Tips for Monsters and Spooky Characters Just Starting Out
It takes more than spooky makeup and a cool Halloween costume to be spooky. Spookiness depends much on your body language, and tone of voice. Spookiness comes naturally for some, but for others spookiness takes practice.
As a child, I had a lot of practice. I grew up in a large family and this meant I developed many ways to be noticed, when I wanted to be noticed.
One of my older siblings was particularly sensitive (easily spooked) and to my fortune, and her dismay, when I wasn’t busy practicing accents, faces, and stunts, I practiced general spookiness–on her. This early training has always come in handy during Halloween.
Here are some easy tips for being extra spooky for Halloween–no matter what Halloween costume you are wearing (though you probably will not be spooky if you go as Mickey Mouse):
Stare. Nothing unnerves (or annoys) people more quickly than staring at them.
Similar to staring, but not quite– Maintain prolonged eye contact. Do not have an angry, mean, or silly expression– simply maintain eye contact with a completely blank expression on your face. (With practice, you will be able to do this without giggling).
Be very quiet as you move about. Few things are spookier (especially on Halloween night) than someone who seems to appear suddenly in a room. I still remember, with pride, the reaction I usually got: “Chris! Stop doing that!”
Lurk. Lurk in doorways or near bookshelves, and remain just barely in sight. Doing this sets others in the area on edge. Note: Don’t let people get used to your presence and ignore you, however. If this happens, move to another area in the room and continue lurking.
Be very quiet in general. If you speak, speak in a low monotone. Silence is mysterious and mystery can be spooky. Let your spooky energy do the speaking for you this Halloween.
Do not break character. If you are a Vampire for Halloween, practice the part (minus blood drinking, of course). Become the character for the night. People feel very uncomfortable when a friend suddenly adopts a new personality–even if it is only for a few hours. If you want to be spooky, do it. Stay in character.
I do not recommend these behaviors for any time other than Halloween–unless you are an Actor. People will think you are a psychopath. I especially do not recommend staring at people–people are shot for less than that now a days (unfortunately).
Be cautious with the faint of heart. Good, convincing acting plus the right props can scare someone more than you might intend. A couple of decades ago, a friend convinced me to play a Halloween trick on another friend, who happened to be faint of heart (though I did not know it yet). I had fake-blood capsules-the kind you put in your mouth and bite down on at the appropriate time. The fake blood and my fake dying act brought a very real scream I will never forget. She was very upset during and after and the joke was not fun or funny at all.