Life

4 Gruesome Saint Halloween Costumes

You've probably been there: planning an awesome Halloween costume only to realize the party you're going to isn't a Halloween party, it's an All Saints' Day Eve Party, and it's "Saints Costumes Only." While you probably can't wear a zombie, ghostbuster, or banana costume, it doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to blood, open sores, and charred flesh.

Many of the saints we turn to for inspiration in our faith are martyrs. They were killed for their faith. The priest wears red on martyrs feast days because of the blood they spilled. See where we're going here? And anyways, both the lives of martyrs and Halloween remind us: the things we're scared of in this life, even death, aren't a big deal, and can even be laughed at. (Great article on this, BTW)

It's in that throbbing vein I present to you Four Gruesome Saint Costumes for Halloween:

Lazarus (The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man)

While not technically a saint, he's in the Bible. In fact, he's in a parable Jesus tells. Close enough for me.

We hear the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16. The rich man ignored Lazarus’ suffering. They both die; one goes to Abraham’s bosom, and the other to Hades. Guess who went where.

The Rich Man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn the Rich Man’s family to stop being jerks so they don’t end up in hell too, to which Abraham responds, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

It’s one of my favorite parables, and it’s great for Halloween/All Saint’s Day because poor Lazarus was “full of sores.”

Essential Costume Elements
sores, scabs, dirt

Optional Costume Elements
a printed out dog’s head to lick your sores, or better yet, find a real dog.

How To: Fake Sores/Scabs

 

St. Lawrence (✝ 285)

St. Lawrence was a Deacon in Rome in the third century.

During a persecution, a Roman prefect demanded Lawrence present him with the “riches of the Church.” Lawrence gathered together all the poor of the city and presented them to the prefect telling him, “Here are the riches of the Church!” The prefect didn’t think it was very funny (nor did he grasp the profound truth of the act), and took St. Lawrence off to jail.

They sentenced St. Lawrence to death, and grilled him alive. In the midst of his martyrdom, St.Lawrence told his murderers, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side!” St. Lawrence is the patron saint of cooks. No joke.

Charred flesh? Sounds like a good costume to me!

Essential Costume Elements
charred skin, grill marks

Optional Costume Elements
dalmatic (robe with sleeves a Deacon wears at Mass) or sash 

How To: Fake Charred Skin and Grill Marks

 

St. Cecilia (3rd Century)

Details on Cecilia’s life aren’t the clearest, but this is what we’ve got: Cecilia married a guy named Valerian. On their wedding night, Cecilia tells him an angel guards her from anyone who tries to touch her, so watch out. Valerian wants to see the angel, to which Cecilia replies, “You gotta get baptized first.”

He returns from being baptized and sees the angel. The angel presents them with crowns of roses and lilies. They agree to offer their celibacy to the Lord.

Cecilia ends up converting hundreds of folks, which the Romans aren’t too keen on, so they sentence her to death. First they tried to suffocate her. Didn’t work.

Then they try to behead her. The executioner tried to cut her head off three times, but all he did was cut her up. She preached and prayed with people while she bled out over the next three days.

Essential Costume Elements
three slash marks on neck

Optional Costume Elements
musical instrument (she’s the patroness of music) 

How To: Fake Slash Wounds

 

St. Lucy (✝ 304)

This is what we know for sure about St. Lucy: She was martyred under Roman Emperor Diocletian.

The rest of the story varies, but most accounts and artwork reflect the following: Early in life, Lucy consecrated her virginity to God. Later in life, her betrothed wanted her to sacrifice to some idols. She refused and was ordered to be put to death.

At some point before her death, her eyes were plucked out. St. Lucy is often depicted holder her eyes on a plate. She is, appropriately, the patroness of the blind and those with eye troubles.

She is also often shown wearing a wreath with candles as a crown, as her name shares a root with the Latin word for light. 

Essential Costume Elements
eyeballs on a plate!

