Making herself and others into monsters and zombies had been just a hobby of Vanessa Ward of Skkull Queen Makeup, until people hired her to do their makeup for corporate parties and as head makeup artist for Insanity Point Haunted House.
Vanessa taught herself the art of monster makeup with trial and error and some help from makeup artists on Instagram and YouTube. Brayden, her husband makes all her prosthetics. He saw that she had a talent and encouraged her to pursue it beyond a hobby. “Brayden has always been into Halloween,” says Vanessa, “When we found each other it became an explosion of creativity from our first Halloween together. We just try to outdo ourselves each year. Halloween is our Christmas. Our house is decorated for Halloween all year long.”
She named herself Skkull Queen after all the skulls she has in her house. “We have skulls everywhere: lights, napkins, towels, placemats and all over,” says Vanessa.
The scariest and most difficult costume they have made has been Krampus. According to Smithsonian’s online magazine, in Germany Krampus is Santa’s cloven-hooved, child-whipping demon sidekick. Legend has it that he “snatches up the worst behaved children, stuffs them into a bag and then carries them off to his mountain lair.” This legend has been traced back at least 400 years. This makes a stocking full of coal seem like a nice gift.
“I get inspiration from the weirdest stuff; vintage clothing, horror movies, and a used shower loofah,” says Vanessa, “My mother-in-law doesn’t throw anything away before showing it to me. Her used loofah made the perfect ruffled neck.” Liquid latex, gelatin, cotton balls, fresh scab blood, water base makeup, cream paints and costume contact lenses are her usual tools. She also sews most of her costumes.
“I think the best thing is that this hobby of mine is paying off even though people in high school thought it wasn’t cool to be weird,” says Vanessa.
Working on a movie set is Vanessa’s dream job. Her many creations can be found on her Instagram page, @skkullqueen_makeup.