On Halloween, you’re sure to see all sorts of monsters. Some monsters are living legends, such as Dracula. Others are monstrous animals, like werewolves. Still others are manufactured in dark, dank dungeons.

For example, most kids know who Frankenstein’s Monster is. He wasn’t a monster until a mad scientist, tinkering in his laboratory, brought him to life. The rest, as they say, is history!

Making monsters might seem like simply the stuff of movies. In fact, it is, but it’s also so much more than that. Many people make an entire career out of making monsters. We call them makeup artists!

If you’ve ever seen a scary movie, you’ve probably seen the work of makeup artists. Of course, many modern movies rely heavily on computers to create their special effects. We call these effects computer-generated images or CGI.

Some moviemakers, though, prefer to use real people in their movies as much as possible. If you want an alien, for example, and you don’t want to use CGI, then you’ll need a very talented makeup artist.

Makeup artists have a long and storied history in Hollywood. Boris Karloff played the monster in the 1931 film version of Frankenstein. Long before computers, makeup artists turned Karloff into one of the most famous movie monsters of all time.

It wasn’t easy, though! Before shooting could begin each day, it took makeup artists almost four hours to turn Karloff into a monster. After shooting was done for the day, it took another three hours to remove all the makeup!

Making movie monsters by hand using makeup and other special devices can be time-consuming. Besides makeup, artists use all sorts of other items, including false teeth, fake blood and plastic appendages called “appliances.”

Many actors don’t mind spending hours getting made up, because they believe it helps them play their roles more convincingly. Actor James Hong played a character named Lo-Pan in the movie Big Trouble in Little China. His old-age makeup took a whopping eight hours to apply and consisted of a dozen overlapping layers of makeup and appliances!

Today, Hollywood’s top makeup artists are in high demand, just like the best actors and directors. Those who perfect their craft can have a long and successful career making monsters for your favorite movies.

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    • Hello to all our Wonder Friends in Mr. Dexter’s Class! We’re excited that you enjoyed today’s Wonder video. We aren’t sure how many shots comprise the film, but we know that the director shot the entire movie in six months! A creative man named Dan MacKenzie shot the film in his dorm room while he attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia! :)

  1. Hello Wonderopolis!

    Happy Halloween! We love today’s Wonder of the Day. We have been wondering what college you have to attend to become a makeup artist. Thank you for helping us wonder and learn every day.

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Reasor’s
    4th Grade Class
    Knoxville, TN

    • Hello to our 4th grade Wonder Friends in Mrs. Reasor’s class! We’re excited that you have been doing some WONDERing of your own! Some makeup artists are self-taught, some go to art school, and some attend special courses that focus on makeup and special effects. We know that it takes a lot of practice to become a makeup artist, but it sure sounds like a LOT of fun! We are having so much fun WONDERing with you today– thanks for stopping by to say hello!

      Happy Halloween! :)

    • We’re so glad you shared your comment with us today, Noah L! We Wonder if you have a favorite monster, or if you like to make different ones by using your imagination?! :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We loved the article about making monsters. Four of us are going to be some type of monster tonight for Trick-or-Treat. We are wondering how you decide which videos to put with your articles. Is it someone’s specific job to look for videos to go with the Wonder of the Day? Who picks the Wonder of the Day? Who writes the article? We have been working on creating a website, so we are learning about how everything gets put together.

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Johnson’s 4th Grade Class
    Hilliard, OH

    • Happy Halloween, Bryleigh!! We are excited that you are sharing our enthusiasm for today! We like WONDERing about monsters, makeup and special effects with great Wonder Friends… like YOU! Have a SUPER day and enjoy your night of trick-or-treating! :)

    • What a great idea, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Utter’s Kindergarten Class! We bet your dads would be excited to create some monster costumes, with your help! We think that sometimes monsters might look scary (because they are big or hairy), but not all of them are mean. We Wonder if any of you have seen the movie Monsters, Inc– we can think of many monsters in that movie who might look different than we do, but they are pretty cool folks!

      Happy Halloween! :)

  3. Good Halloween morning, Wonderopolis!

    Our favorite part of this Wonder was the video. We enjoyed the part where the kid used the Poptart for the brain. We were also amazed that someone would spend 7 hours putting on and taking off make-up for a movie.
    Are you having a Horrifying or Hilarious Halloween at Wonderopolis?

