Because why not?

Halloween How? Blood.

24 October 2013
I know we don't really celebrate Halloween in Australia, which I think is a crying shame.
Although, if you are of drinking age then you have probably become aware over the years that it is a fantastic excuse to throw a party where everyone can get dressed up in fantastic costumes that hide the shame that comes with getting pissy.

I considered doing some Halloween makeup tutorials but I'm lazy and unmotivated so I didn't bother. Instead I thought I'd show you how to use typical products that are popular around this time of year because frankly, they can be daunting.

There are many types of fake blood, knowing what type is best for the effect you want to achieve is usually where people struggle.

My preferred brand is Ben Nye but Kryolan also has an incredibly extensive range, they are super easy to find online, there are many Australian based online stores that stock both brands. Links to websites and addresses to brick and mortar stores will be at the end of this post.

The type of blood you will need depends on what it's going to be used for so lets take a little lookie loo at your options.

Bleeding from the nose

Anything that is safe to use in the mouth will be safe to use in the nose. Old blood noses will require a thicker product whereas a fresh blood nose will look best with a thick blood around the nostril with a little fresh (stage) blood dripping from the area. The examples I talk about below will help you to choose what will suit your look best.

Bleeding from the mouth

The product you choose here will depend on the level of effect. If you want to be able to drool or spit blood then blood caps are the way to go. Blood capsules come in a few forms, liquid, powder and empty (fill yourself). When the capsules are placed in the mouth they start to break down and dissolve, you can speed up the process by biting down on the capsule but they generally only last a couple of minutes before they start to leak. The capsules are usually made out of gelatin so they are safe to consume and the blood that they contain is also non-toxic and usually has a minty taste.

The liquid capsules are good for those who may be prone to a dry mouth, the fluid will flow on it's own and won't need much assistance from your own saliva. The capsules that contain a powder are good for those who don't have any issues producing spit but the effect is a bit slower and will all depend on how much your mouth waters at the time. Some powder blood caps also have a foaming quality which offers a fantasic effect but not always pleasant for the user.

The reason you would opt for empty capsules is freedom basically. If you want to look like you have black/green or any other coloured gunk coming out of your mouth (pink glittery blood anyone?) then you just make up your mixture, squeeze it in to one piece of a capsule and seal the end with another piece of capsule. You should keep in mind that any fluids you put in the capsule could start to break down the gelatin, this can be slowed if they are kept cold of even stopped if frozen but they will take a little longer to disolve once popped in your mouth.

If the foaming effect is something that interests you then you can buy foaming capsules seperately, puting one in your mouth with your coloured capsule will cause your colour to foam and your friends to be nauseated.

If your costume calls for a small trickle of blood from the corner of your mouth that won't drip or move around then you're only going to need something like fresh scab or thick blood, you could also use stage blood but expect a mess! The type you use will depend on how 'old' the blood is supposed to be. These types of blood and their uses are described more below with some pictures. They can be applied with your fingers, a cotton tip, spatula, brush or whatever tickles your fancy.

Step one, small blob.
Step two, smear and stipple.
Step three, eat it and be disgusting. 

For the pictures above I used thick blood as it's easy to put it where you want it and it's versatile. For the small amount of older dried blood on the corner of my mouth I just popped a little blob in the corner of my mouth first, giving it a light squeeze by pressing my lips together. When it comes to a full mouth of blood I just put small blobs on the front of my teeth and had a little chew, the blood produces a kind of fuzzy feeling in your mouth which will make your mouth water and you'll be able to spit or drool blood within just a few seconds.

Bleeding from the eyes

This is one that you don't see often at all in standard party costumes. This product is usually used for film effects but if you know your products you can win that best costume prize! Kryolan make eye blood, they also make one that gives a jaundice effect and I believe they have a black blood as well. Basically it comes in a small bottle with an eye dropper which you use to just drop one or two drops in your eye and you'll be crying (fake) tears of blood. The effect doesn't last very long so will need top-ups if you require the effect to last you over a period of time.

Before you go getting all excited about this product there are things you need to be aware of. For starters it feels heavy and thick in the eyes and will blur the wearers vision, some people do react to it and it must never be used by someone who is wearing contacts, it is otherwise a safe product but a test should most definitely be done first with water on hand to wash out the eye if need be. This is also considered a professional use only product so best to avoid if you aren't confident with products like this. Once the bottle has been opened it must be disposed of at the end of 30 days, this is not a product to mess around with as your sight is important, it is also a little pricey.

Another option for red eyes are sclera lenses, I highly recommend getting these from a very reputable source and even consulting an optometrist, these things are not toys and can be dangerous in beginners hands, do your research on what will best be suited to you.

