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How to Make the Definitive Mummy Halloween Costumes
No curses required.
The story of a mummy's curse has been told dozens of times for every conceivable audience, but other than perhaps the original Universal Monster, no on-screen rendition is more definitive than Stephen Sommers’ 1999 action adventure classic, The Mummy (now streaming on Peacock). The story follows librarian and Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and rough-around-the-edges adventurer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frazer) on a search for the lost (fictional) city of Hamunaptra.
While there, they encounter the mummified remains of Imhotep and the Book of the Dead, triggering an ancient curse with the whole world in the balance. Mummies are such effective monsters because they used to be people, robbed of their eternal rest and fueled by an ancient dark magic. We can see how easily we might be in their place, given the right ancient rites and a few thousand years of patience. Mummies make excellent Halloween costumes for the same reasons; all you really need to do is make yourself look super-duper dead.
Creating the Movie Mummy
For The Mummy and its subsequent sequels, the filmmakers went for a blend of digital effects and more classic, physical effects. The titular mummy, Imhotep, was largely crafted on computers after the fact. Actor Arnold Vosloo performed scenes in person, then his face was mapped and laid over with his mummified form in various states of decomposition, depending on the needs of the scene.
Many of the fight sequences were also created digitally, with Frazer acting out his portions in an empty room and digital mummies slotted in during postproduction. There were, however, some physical (albeit fictional) mummies on the set. Director Stephen Sommers has said that Imhotep’s priests were an opportunity to be a little more playful and wink back to the 1932 Boris Karloff film.
All of which is to say, if you want a truly “authentic” costume of the Mummy, you might need access to Hollywood quality practical and digital effects. The good news is we can get you pretty close with some relatively approachable DIY methods.
Making the Perfect Mummy Costume for Halloween (or anytime!)
You could always just wrap yourself up in as much gauze as you can get your hands on and call it a day, but if you want something a little more effective, we’ve got you covered. Hold onto that gauze, you’re going to need it.
You’re also going to need liquid latex, white tissue paper, cotton swabs, and face paint. Always make sure to test latex, paints, and anything else you plan to apply, on a small piece of skin before proceeding. There is some risk of allergic reaction, please costume responsibly.
The real trick to an effective mummy costume isn’t the bindings, but what you can see through the bindings. To get that ancient, desiccated skin look that’s so in during the Halloween season, you’ll first apply a small amount of latex to your skin in the desired location. Target places you plan to be visible through your wrappings.
While the latex is still wet, apply a piece of tissue paper or cotton and smoosh it into place until it has the desired gross skin appearance. Repeat that process until you have all of the disgusting mummy skin you want. Make sure to avoid your mouth, nose, eyes, and eyebrows. Once your skin is finished, you’ll want to paint it for that authentic dehydrated look. Experiment with shades of brown, gray, green, and yellow until you find the right combination and you’re almost set. Now it’s time to get dressed.
For the wrappings, start with a few rolls of gauze and get them nice and dirty. Remember that mummies don’t have pristine wrappings. They’ve been exposed to dust and dirt, gnawing insects, and who knows what else for thousands of years. The more torn, stretched, and dirty your gauze is, the better. Once the gauze is prepared, it’s time to wrap. There’s no real trick to this, you’ll just have to go one loop at a time until you’re covered. Use spirit gum, pins, or knots to hold the bindings in place and you’re done. Check out the tutorial above from Glam&Gore for a visual walkthrough.
If you want a slightly easier but still effective method, all you need is some old shirts, a pair of scissors, and some patience. Start by cutting old shirts into thin strips and tying them together. White shirts are the obvious go-to, but you can also get away with greens and browns if you want a more haggard look.
Select some underclothes that match your chosen color scheme and use your long t-shirt rope to bind your arms, legs, and body. If you wrap yourself sufficiently, the underclothes should blend into the background and fill in the overall look. Wrap a little bit of gauze around your face and you’re off to the admittedly slow and shambling races.
If you need even more mummified inspiration, catch The Mummy, streaming now on Peacock!