Spooky special effects


Paige Varady (9) dresses as a zombie and pretends to bite a fake foot. Varady made sure that just the right amount of fake blood was used on her makeup.

Sabina Solarczyk, Author

Most students become infatuated with horror, haunts and Halloween during October, and Paige Varady (9) takes the spook to the extreme.

“My mom does a lot of special effects, and I got really interested. I also met all these cool people from ‘Face Off’, [who] inspired me to do [special effects makeup],” Varady said.

Every year, Varady attends Days of the Dead, a convention that involves meeting horror stars and special effects makeup artists, attending horror-themed parties, participating in contests and watching horror films.

“I met a couple of people from ‘Face Off’, like Stephanie Masco. She goes to Days of the Dead a lot. She does makeup there, and I got my makeup done by her before,” Varady said.

Putting together a SFX makeup look is more than just applying liquid latex and adding some scab blood. Planning a look takes effort. Being able to see how someone starts with a blank face and turns it into something that looks like it’s out of a horror film can be unreal.

“It’s really cool to see how everything gets put together. [The look] starts off as just a piece of goop on your face, then turns into a realistic scratch or gunshot. I like becoming someone different. Special effects makeup makes you feel like a completely different person,” Varady said.

According to Varady, there are many branches of SFX makeup. Some people prefer using prosthetics to make it look like they just crawled out of an episode of ‘The Walking Dead’, while others may enjoy transforming themselves into woodland fairies. Whatever makeup looks an artist decides to do is all up to preference.

“Just find your creative style. Try to practice and play around with special effects. You’ll find your style eventually,” Varady said.