The Magic of Makeup: Behind the Scenes at Asylum Xperiment

Every October, haunted houses pop up all over the Chicagoland area. And, if you’re anything like me, the most you see of the haunted houses is the inside of your eyelids because you’re walking through the place with your eyes tightly shut and your head buried deep in a friend’s shoulder. 
And ya know…that’s a damn shame. 
Because until this weekend, I was completely blind to the fact of just how much detail and passion is put into making a haunted house so spectacular (there’s a ridiculous amount). With me being the self-proclaimed scaredy cat that I am, I thought the safest way for me to experience a haunted house was to spend some time with the makeup artists who bring the actors alive…or in this case, make the dead undead. To me, the makeup artists who give the actors that extra scare factor often go unnoticed and are under-appreciated for their craft.
So earlier this month, I reached out to the core team at the Asylum Xperiment in Villa Park to see if I could spend some time with their makeup team as they prepped for an evening of screams. 
Well, the team went above and beyond my request, inviting me to not only spend some time with their extremely talented makeup artists, but also to experience a private behind the scenes tour of their haunted experience. 
The sets and overall design experience are truly in a league of their own, and this week we’ll have a completely dedicated post to it’s true awesomeness. But today, I want to focus on the amazing makeup artist team–Bonnie White and Leianne Lazzara.

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Makeup artist extraordinaire, Leianne, preps one of the actors for the night using Rice Kirspies and napkins to create a flesh wound.

By the time I make my way into the small room dedicated for makeup after the tour, we’re within two hours of showtime and already a line of excited actors is forming outside the door. Each of the 50+ individual actors play a specific role and their makeup is tailored to their costume and respective set’s theme. And with limited time to get everyone in the makeup chair before doors open, the team of two works fast and furiously to ensure everyone is decked out and on set with time to spare.

Everything imaginable litters the counter tops of the makeup room. Aside from the horror makeup essentials like fresh scab and blood by the gallon, plus a large variety of

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The final look, ready for a night of terror.

makeup and paint brushes, Bonnie and Leianne use everyday items like Rice Krispies and napkins to create some of the horror effects on the actors. It’s cosmetic innovation at its finest.

Here’s a look at the step by step process of Bonnie working on Danielle’s French Maid character, from start to finish. Remember that Danielle is just one of more than 50 actors that the Asylum Xperiment has to prep each and every night of its 16 night run. Take a look at the incredible level of care and detail that goes into putting the dead into deadly. The end result is truly terrifying.

Impressive. Isn’t it?

And if you think this is awesome, you’ll want to come back over the next few days to see the second part of my behind the scenes tour at the Asylum Xperiment–a must for any haunted house lover or those who are petrified and want to see what it’s like with the lights on (trust me, still scary!). Plus we’ll have a promo code so you can save a few bucks and experience the Asylum Xperiment first hand.

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