This is me as the “Book Witch” and as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I did the makeup myself(!).

A few years ago, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and I planned a Halloween Surprise for her class. I was to come in as the Book Witch and read some Halloween stories to the children. I love surprises so much, so I did not tell my daughter anything about this, and I wanted to be unrecognizable to her and her classmates.

My mind immediately turned to the Broadway production of Wicked and the green makeup that Elphaba wears. I emailed a makeup artist friend of mine to see if she could give me some tips on how to transform my face into a witch. She suggested I visit Alcone, a makeup company in Manhattan. I zipped over there and waited in line for the makeup artist of The Little Mermaid to plow through her very long list of needs, and felt quite sheepish when all I asked for was Elphaba Green. Unfortunately they did not have that green, so I settled for more of an emerald color of Kryolan’s Aqua.

I also wanted to have a prosthetic nose, but I am allergic to latex, and could not find any noses that were latex-free. Instead I picked up some wax and glued some warts onto my face. The other important element of the Book Witch Makeup was Mac’s Pigment in “Push the Edge”, which is a purple color. I used it to accent my cheeks, lips and eyes. I had purple going on with the hat I bought at Ricky’s and the purple gloves. As for the costume itself…I just threw on all the black clothes in my closet and sprayed a little black in my hair.

I brought my books along in a vintage Samsonite, bright pink train case, as opposed to a cauldron or black basket or jack-o-lantern. I wanted to be less witchy and more booky because some parents had expressed concerns about Witch Lore and I didn’t want to give the wrong message to the impressionable young children. The teacher is convinced that my daughter didn’t recognize me, and I am pretty sure none of the other children recognized me until little sister landed on the scene, suddenly it was pretty obvious who was under all that makeup. My daughter insists she was never fooled. She’s been known to lie.

My Top 5 Halloween Book Witch Read-Alouds:

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Room on the Broom Book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting
The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz

The Halloween Play by Felicia Bond

Last year my daughter wanted me to be Maleficent to her Princess Aurora. I purchased the costume and staff and was disappointed with the quality of the frock. I spruced it up by stuffing the foam-shaped Antlers with poly-fil and putting a back on them, then twirling some purple cord around each point, but I knew what would really sell the costume would be my face.

I studied graphics from the film, but mostly studied a Golden Book Version of Sleeping Beauty that we already had on our bookshelf. I ordered the Aqua color that was closest to Maleficent’s turquoise hue and then I was all set. I had the purple pigment from Book Witch the year before and the black paint from my Mrs. Incredible costume already in my stores, so I didn’t need to buy anything else. The photo at top was taken after my third try at applying this makeup, and I think it turned out really well: red lips, yellow around the eyes, purple eyeshadow, exaggerated eyebrows, and that sallow, turquoise skin. Spooky.

Great makeup can make a costume go from good to great, or can be the costume itself. Just looking at those aqua colors I had a few ideas come to mind right away: silver-ghoul, dark blue-blue man group, Violet — that girl from charlie and the chocolate factory who turns into a blueberry, yellow-banana…use your imagination and make sure you practice before the night of Halloween!

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.