Without latex masks Halloween just would not be the same day. We would be stuck wearing sheets and those scratchy plastic masks with rubber bands to hold them to our faces. Our friends, just for fun, would painfully snap them to make us cry. At times, the sharp edges gave you lacerations. These masks gave a bad experience all around.
The Use of Latex Masks
Not everyone is a special effect artist. Perhaps we can't create great looking effects with a brush and some eye shadow. The next best thing to create a unique identity is the use of latex masks. We can enter a Spirit Halloween or Halloween Adventure store (even a Wal-Mart) and find high quality latex masks. The masks we choose will influence the type of costume we will eventually wear for our trick or treating and our parties so it's important to find a mask that we feel comfortable with.
Latex masks have been around for decades and vary greatly in design as well as quality; there are hundreds and possibly even thousands of latex masks you can buy. You just need to find them. A good idea is to use Google and run a search for these three keywords: latex masks Halloween and click search. You will be shocked at how much information there is available on latex masks let alone where to buy them any time of the year.
Latex Masks Halloween 411
All latex masks fall in to one of two categories:
- Slip on (or pull over) and
Slip on and pull over latex masks are the standard masks that you'll find at any store that sells products for Halloween. These include your standard political masks like George Bush, Bill Clinton, Senator Obama and the like. Freddie Krueger and Jason are also in this lot. These masks are made by taking the head of one lucky person and covering them with alginate and plaster bandages. When dry you have the beginning of a positive mold. Once you apply latex and add some sculpting you can then begin to produce latex masks that fit over most heads.
Application latex masks are much different besides being made nearly identically the same way. Application masks, also referred to as prosthetics, are additions to the normal features of a person. Creating the vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer for instance is an example of a prosthetic appliance. These masks are made from a latex material that remains pliable and soft to the touch. They are produced the same way as full head masks but are done in sections. You can get small pieces to add to your body like bite marks or you can get full face prosthetics as made by the Scream Team.
Each type of mask has pros and cons that go along with them that you should be aware of prior to purchasing:
Slip On Masks
- Full head latex masks are easy to wear
- 100% pre-painted
- They are cost effective being priced as low as $10 a mask (but can go over $150)
- Last a long time
- Hundreds of ideas to choose from which include actors, musicians, people from history
- They can be claustrophobic at times
- They can make you sweat and generally feel uncomfortable
- Very fake looking but an old favorite, Michael Myers, is only available in this style
- You can't eat in them
- Seeing out of the mask can be difficult
Latex Prosthetic Masks
- Very real looking
- Soft to the touch, natural
- Can use regular Halloween makeup on them
- Comfortable to wear like having a second skin
- Custom fit
- You can eat and talk naturally with it on
- Extra gory special effects can be used (like missing eyes and mouths that are sewn shut)
- Looks brilliant in pictures
- Professionally sculpted in limited numbers
- More unique
- Short lifespan
- Have to use spirit gum or liquid latex (sometimes together and at times with face puddy) to apply
- Minimum cost on average is $40 to $50
- Minimal selection which varies from company to company and all are mostly monster or gore based
People that have an allergic reaction to latex will most likely not be able to wear either style of latex mask depending on their level of sensitivity. Silicone masks are latex-free but are very expensive to purchase. Even a zombie mask can sell as high as $580. To avoid the high cost of silicone you can invest in several products on the market that can make wearing latex wearable, such as barrier spray.