I absolutely LOVE Halloween and enjoy making my own costumes every year! This year was no exception and I won first place at a costume contest! I don’t know if it was my costume, tongue, or karaoke performance (I sang “Beth”) that won the crowd over, but it was so much fun and truly an unforgettable experience!!
For my Gene Simmons KISS costume, I started with the outfit. Since I wasn’t sold on any of the Kiss eras’ wardrobes, I went with my own rendition vs. trying to replicate…not to mention that I was working with a $20 budget! Thrift store finds got me the choker (it’s actually a headband), pants, and top for $5 total. I already had the wig, boots, jacket and camisole in my closet. The jacket is actually another Goodwill find from a previous year (see my Michael Jackson Thriller entry on this website–made the jacket from red and black duct tape) and repurposed.
Once the base of my wardrobe was determined, I went to the dollar store to find accessories and embellishments. A random spool of “bling” caught my eye. Next stop was to Walmart for $.98 tubes of halloween face makeup and fabric tape. I used both the creme tubes and oil-based pallets for application. Ben Nye or similar theatre makeup products probably would’ve worked better but, again, I was working with a $20 budget. A roll of fabric tape and 4 paints set me back $7.
I cut the ribbon into strips to create the KISS letters and front embellishments. Attached them to the jacket using the fabric tape.
While randomly out shopping one hot summer day, I came across a Party City store going out of business. Found an inflatable guitar in the 80s aisle for $3. At the time, I had no idea when/what I would use it for, but SO glad that I decided to buy it! Boy did it come in handy months later!
The guitar was mostly a funky light gray and white color. Definitely DID NOT scream KISS…or any iconic rock band, for that matter. Black duct tape to the rescue!! Back to the dollar store for duct tape and foam board. I also used the duct tape on a cloth, pants belt to make the guitar strap. Foam board and 2 rolls of duct tape totaled $3.
A mild case of Friday night insomnia–or excitement for Saturday’s Halloween events–resulted in watching YouTube tutorials for makeup application and practice in the mirror. Nailed it on the 2nd try!!
Lastly, the most important thing that most people forget about with Gene Simmons’ costumes is the red tongue. It truly makes or breaks the entire look. Gene uses Lifesavers and sucks on them for hours. I used powder from a Hawaiian Punch single pack and let it dissolve directly on my tongue while applying my makeup. It will cause you to salivate A LOT so have a spit cup handy!
Construction/Prep: 2-3 hrs
Brainstorming, shopping, and standing in ridiculously long Walmart lines (ALWAYS!!): 24-48 hrs
Results: first place contest win and an AMAZING experience!!