How to Make a Death from ‘Sandman’ Halloween Costume
As the root of all fear, Death is essentially a perfect Halloween costume. Just because you want to embody life's end doesn't mean you have to don traditional grim reaper garb and look like the dude who lost to Bill and Ted at Battleship, though.
Neil Gaiman's Death of the Endless cheers up the concept quite nicely and, given her chic and contemporary ensemble, inspires an easy-to-achieve costume fans can make from items they may already own. We've brought in cosplay expert Bethany Fong (who also authored our Ramona Flowers and Scott Pilgrim costume tutorials) to guide you through the process of making a Death costume, explained step-by-step after the jump.
Step 1: Hair
Although Death's hair has been represented by a small range of styles, from a thick and straight coif to a teased-out wiry nest of curls and waves, the key to achieving this look is volume and layered hair. Style your hair with volumnizing mousse and blow-dry your hair upside down accordingly. Once dry, tease and spray the hair at the crown for extra volume, and feel free to straighten or slightly curl the ends of your hair with a flattening/curling iron. For those of you who are looking for an easier styling solution, purchase a black layered wig with side bangs (like this black wig) and style it into Death's signature coif (note: because wig fibers are often synthetic, you cannot use curling/flattening irons for styling. To style your wig safely and effectively, check out these wig styling tips on Cosplay.com). Furthermore, be wary of purchasing wigs that are described as "goth/rocker" wigs for your Death costume, as they are usually styled and cut as unflattering '80s mullets with extremely thinned out ends.
Step 2: Makeup
-- Face: Start off with a clean face and apply a thin layer of makeup primer on your entire face and neck. In order to achieve a slightly more natural pale complexion, apply Dear Bloody Mary's White Heat Pressed Powder with a large powder brush all over your face and neck for complete coverage; feel free to apply a light dusting of white powder over your shoulders, chest, and arms as well.
-- Eyes: Take a black eyeliner pencil (or a liquid eyeliner pen) and draw a thick cat-eye line on the top eyelid. Line the bottom lash-line with black eyeliner pencil, and smudge the edges of the eyeliner slightly. Under the lined lash-line of your right eye, carefully draw a small Eye of Horus spiral with your eyeliner pencil/pen.
-- Lips: While Death is almost always seen with black lipstick, I suggest trying a more wearable dark purple hue (such as Revlon's Va Va Violet) or a dark red; if you feel so inclined, you can make your lipstick a couple shades darker by blending in a swipe of black lipstick.
Step 3: All dressed in black, black, black...
Death's monochromatic ensembles are visually effective, and yet simple enough to recreate from items in your closet and basics, even if you don't typically dress like a bubbly goth girl every day.
-- Black camisole/tank top: You can find a basic black camisole tank top at virtually any clothing store. However, I'm partial to coordinating a versatile long body-con tank top (like this one from Forever 21) into my Death-inspired outfits, as it coordinates easily with black pants, a black skirt, or can even be worn as a mini-dress.
-- Black skinny jeans/pants: Death usually wears a pair of black slim-fitting jeans or pants, which are available at most clothing stores. Alternatively, Death occasionally appears in a black multi-tiered/ruffled skirt, which you can pair up with a pair of opaque black tights.
-- Boots: Any pair of black combat boots with shoelaces and/or buckles will do, like this pair from Hot Topic.
Step 4: Accessories
-- Ankh pendant: One of Death's signature accessories is her large ankh necklace. You can get your own ankh pendant from Etsy or eBay, or you can easily make a plastic ankh pendant out of shrinky dink paper (here's a great shrinky dink pendant tutorial) and spray paint the pendant silver after it's done baking.
-- Grommet belt: Death is always adorns her outfits with a black grommet or studded belt. You can find a classic black two-row grommet belt at Torrid, but for those of you who are looking for an updated take on the grommet belt, Forever 21 has a great black stretch belt with large silver grommets, which Death herself would deem "peachy keen."
-- Black gloves: You should be able to find a pair of black wrist-length gloves at your local costume shop or on Amazon.
-- Studded wristbands: Hot Topic has a great selection of studded wristbands!
-- Black umbrella: a standard, plain black umbrella with a long hooked handle will do. Though if you want to be fancy, check out your local thrift and vintage/consignment shops for a black floral parasol.