Dexter’s latest victim … me!

5 Nov

When a friend asked me to go to a Halloween party this year, I immediately asked the dreaded question: “Do I have to dress up?”  I knew he wouldn’t push it however he did inform me that everyone else would be in costume….it was his nice way of saying, “You’ll look like an idiot if you don’t.”  I quickly decided that if I had to dress up I was going to go all out.  I got the creative juices flowing – aided of course by several google searches – and came up with a costume that I could get excited about (I’ll be honest, he had very little say in the matter…) – Dexter and his latest victim!

Now, for those of you who are crazy enough not to watch Showtime’s Dexter, Dexter is a serial killer who kills other serial killers by wrapping them in plastic and stabbing them in the chest.  A la this:

The costume for my partner in crime was relatively easy – Dexter’s “kill uniform”: his signature green long-sleeved Henley (something like this) and cargo pants, black apron, gloves, and face shield (hey, he’s a forensics expert and doesn’t mess around with blood splatter!)  “Dexter” could also sport a bloody knife or syringe but for our costume, the knife had already been, umm, used…

Now before I go into my ‘victim” costume, I must admit that I am the least crafty person you will ever meet.  There was a pretty high probability that my costume was going to be a total disaster…but I liked it too much not to try (and I found a few really helpful websites, including this, this, and this.)

I kept my expectations relatively low, but here’s what I was hoping for:

– I wouldn’t look like someone who simply wrapped themselves in saran wrap for Halloween (despite the fact that I was essentially wrapping myself in saran wrap for Halloween…)

– I would be able to move, walk, and sit (thank god for high bar stools – the couch was a major no-no in this costume!)

– I would be able to go to the bathroom…because let’s face it, when you’re dressed in saran wrap for Halloween, you’re going to need to DRINK.

– That the saran wrap wouldn’t touch my actual skin.  I had visions of myself sweating all over people I barely know.  And it was awkward.

So with all that in mind, here’s what I needed:

  • Base for costume (wrap dress, strapless bra and boy shorts, etc)
  • Saran wrap (2 rolls)
  • Clear duct table
  • Double sided tape
  • Nude tights
  • Fake blood or corn syrup/red food coloring mixture
  • Knife handle
  • Red manicure (totally optional but you know me!)

Step 1- BODY WRAP: I made every bride’s dream come true and “wore it again!”  (Technically I chopped the hell out of an old bridesmaid dress and covered it in saran wrap and duct table but still.)  I happened to have a short, strapless bridesmaid dress in my closet so I figured I could put it to use however you could always use something like this as the costume base.

A cautionary tale: I tried to put part of my costume together in advance of actually stepping into it Saturday night, but that ultimately turned out to be a disaster.  A few nights before the party I had layered six long strips of saran wrap, attached it with double-sided tape at the waist inside the dress and looped it down, around the hem, and back up to the waist of the outside of the dress.  Then I duct taped the vertical seams of the saran wrap so that I had a plastic skirt.  I figured I could slip into it, wrap the top, and be done.  If only!

Fast forward to Saturday night, 45 minutes before “Dexter” was picking me up, and I couldn’t Houdini my way into my costume for the life of me.  I had inadvertently covered the zipper of the dress with plastic and tape (I told you I wasn’t crafty) and pulled the saran wrap just tight enough that I couldn’t get the dress over my hips by stepping into it or past my shoulders when I tried putting it on over my head.  Yikes.  Tempted to accept that I might end up the only idiot at the party without a costume, I grabbed a roll of saran wrap and started wrapping.  And wrapping.  And wrapping.

