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Tamaqua workshop teaches how to get ghoulish for Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, getting ready to be scary can be fun as some people learned at a special effects makeup class held recently at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.

Nine adults and teens learned about making fake blood and using it to ghoul themselves up at the class this past Tuesday.

Denae Starry was the instructor for the class, the first of its type at the center. It was also her first class for the organization. Starry is the assistant director and came on board as a full-time employee in May.

“I was in school when this (arts center) was being developed,” Starry explained as she prepared for the class. “I graduated in 2013 from high school (Tamaqua Area), and was asked about being a volunteer, but I was busy with sports and getting ready for college.”

The 22-year-old Tamaqua woman graduated this year from Edinboro University, located near Erie. Her original major was animation, but she later switched to communication. In her senior year, she interned at the arts center and was hired at graduation.

“This is my first class and I’m a little bit nervous,” Starry said. “I thought this class would be fun to do because it’s something I like to do.”

Special effects makeup is a personal interest of hers. She showed one of her works on a latex foam mask depicting Cornelius of the “Planet of the Apes” fame.

“I also work at Dorney Park as one of the Halloween Haunt makeup artists, so I’m really good at doing gore stuff,” she said.

During the class, students learned how to create realistic wounds and bruises; how to work with liquid latex, both for application and seamless blending; and received tips on applying their own Halloween makeup. They learned how to create fake blood and 3-D gel using common kitchen items, such as food color, flour and corn syrup.

The class was for ages 15 and up, though there was an exception, and students needed to bring liquid foundation that matched their skin tone. All other materials were supplied.

Before the class, Starry said it would deal with basics since she didn’t know the experience of the students. Those who attended came from around the region, including Tamaqua, Saint Clair, Jim Thorpe, Hazleton, Pottsville, Lehighton and Berwick.

Each student received a paper with the outline of a face, which was used for them to develop their makeup idea.

“They will plan their makeup and we’ll talk about how to make blood, how to create depth with blood, how to make it look like it’s not just sitting on your face, the textures you can create,” she said.

Starry gave instructions to the group, but helped each one individually as needed.

Kimberly Ulicny and her 13-year-old daughter, Rhiana Foley, of Saint Clair had an enjoyable experience.

“She (Rhiana) loves special effects. We love Halloween and she wanted to do this,” Ulicny said. “We decorate the house. We go to haunted houses all the time. We try to do something new each year at Halloween.”

Ulicny said her daughter is interested in special makeup design as a career. Others in the group were also considering the same thing, with many fans of the Syfy channel reality series “Face Off,” which is a competition/elimination series where special effects makeup artists participate in elaborate challenges for a grand prize and the honor of being Hollywood’s next great effects artist.

“She wants to do this professionally,” Ulicny said. “It really sparked her interest. When she was little, she watched ‘Face Off’ all the time, and she’s been watching scary movies with the special effects and pointing out, ‛That’s how they do that.’”

Renai Foster of Jim Thorpe really enjoys the classic TV gothic soap opera series “Dark Shadows.” She attended to learn more about how you do the makeup. She is the owner-operator at Prime Cut Hair Designs and is a former cosmetology teacher at Carbon County Vocational Technical School.

“I’ve always been interested in special effects makeup,” Foster said. “I’ve been in the beauty industry for 45 years. And I’m the biggest ‘Dark Shadows’ fan on this earth. I’ve been at all the conventions and in my beauty shop I have a Collinwood room decorated like the set.”

The show features vampire Barnabas Collins and is set at Collinwood Mansion.

Debbie Bridge of Hazleton said Halloween is her favorite holiday and she loves horror movies.

“Halloween is my Christmas,” Bridge said. “We decorate the house and go to the haunted houses. We like to go spookin’.”

Bridge attended to learn about the makeup effects for Halloween festivities.

Kyla Brobst, 16, and her mother, Amy Brobst, of Pottsville worked together, with Amy being the model for Kyla’s makeup talents.

“After she graduates, she (Kyla) plans to go to a school in Los Angeles to do this,” Amy Brobst said.

Aaron Dotson of Tamaqua and Walter Stankavage of Berwick finished the class with some elaborate scars, sutures and blood on their faces. It was the first such class for both men.

“I always enjoyed Halloween, and I do a lot of Star Wars cosplay, so I’d like to do more makeup and this was a place to start,” Dotson said.

“I’ve been doing clowning and sideshow works for years now, and obviously love Halloween,” Stankavage said. “I love being able to add makeup to the costuming portion of it, and I thought this was the most logical step for me.”

Jess Kellner, 15, of Lehighton, attended her first SFX makeup class.

“I like Halloween and my brother’s girlfriend usually does my makeup, but I wanted to learn how to do it,” Kellner said.

For those who missed the class, a second class is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the arts center, 125 Pine St. There is a fee and seats are limited. Call the arts center at 570-668-1192 for information.

ABOVE: Amy Brobst, left, of Pottsville, watches her daughter, Kyla, sketch an idea for a design during a special effects makeup workshop at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center on Tuesday.BELOW: From left, Debbie Bridge, Hazleton, and Rhiana Foley and Kimberly Ulicny, of Saint Clair, listen to instructions from instructor Denae Starry on how to make fake blood using corn syrup. The workshop at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center also has participants design their scary makeup and apply it to their faces and arms. JOHN E. USALIS/TIMES NEWS
From left, Debbie Bridge, Hazleton; Rhiana Foley and Kimberly Ulicny, both of Saint Clair, listen to instructions from workshop instructor Denae Starry on how to make fake blood using corn syrup. The workshop at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center also has participants design their scary makeup and apply it to their faces and arms./JOHN E. USALIS/TIMES NEWS
ABOVE: It is amazing what some fake blood can do to produce a scary effect. Aaron Dotson, left, of Tamaqua, and Walter Stankavage of Berwick are ready for Halloween thanks to the instruction they received at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center on Tuesday.LEFT: Rhianna Foley, 13, of Saint Clair, and her mother, Kimberly Ulicny, had an enjoyable experience at the workshop. Rhianna wants to study special effects makeup when she is older.CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS