A Look Back at Make-Up Monsters and Creature Costumes

For those of you who like to flaunt your costuming creativity during the Halloween season, this post is for you. From my personal horror archives: Make-Up Monsters and Creature Costumes by Marcia Lynn Cox. These books were published in the mid and late 1970s, and they consist of make-up and costume instructions aimed at kids. (A third book was published, Make-Up Monsters and Creature Costumes, although that book combined just some--but not all--of the ideas and instructions from the first two books.)

What's interesting to note about these books is that Cox came up with these make-up and costume instructions by using cheap, easily available and non-toxic items--flour, cotton balls, corn syrup, and so on--and that most of her ideas in the Make-Up Monsters book are creative (albeit amateur and low-budget) renditions of many of the classic Universal Studio monsters. Of the two books, Make-Up Monsters features the more impressive selection, largely because the costume ingredients aren't limited to cheap-looking stuff such as cardboard and aluminum foil. Then again, with some creative thinking, the costume instructions provided in Creature Costumes could probably be upgraded to a higher level of quality at a minimum cost.

I never got around to trying out any of these ideas for myself. A friend of mine once borrowed the Make-Up Monsters book so he could use the "Dripping Face" make-up instructions as part of his astronaut costume. However, considering that both of us were in elementary school at the time, it's safe to assume that this costume was in no way meant to emulate the title monster from the 1977 B-movie The Incredible Melting Man.

These books are still available at very cheap prices, so be sure to track them down if you're looking for some fresh, affordable Halloween ideas for your kids or yourself. Click below to see some examples of the monsters and creatures featured in both books.

Count Dracula 

Frankenstein's Bride 

Dripping Face

The Mummy

Reptile Man

Reptile Monster

Skull Face



The Wicked Witch


  1. I loved this book. Even as an adult, when I see Dr. Scholl's lambs wool or egg cartons, I think of their applications in DIY monster FX.

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean when it comes to the DIY spirit and monster fans from yesteryear. I just hope that budding movie monster fans of this day and age are just as willing to experiment with off the shelf items when creating their own costumes and makeup.

  2. I did the dripping face one for Halloween when I was in third grade. It was great looking but it tended to peel off in the midday sun during our halloween parade at school. I loved that book and when I saw one at a thrift store I snatched it up for my son. It's got some really great ideas. I still haven't been able to convince him to do the dripping face :-D

    1. I'm glad to hear that you're keeping the tradition alive, Julian. Thanks for commenting!

  3. This is the good stuff. I used to have this book when I was in my preteens.

    1. It's quite amazing what someone was able to come up with by just using household items, isn't it?


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