We tend to be greatly unsettled by photographs of vintage Halloween and the handmade nondescript masks. Why is that? It seems to be something inherent in us to need to see details of faces.
I'm reminded of the Michael Myers mask and why it was so effective. A simple store-bought mask of William Shatner, painted white, and it became one of the most terrifying visages ever!
What is he feeling? Who is he looking at? Is he smiling under that? Is he plotting something? The very vagueness of features leaves a mind to fill in the blanks. That is what true horror demands. It's not what is shown creaking the floorboards in the hallway, it's the sounds of someone in the home that makes the movie goer fill in the blanks with whatever their greatest fear would be.
This is the same issue with clown faces. They are painted on and inauthentic, perpetually smiling, and that is unnatural too. What is going on under that clown paint?
Let's have a look at some vintage homemade masks and consider how very robotic and unemotional they seem. We can't tell what the faces should represent and so our minds fill it in. Couple that with the fact you have no idea what the person behind the blank face is thinking and, true terror erupts....
Suggested supplies for making your own masks -
Brown paper bags, paper mache, a cheap drugstore-bought mask with a string spray painted, yarn, pillowcases, muslin, cloth flour bags, paper gift bags, muslin, cheesecloth, twine, burlap.
A great use for this would be to fill a box with scrap fabrics, simple sewn sacks, scarves, coats, hats, and plain fabric/paper masks. Allow guests to choose items and put them on for a vintage Halloween party that creeps everyone out! And don't forget your vintage decor -