It's finally the end of October, which means that Halloween is in the air -- and of course, so is FX's hit, Halloween-friendly "American Horror Story: Hotel." Every year, creator Ryan Murphy and his dedicated team of behind-the-scenes professionals and very game actors combine forces to make one of the most visually stunning shows on television, and so much of why past iterations of "AHS" have been so memorable is due to just how much these actors are able to transform.
Last year, MTV News spoke with "AHS" makeup lead Eryn Krueger Mekash to chat about the most stunning makeup transformations from "Freak Show," and this year we've done it again for "Hotel." Feel free to take her words as gospel when it comes to creating your best ever Halloween costume:
To nail Lady Gaga's aesthetic, look no further than the pages of Glamour -- 1930s Glamour, that is.
"Her look is basically a classic beauty look," Mekash told MTV News. "Ryan Murphy, the boss man, wanted everything to be very glamorous and very beautiful and very classic Hollywood because of her backstory, that you'll soon be seeing a lot more of. So, we wanted to go with deep reds and some really fun eye makeup and also just that glamour, that 1930s glamour; we're doing a lot of that stuff... She's a beauty. Gaga's a beauty, just a classic beauty, so that kind of subtle makeup, beautiful glamour makeup looks great on her."
One of Mekash's most crucial tips -- outside of the red lip, and no contouring -- was to go light in the eye shadow department.
"Just using lighter shades makes [Gaga's look] happen," she continued. "It's a very pronounced point that comes out past the eyebrow... It's just your basic kind of beautiful. There's blush... eye makeup, and lipstick, which makes it look super glamorous. She's got lashes on and she has beautiful eyebrows, but it's basically just a beautiful classic Hollywood look."
The Addiction Demon
Here's where it gets more complicated: to pull off the Addiction Demon's look, one would need facial prosthetics and hours to spare.
"[It takes] three makeup artists doing it full time for four and a half hours," Mekash explained. "It's a big makeup; it's incredibly fantastic. Dave Anderson of AFX studios created it. It's Ryan's design, obviously."
"All the wrinkles and everything, there's an understructure that's a prosthetic that he wears first," she continued. "It's glued down. And then there's another piece that goes over the top of it that's silicone. It has all the wrinkles sculpted into it. Then there's... more pieces that go over the whole body. There are sheets that go over and you create the wrinkles with it. And it's also silicone and it's under-painted. It's a huge, huge makeup."
Sounds pretty tough, right? It gets tougher -- because even if you could somehow recreate the "AHS" prosthetic, you'd still need to fully cover yourself in shiny, slippery lube.
"He's covered in transparent jelly," Mekash explained. "We use M.A.C. Gloss Brilliance and sometimes KY to put over the top of everything to make it really shiny."
To replicate Denis O'Hare's scene-stealing Liz Taylor, all you'd really have to do is check out an IRL classic from the real-life Liz Taylor -- and of course, shave your entire body.
"It's directly from Elizabeth Taylor's character in 'Cleopatra,'" Mekash explained. "And the bald head comes from this gentleman who used to work at, I think, the Chateau Marmont... it takes more time to shave his face than it does to do his makeup, so we shave his head and whole face. He shaves his arms and sometimes his body, depending on what he's wearing. And we had to make nails for Denis because he has such large hands.. he has four sets of nails depending on what he's wearing. He has a gold set, a red set, a black set, and a blue set. And he has this beautiful eye makeup inspired by 'Cleopatra,' and a very lovely peach lip."
Of course this is a much easier look to pull off than the Addiction Demon -- though when it comes to nailing Taylor's eyeliner, the devil is in the details. Details which require a pricey trip to Sephora, ASAP.
"We're using Makeup Forever Aqua Black [for the eyeliner]," Mekash revealed. "And the top is Aqua Sealer so that it stays on. So that's the liner. I also use Kat Von D eyeliner, the black pen liner. And underneath, the gold is set with Makeup Forever gold aqua cream and then over the top is OCC turquoise. And then over the top of that is Ardell Lashes Number 305 mascara, and then a Chanel blush."
Looking to nail the look of one of The Countess' (or Donovan's, or Tristan's, or James March's) victims? Then it's all about creating the right look with fake blood.
"There's tons of wonderful bloods out there that we use. We use quite a few," Mekash explained. "I actually just posted a picture on Instagram of about 10... empty blood gallons that are just sitting out that we used. We mix around colors, because depending on the look we're going for, we usually go for something that's more of a dark toned blood so it looks better on film. There's a wonderful amount of blood out there, and wonderful companies that make beautiful, theatrical blood... And we have a lot of people drinking blood this year, so a lot of the blood we use is Mouth Blood, so it's edible."
However, creating the effect of blood spurting out of your neck -- an effect that "AHS" has used quite liberally this season -- you'd have to be willing to be a little less mobile.
"There's things underneath it; bladders that are grooved underneath the [neck] prosthetics," Mekash continued. "And there's a rig that goes down to a fire extinguisher that's pressurized, and then we spray the fire extinguisher once the knife goes through, and then it sprays with 90 PSI pressure sprays. The cameras are all covered in plastic, and it goes everywhere... Everything you see is all practical. We haven't had any real visual effects blood that we've done this year, so everything is done right on camera."
All of these sound like pretty solid costume ideas -- for Halloween, or just your average Friday night, whatever -- but if you do decide to dress as the Countess, just be sure you're ready to drink a whole lot of cherry juice.
"It is an issue, to be honest with you," Mekash explained. "People are like, 'Oh my god I have to drink so much juice, I think I'm feeling a little light headed.' It probably happens on all big blood shows -- but we haven't done that level of blood before, so we're having a lot of fun with it."