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No costume? No problem.

Three artsy Chicagoans teach you how to craft a Halloween mask with the household supplies you already own.

Chicken mask A do-it-yourself project is nothing new for Cinnamon Cooper. As the resident writer for TOC’s “Hands on” column, Cooper constantly repurposes everyday items to create practical works of art. This chicken mask, which uses coffee filters as feathers, slightly resembles Big Bird and will bring you back to your childhood—especially if you color the filters yellow with a crayon or marker. Materials One large paper plate, one cereal box, one pair of yellow rubber gloves, 30 or so coffee filters, one large rubber band, glue, stapler, scissors, X-Acto knife Steps 1. Mark the eye holes and mouth on the plate and cut them out. 2. Draw triangles for the upper and lower beak shapes on the cereal box and cut them out. Fold a crease into the center of each triangle to create the beak. Fold over the top edge of the beak (about 1/2 inch) to create a tab that can be glued to the plate. 3. Cut the palm portion of one rubber glove to cover the top and bottom beak pieces and glue it onto the cutouts. Then glue the beak to the mask. 4. Cut a rectangular shape from  the cereal box into a 1-inch-by-5-inch piece. Cut the tips off the fingers of the second glove and glue them to the cardboard to look like a  chicken comb. Affix the bottom of the comb at the top center of the back of the paper plate. 5. Fold and cut many coffee filters into feather shapes. Glue the feathers to the outside of the plate and work your way toward the center, overlapping until the mask is covered. (Avoid covering the eyes.)6. Cut a large rubber band to fit around your head and staple it to each side of the mask, hiding the staples under the feathers.
Alien mask Local artist Nat Soti was so inspired by the materials we gave him that he made two masks. (Check out his South Park–inspired creation at This alien mask might not give you any extraterrestrial powers, but you’ll feel out of this world after making a mask  so creative in no time at all. Materials One large paper plate, two small paper plates, two red plastic party cups (or any color), two plastic forks, two straws, construction paper (colors of your choice), rubber bands, scissors, glue and strong tape (duct tape will do) Steps 1. To create the face, paste a piece of colored paper cut to the proper size onto the large plate. 2. To make the eyes: (a) Cut a piece of paper in a ring shape to cover the outside edge of one of the small paper plates. (b) Cut the bottom third off of one of your plastic cups and discard the rest. (c) Cut small incisions every 1/4 inch all around the bottom rim of the cup to create little flaps that you can fold back. (d) In the center of the small plate, cut a hole that is just a little smaller than the size of the cup rim. (e) Insert the plastic cup through the hole—fold the flaps to attach the cup to the back side of the plate. (f) Repeat these steps for the other eye. (Note: Because the plastic-cup eyes will be wider than your face, you will need to punch eye holes in the mask. Just be sure to incorporate the holes into the design.) 3. Glue your eyes (smaller paper plates) to the face (large paper plate). 4. To make the mouth: (a) Take a couple of plastic forks and break the teeth off. (b) Cut the shape of a rectangle (about 2.5 inches long by 1 inch wide) where the mouth should be on the face. (c) On the back side of the mask, arrange the fork teeth like a vent and secure by taping the tops and bottoms.5. Finally, tape straws on the back of the mask at the top of the head to make the antennae. Tie together enough rubber bands to the back of the mask so it fits comfortably around your head.
Kabuki Mouse mask Talk about keeping it simple. Tania Bowers, a jewelry designer at Bucktown boutique Robin Richman, has a penchant for monochromatic looks, and her mask reflects that aestetic. Inspired by a headpiece her friend created with simple  metallic materials for Natalie Portman’s  Star Wars character, Bowers got innovative with the paper plates (okay, she used a Post-it note for flair). Materials Paper plates, hot-glue gun, scissors and a pink Post-it note Steps 1. Cut up a stack of paper plates into various half-circle shapes for the face and layer them together, using a glue gun or simple Elmer’s glue.2. Punch holes for the eyes; cut out more half-circle shapes for the ears. Then cut a tongue-shape on a single Post-it note and stick it on the  mouth area.
You as a South Park Character If you're searching for a lo-fi mask, look no further than to the show that made lo-fi characters cool: South Park. Materials All you need for this mask is a paper plate, glue rubber bands and construction paper. Steps1. For inspiration, there are a few "create your own south park character" web sites where you can choose all of the attributes of a South Park citizen to create a character that looks most like you: and Use the appropriate colored construction paper to cut out the various shapes (face, eyes, mouth hair) and glue to a paper plate.3. Don't forget to cut out eye holes and find something to tie the mask with. String some cut-up rubber bands together and tape them to the back.  Use strong tape to ensure that the rubber bands don't come off when you put the mask on.
By Kevin Aeh and Jessica Herman  Photographs by Donna Rickles |