Dressing up as a mummy is a time-honoured tradition for people who love Boris Karloff movies and people who put their Halloween costume planning off until the last minute. Whether you are painting your face mummy-style to flesh out your Halloween costume, to get into the Halloween spirit at work or simply to give someone a good scare, take face painting inspiration from the classic elements that make a mummy scary -- namely, the droopy bandages and the fact that it is dead.
Dark Eye Sockets
Enhance the "dead" part of your mummy face paint by darkening your eye sockets using dark grey, brown or black paint. This approach creates a hollow, dead-eyed look because mummies are, of course, reanimated corpses. You could also make yourself look gaunt by painting grey patches under your cheekbones, conjuring the visual effect of hollow cheeks. Dark eyes and gaunt cheeks make a good base upon which to paint bandages.
Give a nod to the Egyptian origins of the Halloween mummy costume by painting your face to look like a pharoah's mask -- the kind of golden mask that was sometimes placed over the face of a mummy. Start with a base of golden face paint. With black paint, draw thin, dramatically arched eyebrows and kohl-like rims around the outside of the eyes with lines extending horizontally outward from the outer corners of the eyes, mimicking traditional Egyptian make-up. Paint a scarab or an ankh on one cheek.
Paint bandages on your face to continue your mummy costume onto your face or, if you are in a situation where you can't wear a costume, to make it clear that you are a mummy. Start with a base of white paint. Dark eye sockets and cheek hollows are optional. Using a paintbrush or thin paint "crayon," draw wavering stripes horizontally going down your entire face, spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Add perpendicular lines in some spots to suggest the "ends" of some of the bandages. If you are artistic, you can even paint a bandage end hanging down.
Take the gruesomeness of your mummy face paint to a whole new level by garnishing it with patches of scabrous brown, red, yellow and green, suggesting ancient wounds or -- if you painted bandages -- a gap in the bandages where rotting, dead flesh is peeking out. Such an enhancement would probably be inappropriate for a child or for a workplace mummy face getup.