Howdy QLife readers! So, I'm going to be real with you. I know a thing or two about Halloween in Vegas. For the past 10 years I have run Skin City Body Painting - the biggest Body Painting company in the country - located right here in the Las Vegas Arts District! (Wait, we have an Arts District? Yes. Yes we do.) Last Halloween, Skin City’s large staff of artists had the honor of painting a record 125 people over the course of the 4-day Halloween weekend. It was epic! It was madness! We all had paint-stained hands and glitter stuck in our hair for days afterwards! I'm also a judge on the hit body painting competition show Skin Wars. (If you haven't checked it out yet – it's currently streaming on Netflix.)
I have painted countless Halloween costumes and watched many people's fantasy looks come to life before my eyes on this most hallowed of eves. So here are a few tips to get you started putting together YOUR best Halloween costume yet!
Tip #1: Concept Is Key
THIS MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU MAKE ALL YEAR. OK, it’s probably not, but hey - people take Halloween seriously in this town! I have friends who plan their costumes months in advance. Oh, you're not that kind of person? You're the type that frantically pulls random shit out of your closet while your friends get drunk in your living room yelling, "Can we call the Uber yet?!" I get it. Some people are masters at these last-minute thrown-together looks, but me, I like some planning. Soooo… what are you going to be??? What inspires you, what makes you laugh, what fantasy do you want to live for a night? What's your favorite pop-culture reference or icon? Who is your hero? Who or what have you seen too damn much of on the Internet? Do you dare to get political? The possibilities are endless, but when you land on that idea that's just right for you and your special night in Vegas, eureka! You will KNOW it.
Tip #2: Mash It Up?
Indecisive? Can't choose between Disney or Game of Thrones? Why not be Jon Snow White then? Just remember not everyone will get it, but hey, figuring out what the hell your costume is supposed to be can be a great conversation starter. Don’t get frustrated by the ignorance of the masses though! The more nerdy and obscure your concept gets, the less likely it is that anyone is going to be able to guess it. But if someone from across a crowded room walks right up to you with a huge smile and correctly guesses you are “Frankensteinfurter”, it is QUITE possible that you have just met your soul mate.
Tip #3: It's All In The Details:
Now get to work! Visualize your costume. Go to bed dreaming about it. Imagine all the little details that will make you fun to look at. I like to think of a great costume as a gift you give to everyone who sees you. Search on Amazon or head to Michael's Craft store or even Home Depot to grab everything you need in advance. Consider everything. What about your hair, your makeup, your jewelry? What about lashes or costume contact lenses? (FYI it is illegal in the state of Nevada to sell costume contacts unless you are an optometrist. So - I don't care what a great deal you got at the swap meet - these are your EYES we're talking about, so don't mess with them! Get safe, legal ones here: www.SkinCityBodyPainting.com/shop) But let’s get practical for a minute. What are you going to carry to hold your keys and phone in? I have a friend who always answers, “My hand.” That friend usually ends up phone-less and locked out of his apartment. Can I give a massive shout out to the mini-backpack or the much-derided fanny pack here? Can you decorate one to match your costume? I promise you will thank me later as you bump and grind hands-free at the club. Finally: what shoes will you wear? I know those stilettos look AMAZING with your costume, but do yourself a favor and decorate some flip-flops that also match and stash them in your bag for when your feet just can't take it anymore. Remember, the Vegas Strip is 7 miles long!
Tip #4: To Contest or Not To Contest:
Now that your costume kicks some serious ass, should you enter one of the many lucrative costume contests advertised at nightclubs all over the Strip? Well - this depends on a couple factors. Number one: will you enjoy being at this particular club regardless of how long it takes? Sometimes these Halloween contests happen in rounds, and entering one can be a commitment of many hours or even all night in one place. Do you think you might get squirrelly and want to party-hop? In that case, a contest might not be for you. Number two: how disappointed will you be if you don't win? There's a lot of money to be made at these, and the bigger the prize, the tougher the competition. But sometimes the best costume in the place will lose to a crowd-pleasing pair of tits who brought ALL their friends to cheer them on. Most costume contests are based on applause, so have no delusions: it’s all a big popularity contest. If you're prepared for those two factors, then go for it! We have had our body-painted models win lots of moola. One of our regular clients, a frequently painted couple we love, won the "You are the Headliners" costume contest at EDC - which got them backstage VIP passes and helicopter rides to and from the event for the remaining two days of the festival. We also had a gorgeous Elvis in a painted jumpsuit win a $10,000 check (handed over by Snooki herself) at Pure Nightclub. (FYI Pure is Omnia now, try and keep up!) Even if you don’t win anything, you will win the love of everyone who stops you for a photo. Oh yeah, be prepared for it taking WAY longer than it should to get anywhere, as you stop to take pictures with all your adoring fans. In THAT costume, Honey, you will be a star for a night!
Tip #5: Taxi! Uber! And Lyft! Oh, my!
Don't even think about driving on Halloween. It's not just that parking and traffic are going to be a bitch all over town. Let's just be honest. You want to get wasted, right? I mean, you worked for hours, for days, for months on that amazing costume! You want to come home with it torn, with missing pieces, and with your carefully applied makeup smeared all over your face from making out with strangers, right? So be safe, don't drive, and have the time of your life out there.
It's Vegas, Baby. Happy Halloween!
Model: Tyler Froehlich
Bodypaint Artist: Robin Slonina at Skin City Studio
Assistant: Bella Herrera
Photographer: Papa LRG
Location: fresh wata