If you're going for gore, make your own non-toxic blood. This is especially important with children, as well as with costumes that call for blood near the mouth, like vampires. To make your own fake blood, mix three parts corn syrup with one part water, then add red food coloring slowly until you get the color you want. If you want a darker, brownish tone to the blood, add some chocolate syrup. To thicken it, slowly mix in corn starch until it reaches the desired consistency. This mixture will be very sticky at first, but that quality helps it stay put during application.
To make sure your makeup stays put all night, set it with a light dusting of face powder. If you don't want it to be noticeable, try translucent powder from your regular makeup stash. For a matte look to finish the job, use baby powder. Be careful not to use too much, unless you're going for a complete white-out.
If you want your makeup to be convincing, don't stop with your face. Remember to add makeup to any skin that will show once your costume is in place, including your neck and hands. Cover these spots after your costume is on so you can be sure to cover all the needed areas and to prevent smearing when you get dressed.
Pro tip: Pair up with someone and do each other's makeup. It's much easier to get it right when you aren't looking in a mirror.
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