploring this idea, I decided that I wanted to try to dress up as Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, so I told my friend that she needed to dress up as Sally.

I started planning my Jack Skellington Halloween costume that night, knowing that I did not have much time. I made my head out of paper mache. I didn’t think that the head would be big enough if I used a balloon, so I walked around my house trying to figure out what I could use. I also decided that there was going to be one more problem…I’m only 5’8”, and my friend is 5’11” tall. I wanted her to wear flat shoes, but she wanted to wear heels, so she did end up wearing 2” heels. So as I thought there, thinking, I decided to make my head using a garbage bag full of socks and underwear. I figured they were small enough that I could later remove them through a small hole in the bottom of the head. I also decided that I was going to make a long neck with the paper mache as well, so I would appear taller than my friend (and it helped that Jack has a long neck).

To start my project, I filled the garbage bag until it was as full as I wanted it to be, then wrapped it in aluminum foil to attempt to take out some of the bumps. I layered the paper mache on the top half, and then when dry, on the bottom half. I left a hole large enough to place my hand in to pull out the clothes when completed. I repeated this process until I had enough layers on the head so that it would not collapse. When it was completely dried, I cut the bottom of the bag and removed the clothing. I then used a large pitcher, wrapped with hand towels & aluminum foil, to form a base for a paper mache neck that I would actually be looking out of, and I paper mached the head on top of the pitcher. I kept the handle of the pitcher on the front, because I intended to cut an area of the neck to see through. For the final layer of paper mache, I used white computer paper so that painting would be easier. When it was completed I removed the pitcher and the entire thing weighted approximately 1-1.5 lbs.

I cut out a section of the neck and covered it with a piece of white veil material so that I could see out of it, but it still gave the image that it was my neck. I spray painted the entire thing white, then used black outdoor wood paint to paint the eyes, nose, and mouth. I cut out a bow tie using solid black material, and sewed the pinstripes on with white thread and a sewing machine. I cut the bow tie jagged like the bat wings, but due to a lack of time, I was unable to make the bats face.

I already had black pinstripe pants, but was unable to find a jacket to wear. At this point I started to panic and decided to take my solid black jacket, and sew the pinstripes on as I did with the bow tie; it worked out very well. I attached elastic to the bowtie and intended to wear it around my neck, but on Halloween, I decided that it looked much better to put the bow tie between Jack’s head and neck. I wore white gloves and black shoes and had a bit of a chunky heel, because I was still a bit worried about not being taller than Sally.

For Sally’s costume, my friend purchased a dress from a Good Will store and turned it inside out, cut it, and used acrylic paint to paint the patches and stitches to make it look like Sally’s dress. She purchased a blond wig and attempted to dye it red, but this was not successful since it was not real hair. She then added orange spray paint to the final result of the dyed wig, which actually turned out pretty well. She took a pair of white socks and sewed black and white stripes onto them to have striped socks, and wore black high heels. We mixed white, blue, and black Halloween makeup to cover her skin with and give her the clay look. I then used black eyeliner to place stitch lines on her skin.

It was a super cheap Halloween and a lot of fun.

Jack Skellington Costume

Jack Skellington Costume