Optional Costume Elements
wreath of candles on head 

How To: Fake Eyes

 

Other Great Saints for Halloween:

  • John the Baptist - Beheaded
  • St. Peter of Verona - Axe in the Head
  • St. Cyriacus - Limbs torn off
  • One of the kids mauled by a bear in 2 Kings 2

 

 

--==[Instructions & How Tos]==--  

 Lazarus | Sores & Scabs


  • Raspberry or Cherry Gelatin
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Optional: dried onion flakes and/or other gross “chunks”
  1. Mix some gelatin with some hot water. Aim for a thick liquid, almost a paste. Add a little cocoa powder to make the goo a little opaque. Adding a little bit of dried onion flakes will make your scabs a little chunky and gross.
  2. Using a spoon, put some of the gelatin where you want a big gross scab. Spread it around a little bit with the back of the spoon.
  3. Cover “scab” with cocoa powder. This will give the it a nice crust, make you look dirty, and keep the gelatin from rubbing off and staining everything.
  4. Experiment with amounts and ratios of cocoa powder to gelatin and find the type of sores you like.
  5. Repeat for as many scabs as you like.
  6. Use remaining cocoa powder to make yourself look dirty.
  7. If you don't have a dog to lick your sores, print out a picture of a dog with it's tongue out and carry it around with you, or tape it to yourself near one of your sores.

 

 Saint Lawrence | Charred Skin & Grill Marks

  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Red costume makeup
  • Black costume makeup
  • Lighter
  • Bucket or really big cup of water
  • Tissue or toilet paper (if using TP, try to get an non-quilted variety)
  • Clothes you plan to wear for your costume (They will get ruined.)
  1. Rip up some tissue into irregular shapes. Make them the sizes and shapes you want your wounds to be.
  2. Go outside. Use the lighter to burn some holes in your clothes. Stomp out the fires. Have the water handy in case stomping it out doesn’t work. Come back in.
  3. Mix a small amount of unflavored gelatin with some hot water. Aim for a thick liquid like molasses or pancake syrup.
  4. Using a the back of the spoon you used to mix the gelatin, paint the area of your skin you’d like a burnt patch with gelatin. Only do one patch at a time.
  5. Place a piece of tissue on top of the gelatin area. It should stick on there. It doesn’t need to be on there perfectly. In fact, some little creases or wrinkles can add to the effect.
  6. You may wish to repeat the process and add a second layer of tissue.
  7. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for wherever you want other patches.
  8. Using the red makeup, paint the area around your charred patches to make the skin look burned.
  9. Use the black makeup to color your charred patches. Touch up with the red makeup as needed.
  10. If your chunk of char isn't what you'd like it to be, adding another layer of tissue is possible at this step. It will stick to the makeup, and another layer of black makeup will cover it.
  11. Use the charcoal pencil or permanent marker to draw grill marks on your clothes. Try to make diamonds like the grill marks on a steak commercial.
  12. Apply some more charred skin (steps 3-4) where the holes in your shirt will expose skin.
  13. Put it all together and you're ready to go!

 

 Saint Cecilia | Slash Wounds


  • Gelatin (cherry and unflavored)
  • Red Costume Makeup (optional)
  1. Prepare a little bit of the unflavored gelatin by mixing some of it with a little bit of hot water. Aim for a thin paste.
  2. Using a popsicle stick, or the dull side of a butter knife, add three slashes to one side of your neck.
  3. Allow the gelatin to cool and set up a little bit. Fanning it can help.
  4. Prepare the cherry gelatin the same way, and apply a little bit of it to the middle of your wounds.
  5. Use the red makeup to color your wounds more. 

 

 Saint Lucy | Fake Eyes


  • 2 Ping Pong Balls
  • Gauze Wrap
  • Red Permanent Marker
  1. Draw on the ping pong balls and make them look like eye balls.
  2. Wrap the gauze around your head once, covering your eyes.
  3. Make a small mark over your eyes.
  4. Take the gauze off and make the entire area around your eyes red and bloody.
  5. Wrap your head again with the red section of the gauze over your eyes. (Since you only wrapped one time around, you should still be able to see.)
  6. Put the eyes on a plate, in a cup, or hold them in your hands.
  7. If you like, add a wreath of candles to your head.