Here’s a bit of friendly advice if you’re going to try this:

  • Do NOT wrap your entire body with one continuous piece of saran wrap.  First wrap from your waist down and then from your waist up.  You can fill in your midsection as needed to give the appearance of one continuous wrap however if you like to move – or breath – you’re going to want to create the look in sections.
  • Having a friend help wrap would be extremely helpful but is not absolutely necessary.  My roommate was out of town and I didn’t want to ask my date to come over early to wrap me in saran wrap so I managed.  I’m glad I saw this advice to twist and scrunch the saran wrap as you go; it really helped make the costume not see through with fewer layers than if I would have just kept evenly wrapping.  Since I was working on my own, I also used double-sided tape along the chest and waist of my dress.  It made me feel a little more “secure” and definitely helped guide the first few layers of wrap.
  • Being wrapped in saran wrap is HOT.  No, not that kind of hot but actual temperature rising, sweaty, sticky hot.  Saran wrap is also pretty itchy.  It’s up to you but I personally did not want the wrap touching my skin all night so I made sure to wear a full base dress and keep the wrap on the dress, not my skin.  I also wore nude tights to help with this.
  • As you’re wrapping, make sure to stand with your feet at least shoulders’ width apart.  If you don’t you’re essentially going to bind yourself in a saran wrap bandage dress and you won’t be able to sit or go to the bathroom.  Even in keeping my feet apart, my costume was very fitted.  I could walk and move without any problems; however “Dexter” had to pick up my phone when I dropped it because there’s no bending in this number.  Sitting on a couch or low chair wasn’t possible either so I kept to standing, bar stools, and the reclined passenger seat in “Dexter’s” car.
  • Once you feel – and look – properly wrapped, duct tape the ends.  I also added a bit of clear duct tape to anywhere I felt needed a bit more support.  Make sure you don’t have major bulges anywhere, and if you do, you can easily flatten them with some tape.
  •  If you plan on drinking an obscene amount of booze on Halloween, this costume probably isn’t for you.  Much to what will be my mother’s delight, I really watched what I drank most of the night.  I sipped punch and held out as long as I could; it was well after midnight until I finally gave in and went to the bathroom.  While it made for a fun game of “Will she be able to?” among a few of the party guests, this is not a costume you want to have to wiggle in and out of repeatedly throughout the night.
  • You will probably feel like a saran wrapped barrel all night but I promise you don’t look like one!  The response from Dexter fans is so worth this costume!

Step 2- THE KNIFE: I used a leftover prop from my office’s Halloween party and simply broke the blade off the handle of a plastic knife.  I used double sided tape (super glue would also work) to attach the handle below my sternum and then secured it with a bit more saran wrap.  After you add the blood you’re going to cover it with duct tape so don’t worry if it doesn’t feel totally secure just yet.

Step 3- THE BLOOD: You can of course use a go-to corn syrup and red food coloring mixture but since I have neither in my kitchen, I picked up fake vampire blood at Ricky’s for $3.  Just below and around the knife handle, I squeezed the fake blood onto my costume drop by drop until I was happy with the look I had.  I probably used about one-third to half of the tube.  Remember to cover the blood with saran wrap or else it will get over everything.  The saran wrap will lighten the color a bit so I would recommend using what you might think is too much fake blood vs. not using enough.  I also covered the saran wrap with a layer of clear duct tape because I was going to someone’s apartment and didn’t want to risk getting the blood on anything.

Here’s how things were looking:

Step 4- CUT ON CHEEK: I was very disappointed to have to skip this signature mark but for once in my life I – thank god! – read the directions and because of that tested a drop of the fake blood on the inside of my wrist before smearing it all over my face.  I had an itchy reaction to it and ultimately decided I had to skip the bloody facial cut.  Instead, I skipped bronzer so that my face was more on the pale side.  I donned red lipstick too, just for fun.

Step 5- EXTRAS: There’s SO MUCH you can do with the extras!  I stayed pretty minimal and went with nude tights and heels, and a very, very red manicure.  If you’re more crafty than I am, you could try “blood” splattered nails or shoes, a saran wrap headband (or wrapped ankles, wrists, etc), or I even saw a blood slide necklace which I thought was very creative.

Here is our finished costume!

I cannot stress how awesome the reaction we got was.  And it was just a really fun costume!

(And yes, your “Dexter” will absolutely have to cut you out of this contraption at the end of the night.  Wink, wink.)

One Response to “Dexter’s latest victim … me!”


  1. 12 memories from 2012 « Unwedded Bliss - January 18, 2013

    […] This Costume […]

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