There are few characters from Greek mythology quite as visibly recognisable as Medusa, famous for her hair made of serpents and her penchant for turning people into stone. As a costume for Halloween or other parties, Medusa's hard to beat, but only if you can do her well. A great Medusa costume doesn't have to break the bank, nor does it require professional levels of skill or even long hours of work.
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Pipe Cleaner Snakes
Join together two standard-size craft pipe cleaners to make one super long one for each snake on your head. Build the snake's head and body shape on top of the pipe cleaner using modelling craft foam, sold with children's art supplies. Make a mixture of two parts liquid latex (sold at costume stores with a make-up counter) and one part acrylic paint in the shade you want for the snakes---grey-green is traditional. Place the latex in a tall, thin container, such as a thin flower vase, and dip each snake in turn. Hang the snakes to dry them, then glue them to a bald cap using liquid latex. This process is easiest if you mount the bald cap to a polystyrene wig head. The finished snakes will be fully mouldable.
Medusa's make-up is traditionally depicted as anything from a beautiful woman with understated make-up to corpse-like highlights. It's common for her to have a pale face, sometimes tinged with green or grey, and to have dark highlights under her cheekbones. Remember that staring into the face of the Medusa turns people to stone, so you may want some big, dramatic shading around the eyes to make them more fearsome. If you want to spring for special effects contact lenses in white, they will make the eyes stunningly scary.
As a figure of Greek mythology, it's traditional to depict Medusa wearing a toga when she's in more human form. A homemade toga is as simple as folding and pinning a bed sheet. If you want to give her the more traditional snake body, use a tail from a store-bought mermaid costume and cut off the fins. Still other portrayals of Medusa like to put her in modern clothing, such as a cocktail dress; if you go this route, see if you can style your snakes into a modern updo for a quirky take on the character.
Top off your Medusa costume with a few other small accessories. Some artists like to depict Medusa with vampirelike fangs, which are inexpensive and easy to find at costume stores. Sometimes, she's seen wearing lavish jewellery, especially tiaras and solid metal necklaces. Snake-related jewellery is also particularly appropriate.
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