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Let There Be (Costume) Blood
Got a last-minute Halloween party or haunted house visit on the horizon but you don’t have a costume yet? Don’t be afraid. Take a recipe from the page of the stagecraft book and make some homemade blood to smear around. Depending on your bloody needs, you can make runny blood, viscous blood, “chunky” blood, even edible blood with items you already have in your cupboard.
Washable “Runny” Blood
Hopefully you’re not planning on wearing your nicest clothes to a Halloween party, but on the off chance you’d like to salvage some of your outfit later on, you’ll probably want to make a detergent-based blood. Start with a cup of hypo-allergenic, biodegradable liquid laundry detergent, and add a few drops of red food coloring then two drops of blue for a deeper color. To thicken you can also stir in some corn or tapioca starch. Makes good “splatter” blood for (old!) clothes, but not really appropriate for make-up since it tastes nasty and has a tendency to lather.
For the face you’ll want something completely nontoxic that doesn't taste too gross, in case you get it in your mouth. Taking a tip from Alfred Hitchcock, who used chocolate syrup for the famous shower scene of Psycho, we’ll mix some powdered cocoa into a simple syrup (boil one part sugar in one part water and let cool) or a store-bought syrup such as agave nectar, and add the same food coloring combination as above. The chocolate helps give your blood an opaque quality and a little bit of substance for smearing purposes.
Maybe you’re making prop blood which you don’t want to slop and run all over but stay in one place. Make a batch of wheatpaste by mixing two parts flour with four parts water and bringing to a slow boil, then stirring over low heat for up to half an hour, adding more water as needed. Let cool, then add color. Good for buckets, bowls, and puddles of blood.
Maybe your props require an extra dose of gross to really make them stand out. Use the basic washable or edible blood recipe then add chunky peanut butter for a splattered flesh effect, or the seedless innards of pumpkins for gutsy gore.