A safe effect for a slight red or pink eye is eyeliner, on your lower lash line it will transform a healthy eye in to something that looks like it needs medical treatment, tightlining with it will add to the effect.

Never ever use any blood in the eye unless it is specified as safe for eyeball usage. For my picture above I just dabbed a little thick blood under my lower lash line. Looking at the photos I think I better effect would be using a stipple sponge to apply it to the cheekbones for a 'I fell on my face' effect.

Cuts and wounds

If you're going for cuts, grazes or wounds, again, your product will depend on the age and type of wound. I'm going to show you some options with the products that I keep in my own SPFX kit and also talk about some products that I don't own (but covet whenever I get to thinking about SPFX, also these are easy to find so I'll try to give you an idea of what they are like).

Most of these bloods are washable but all have the ability to stain some fabrics and surfaces so do a test first.

Ben Nye Bloods

Stage Blood - This is your typical medium flow blood, good for super fresh wounds that need to look like they were just inflicted. It will move and make a mess. Has a minty flavour and is safe to use in the mouth. Will dry over time for a realistic dried blood effect. I don't actually keep this in my kit so don't have a bottle to show you (I like to make my own, recipes can be found online. Remember more blue, less red and corn syrup is your friend).

Dark Blood - Like stage blood but darker, again with a minty flavour. Again not one I keep in my kit.

Thick Blood - This stuff has a jam like texture and is great for open wounds where there might have been trauma that has given a chunky texture to the flesh or if you need to build up a wound, can be used in conjunction with the stage blood for a pretty nice effect. It can also be scraped along the skin with a stipple sponge for a grazed effect. It will dry over time and does have a tenancy to flake off so good to keep an eye on it depending on the effect you are trying to maintain. Tastes minty.

You can add the tiniest bit of water to this to think it out and have more variety with viscosity. If you want to try this out, mix it in a separate bowl so as not to ruin your product.

Fresh Scab - Just like thick blood except a little browner, as it dries it will develop a skin over it and it does look like a newly formed scab.

Very similar to thick blood just a wee bit thicker.
Gel Blood - Good for creating drips that you want to set, can be difficult to work with and needs to be applied while heated so not something I would recommend for beginners.

Kryolan Bloods

FX Blood - Typical medium flow blood, comes in dark (venous) and light (arterial). Not recommended for use in the mouth, keep the usage external.

Special Blood - Medium flow blood. Available in light and dark, suitable for external and internal use.

Wound Filler - Thick jelly like texture for adding bulk to wounds (like Ben Nye Thick Blood).

Fresh Scratch - Similar to Ben Nye's Fresh Scab but dries faster.

Internal Blood - Good for filling blood capsules or if you just want to be able to spit blood all over the place, safe for internal use.

Splatter Blood - External use only. Comes in a spray bottle for easily achieving a splattered effect.

Kryolan have a few other blood products in their range but unless you are looking at making a slasher film they aren't going to be much use to you.

There are also other brands that make bloods but I'm not familiar enough with them to make recommendations, if in doubt then you should try visiting a store because the SA's will likely be happy to help you find the right product for you.

Left: Thick Blood.             Right: Fresh Scab.
They will 'melt' slightly with the warmth of your skin, if you want a dripped effect you can hold your body part in the direction you want the blood to move. Thick blood will move more than fresh scab.

Top: Gel Blood.
As you can see the two bloods on the bottom set and develop a slight scabbing effect.

I added a little water to some thick blood and made a mess :)

On the left I have set the gel blood, you have let it dry, 10-15 minutes is a good time to be on the safe side. Dusting it with a translucent powder is necessary and also gives it a blood blister effect, if you apply too much powder you can use the smallest amount of castor oil to pat over it which will help remove excess powder but make sure to only use a very small amount.
On the right I have wiped away the fluid blood to show you the potential of staining, I find this usually happens when the blood is more fluid whereas the thicker bloods leave no trace.

Start small, adding is easy. Taking away is difficult.
If you are looking to buy some pre-made blood I would recommend going in to a store, the SA's will be able to provide advice and also show you what the product looks like. The two links I provide below sell online but also have information of their brick and mortar stores

Happy Halloween!

All Products were purchased by myself and I'm in no way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned unless otherwise stated. Links provided are for shopping examples only, I have personally purchased from some (not all) of these online stores but I highly recommend researching before buying.

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2 comments on "Halloween How? Blood."
  1. So freaky, OMG, I love it! Thank you for all the effort you put in, I loved reading this!

    PS - You are absolutely stunning.


    1. Hahahaha! Oh stop it you! I was hesitant about posting the face but it had to be done eventually.