If you've ever dreamed of taking your Halloween costume to the next level, we have two words for you: wigs and makeup.
There's only so much a mask or witch's hat will do. The real transformation comes from being transformed. And if you've seen celebrities-without-makeup photos, you know what some well-applied concealer and eyeliner will do.
"It's really all about the focal point," explained makeup expert Jessica Dana, of jessicadana.com. "People focus on the face. It can be as important as the whole outfit."
Dana, a body paint artist, said she buys her supplies from a clown named Bebe, and he preaches the same notion of creating a complete character. Hair and makeup are as crucial as floppy shoes and a lighthearted attitude. If you're going to sell a costume, you can't go cheap on character. And that doesn't mean the costume has to be expensive.
Start with inspiration and then spend a little time thinking of reasonable ways to achieve your look.
"The Hunger Games" eccentric glam upper-crust set will be ripe for costume inspiration. Now's your chance to bathe your lips in orange or purple lipstick and highlight your eyes with bright pinks and greens. Even rocker Lenny Kravitz, who played Cinna, a Capitol City stylist and adviser with an affinity for gold eyeliner, noted that his look helped with character.
The trick to this look is to be meticulous. If you can't finagle some time with a pro, invest some time in perfecting your look. This is not a five-minute makeup job. You want to look as though you've come from an era in which you've got nothing but time to waste. How you look is part of your status.
If you can manage the Effie press-on nails, go for it. But be warned: Actress Elizabeth Banks offered some TMI to People magazine when she said that once her nails -- which were ridiculously adorned -- were in place, she couldn't even go to the bathroom alone.
OK, so maybe just go with a garish polish color instead.
Haven't seen "Hunger Games"? Fear not; zombies have returned with a vengeance, and the makeup tricks to get the undead glow can be achieved by the lay person with some practice. It might help to buddy up.
Dana said the best thing to remember is you can't be too pale. She usually takes the lightest shade of makeup she can find and mixes it with white face makeup.
Because she's a professional, she creates depth so none of the looks fall flat. The zombie still has some redness around the eyes, and the dark beard of sinister "Hunger Games" character Crane is flecked with gold.
Wigs don't have to be expensive to be effective, but make sure it's stretched to fit so that you can tolerate it for the night. Google Images is a great resource for detecting trends and hunting for close-ups of makeup application and styling options.