    • Happy Halloween, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Phillips’ class! :)

      We sure are glad you’re here today– we LOVED watching the Wonder video, too! We have been WONDERing about all the different movies, TV show and books we have seen that feature monsters– but now we know they are covered in makeup!

      We are having a very hilarious Halloween here at Wonderopolis! We have an Olympic Gymnast, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Linus (Charlie Brown’s friend who always carries around his blankie), a 50s girl, and Uncle Sam!

      Have fun trick-or-treating tonight!! :)

    • Hey Gage, Happy Halloween! It’s so much fun to Wonder about something new– like monsters– with you today! Isn’t it cool to imagine the time and patience it took to make Frankenstein’s monster come to life?! Have a super time WONDERing today– enjoy the trick-or-treating tonight! :)

  4. It was funny when the boy started laughing in his imagination and he said “awwww”, when he realized that he was still in his room. We liked how he used his imagination in his room, pretending he was in a laboratory and then when his mom called him, it really came alive!
    We learned that it takes a LONG time for them to do make-up. It was amazing to learn that they have to put on so many layers of make-up and it was cool how they can add appendages! It was cool to learn about Boris Karloff… It is neat to learn how they convincingly make the monsters look realistic. It must be hard and take real talent to make the monster look so detailed. We LOVED the video and we want to try some claymation, too!

    • Hello Tigers 4th grade– we’re so glad you are trick-or-treating at Wonderopolis today! You did a SUPER job of pointing out your favorite parts of the Wonder of the Day®!

      We also enjoyed learning about the creative makeup artists’ hard work! Sometimes their creations are so realistic, we have to remind ourselves it’s just makeup!

      Have a happy Halloween, Wonder Friends! Good luck with your claymation adventure, too! :)

    • Thanks, Wonder Friends! We think this Wonder of the Day® has taught us SO much about monsters, artists and imagination! We think it’s funny that many of us think Frankenstein is the monster, but as our Wonder Friend Lucy reminds us, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor. The monster is nameless!

      Happy Halloween and thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today! :)

    • Thanks for reminding us of that important information, Lucy! We’re so glad that you pointed out that the monster’s name isn’t Frankenstein– it’s the doctor’s! We hope you have a happy Halloween– we’re so glad you visited today! :)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,
    We loved today’s wonder and happy halloween. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about fishing. From Connor

    • YIPPE, thanks for sharing your comment about our Wonder today, Connor! We are glad you liked WONDERing about monsters today– it seems like Halloween is one of the best days to Wonder about them!

      Hope to see you tomorrow– we can’t wait to find out if your guess is right! :)

  6. That was so cute! I loved today’s wonder! I also liked the “campfire” video. I want to try claymation, too. It sounds and looks really fun! ……………………….BERKLEIGH

    • HOORAY, we’re so excited that your WONDERing with us today, Berkleigh! Claymation videos are lots of fun to watch– we hope you’ll give it a try! Happy Halloween! :)

  7. Happy Halloween! We liked the video today! We think tomorrow’s Wonder might be something mysterious (fishy) or maybe about real fish!
    Thank you for putting up wonders of the day! From Catie!

    Have a spooky Halloween!

    • Hi there, Wonder Friends– happy Halloween to you, too! We are glad you enjoyed the Wonder video, it was lots of fun to dream up our own versions of a monster today with you!

      Thanks for sharing your fishy guess with us– we look forward to seeing you tomorrow. We also appreciate your kind comment, Catie! Happy Halloween to you and our Wonder Friends the Tigers! :)

  8. We thought today’s wonder was a little scary. Kinda freaky, yet awesome. The majority of kids polled in our classroom thought it would be spooktacular to be made up as Frankenstein or some other monster.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about seafood restaurants, kinds of fish, fishing, giant fish tanks full of fish, boofish, or maybe even scuba divers…dressed up as fish??

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s PM class! Happy Halloween!

      We appreciate your comments– we hope today’s Wonder wasn’t too scary… we want you to have fun! We bet you’ll have a SUPER time trick-or-treating in your costumes tonight! From monsters to rock stars to animals and more!

