Vampires are timeless icons of horror, and as such, provide age-old inspirations for Halloween costumes. However, as times change, so do vampires, and now almost as many types of vampire exist as stories about them. Whether young or old, boy or girl, whether you want a grotesque monster costume or something more classic and stylish, vampires costumes appeal to almost everyone, and fit almost any budget.
The monster-movie vampire, or Nosferatu, is a classic staple of horror. The wrinkled, hairless visage of Max Schreck's vampire in the classic film "Nosferatu" has inspired horror movies and Halloween costumes for generations. This look requires a lot of extra preparation -- if you don't opt for a full face mask, a bald cap and false ears will still be needed, as well as heavy makeup and false teeth. However, the overall effect is very dramatic, and if you decide to make the extra effort, your vampire will be the scariest spook on the street for Halloween.
The classic cloak-and-cowl movie vampire is a time-tested costume idea, and has been popular with kids for decades. A plain, white dress shirt and black slacks under a black, high-collared cloak create this stark, identifiable look. For a stronger effect, add a black widow's peak wig -- or mimic the look with hair gel -- and use stage makeup to create the gaunt deathly appearance of well-known vampire icons like Bella Lugosi.
Gothic vampires have been very popular in recent years, following the popularity of such films as "Underworld" and "Queen of the Damned." The Gothic style is broadly defined and works for anyone; however, flowing, black clothing and lace are commonplace, making this an especially popular costume idea for girls. The defining traits of the Gothic vampire are antiqued accessories and dark but elegant eye makeup. Beyond that, most formal or semiformal dark clothing is appropriate, which makes the Gothic vampire easy to achieve without purchasing items from a costume retailer.
The Twilight novels and movies have sparked a renewed interest in vampires over the past several years, and it's no surprise that many fans want to dress up as one of the "modern" vampires from the story. This costume is perhaps the easiest to accommodate, as the vampires in the world of Twilight tend to look just like normal -- if rather pale -- people. The key points to creating a convincing Twilight-vampire costume are the pale, shimmering skin and dark eye makeup. Start with the lightest foundation you can. Always use cool shades for vampires -- warm tones will look too lively. Add a layer of glitter gel or shimmering body powder to give that Twilight sparkle. For an extra flourish, use false fangs and amber-colored costume contact lenses to replicate the look of the "enraged" vampires in the series.
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