You too can make a No Face costume and win Halloween

It’s impossible not to love Spirited Away’s No Face, right? Beautiful and enigmatic with the right amount of creepy makes him/her a perfect Halloween costume. This year, with a couple of work-free days right before Halloween, I set about becoming No Face with my glamorous live-in assistant, John.

Friendly warning: this was a jumbled up mess. I am in no way the queen of sewing and crafting. If you’re looking for a perfectly constructed cosplay outfit, run away now.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Foam board. An A1 piece gave us 2 masks with plenty left over
  • Newspaper
  • PVA glue
  • Sponges to make your paper mache
  • White spray paint
  • Cardboard, around A1 size. This will become the structure inside your costume for your mask to sit on
  • Bunch of sellotape/strong duct tape
  • Hot glue gun and iron clad fingers
  • Black and purple markers. We also used a little purple felt as the purple marker was rubbish.
  • A lot of black fabric. We got cheap black sheets in Heatons on sale. We used 2 double sheets for each costume. We could only get fitted sheets, which actually turned out to be handy for the hooded part. If you can get 1 flat sheet and one fitted sheet that would be ideal
  • A wool hat or beanie
  • Black long sleeved top
  • Black gloves
  • Black trousers/leggings/tights
  • Black shoes or boots

We wanted the masks to come above our heads to get maximum height so we decided to use the mouth as our eye hole (eye hole?). I created a paper template of the mask and cut out the eyes, mouth and triangular purple bits above and below the eyes. We checked that we could see ok through the mouth. The template was approximately 50cm high by 35cm wide*. (Sorry it’s currently in the back of my car and I can’t be bothered to go measure properly.) I just free-handed the template based on No Face pictures.

Next we traced the outline of the mask and the mouth on to the foam board and cut with a craft knife (my house is full of great craft tools, if you don’t have a craft knife you could cut with scissors and a sharp knife). We used the low heat of an iron on the back of the foam board to help create a curve in the board.
Next we paper mache’d over the mask with strips of newspaper and a mix of 1 part PVA glue and 1 part water. It is super messy. Both myself and John are firm believers in half-assing projects and with our carefree “it’ll do” attitude we created a wrinkled mess. But it was fun and that’s the main thing.


We hung them up to dry and freak out the neighbours. They dried out overnight but you could use a hairdryer or handy heat gun like mine (pink for girls) to help them along. Oh we put on 3 layers of newspaper, did I mention that? John ended up with the obituary section as his top layer which felt suitably creepy and Halloweeny.

Next up we created a cardboard tube to sit on our heads like weird brimless Abe Lincoln hats. To get the height of our cardboard hats we put the (dry) masks to our face so we were looking out the mouth and made sure the cardboard was all the way to the top of the mask.

We secured the cardboard hats with a shit ton of sellotape and strong duct tape, but not John’s dad’s gorilla tape because he wouldn’t let us use it. It’s €15.99 a roll, didn’t you know that?

I used a couple of strips of cardboard to create a curve at the top of the hat. See photos as I can’t describe this.

Once the masks were dry we spray painted them white. This highlighted the beautiful wrinkled look we were absolutely going for, and wasn’t a mistake of us half-assing the paper mache. Don’t do what Johnny Don’t does here and make sure you cover your face when you use spray paint. He is now dead, RIP.


Once the white was dry we put the template back over and traced the eyes and purple triangle things onto the mask. We coloured them in with black and purple sharpies, but the purple looked a bit crap so I cut a few strips of felt and stuck those on instead. We added the black details under the eyes and mouth.

Once the mask was finished we attached it to the cardboard hat with an absolute ton of tape. To be honest I’m not sure how it lasted so long. I put the cardboard hat on John, lined the mouth piece of the mask up to his eyes and just taped and taped until it felt secure. If I did this again I’d tape it THEN paper mache and paint it. Nobody’s perfect. Lesson learned.


Once that was sorted I started to figure out how to attach the fabric. I had cut the elastic out of the fitted sheet but the seam of the corner of the sheet was still there so I put that over the curved cardboard at the top of the cardboard hat and then hot glued it like my life depended on it, folding in a hem as I went. The hot glue went on the very edge of the mask, all the way round. With the mask and robe glued into place a put it on John and cut the rest of the sheet. It’s shorter at the front to make room for his arms.


Finally I made two full length black tunic/sacks to wear underneath. You could skip this part and wear a long black skirt or dress instead.

Then the fun bit, we were both off work in the afternoon of Halloween so we headed down Limerick’s O’Connell Avenue at rush hour with our zombie cheerleader 8 year old. It was too much fun, our No Faces got lots of smiles and car horn beeps and we took photos of No Face in mundane situations the whole way. Here’s a bunch of photos:

*It’s 48×30 cm, I wasn’t too far off

Star Wars family fun

So here are our costumes for Halloween this year, our first year as a themed family. I can’t help but think I got the least cool outfit…

Willow as her current idol, Princess Leia. I made the dress (complete with hood) from Lycra, and the belt from felt (of course). We found the boots cheap in Penneys and they’re handy for the crap weather were having. Long white dresses aren’t a great idea for 3 year olds, but she was able to play fine at the party we went to today with minimum spillage!


John looked super handsome as Han Solo (and was definitely living out some nerd fantasy today). I guess when I suggested we dress as Star Wars characters he thought I had something else in mind for myself!

John’s costume was quite easy. We found old trousers in a charity shop, and the shirt was a white ladies one from Penneys that I dipped in tea to age. The waistcoat was just a black t shirt cut up. I made a belt from an old black ribbon I had, and the “boots” are actually the arms from a kids fireman costume I got in a bargain bin for €2.


My costume was a monkey sleep suit I found in the men’s section in Penneys. I chopped off the head (which freaked poor Willow out a little) and sewed the ears to an old baby sheet of Willow’s, which I had aged in tea. Add a little face paint and a belt slung over my shoulder and I’m an Ewok!



All dressed up

Halloween! My favourite time of the year means I get to dress up. And boy do I love to dress up! Luckily I married someone who is really into costumes too. And zombies.

This year my family is going all out with a theme, and I’ve spent my afternoon making our costumes. I’ll wait until I have some photos before I show you our outfits, but first I wanted to show off some of our costumes from years past:

Me as Tippi Hedren in The Birds. I was about 5 months pregnant here so excuse the tummy! I used a 60s style dress, tore it up and added blood, then made a whole bunch of birds pecking away. So much fun!


Carrying on the Hitchcock theme, my other half went as Norman Bates dressed as his mother. And my mammy-in-law joined us too, as a nun.


This was Willow’s first costume, a cute bunny outfit I made from an old sleep suit and a cheap fleece hoodie she had. I was originally going to do her as road kill but wasn’t allowed!


Please take a moment to admire the extreme cuteness of my little girl:
Moving on. Next year, I made a tutu for herself and added in a huge Elmo’s face. She was a big fan at the time and very happy with herself.


We had a great party that year, but kind of forgot to think about costumes. So a couple of hours before our guests arrived we decided to go as each other. John would make a fine drag queen:


Last Christmas I made Will a little Christmas tree dress, complete with star. My dress making skills are pretty shoddy but she looked adorable:

Last year I dressed in full zombie costume for Limerick’s Outbreak Zombie Walk, along with my undead husband Allan and assorted kids. John had to babysit but joined me later for Halloween:




I’ll post pics of this year’s costumes soon. Happy Halloween!