      Check out all your great guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder– we can’t wait to see you soon. Until then, Happy Halloween! :)

    • Wow, what a cool costume idea, Leslie! We think a hippie costume includes bright colors and a tie-dye pattern… are we right? We think that a lot of our Wonder Friends will have a great time trick-or-treating tonight… we hope you do, too! :)

  9. Halloween is going to be a scary night, but I have an awesome costume that my sister is going to make for me. My costume is a zombie kid, I’ll have a mohawk with colors, and a jacket and jeans, and I will look like a zombie. :o

    • OOOhhh, your costume sounds really WONDERful, Carlos! We bet your sister did a great job helping you put it together! Our favorite part that you described is the different colors you will have in your mohawk hair! Have a fun time trick-or-treating tonight, Wonder Friend, or should we say Wonder Zombie? :)

    • We bet you had a SUPER time trick-or-treating in your awesome costume, Lily! Thanks for sharing your vampire princess costume idea– we Wonder if you had a favorite part from the Wonder video or article? We’d love to hear about it! Keep up the super work, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Erin! We are glad you enjoyed our Wonder video about monster creations– we Wonder if you have ever tried your hand at claymation before? We sure hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

    • We wish you LOTS of luck as you make your very own monster, Wonder Friend star! It sounds like you’re up for the challenge– we hope you have a SUPER time creating a creature of your own! :)

  10. I am so interested in spooky stuff! My friend at school can tell the most amazing ghost stories. I will come back later. :) Bye! :o

    • oOoOoOhHH, Cascade, this is quite a sPoOkY comment you shared! Thanks for WONDERing with us about spooky monsters and fun ghost stories! We bet it’s lots of fun to swap stories with your friends! :)

    • It’s certainly possible, Bianca, though all of us at Wonderopolis have never been able to build a robot… yet! We know that a lot of movies include robots… can you think of any shows, films or online videos you have seen that include a robot or a robotic monster? :)

  11. That video was cool Dude! I don’t really like monsters but it was cool. It was a cool movie and I know how to do a evil laugh ha ha. Do you know how to do a evil laugh!? :) :) :) :) :)

    • Thanks so much, Wonder Friend Phoenix! We think monsters can be frightening at times, but we like learning about how they are created– with makeup and special effects! We were perfecting our evil (and funny) laughs this Halloween… mmmwwwahhhahahahaha! :)

  12. My brother and sister loved the video. Thank you for writing a lot of comments back to my class and my teacher is Mrs. Thomas. Aloha Wonderopolis!

    • WOHOO, thanks for sharing this monster-mash Wonder with your siblings, Noah S! You’re a SUPER brother and Wonder Friend! :)

      We really enjoy WONDERing with you and your classmates in Mrs. Thomas’ class– it’s lots of fun to spend time with all of you! Have a SUPER day! Aloha! :)

  13. It was the most wonderful and cute video I have ever seen! You shoud make more! I loved your video and it was the BEST video I have ever seen!

    • He he, today’s Wonder video about Ormie the pig made us smile, too, Julia!! We are so glad that you enjoyed WONDERing about flying pigs with us, Wonder Friend Julia! Keep up the great work! :)

    • We’re sorry that our monster Wonder wasn’t one of your favorites, Chris! We have a lot of Wonder Friends who learned something new from our Wonder, but we’re glad that you already knew how to make a monster! We appreciate your comment! :)

    • Great Wonder, Shyaunna! We think that you can use your imagination to bring a monster to life, but we’re confident that lightening will not bring a creature to life out of the blue! :)

  14. I really like this one but you guys should really start to put some more things like this up and tell us who is the best artist in the world but that is more of an opinion. My favorite painting is Mona Lisa.

    • Well thanks so much, Chase! We really appreciate your comment about Wonderopolis! We Wonder if you know which artist is responsible for the famous Mona Lisa painting? :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend Jasmine! We think monsters can be lots of things… scary, cool, interesting, sneaky… but they’re lots of fun to Wonder about! :)

    • We have some makeup for dressing up or disguises here at Wonderopolis, but we don’t think it looks anything like the movie Frankenstein! Thanks for asking, Maka! :)

    • We bet you can come up with another clever way to disguise yourself, Kyle! Perhaps you can wear a cool costume or a mask instead? :)

  15. I liked all the things in it. I am in school and we are talking actually right now. I am in Mrs. Hess’ class and we love the wonders.

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us today! We’re so glad you enjoyed going behind-the-scenes to find out how a monster is made! :)

  16. I think that was cool making a Halloween object about a monster. Are monsters scary? The boy made a monster with clay! WOW and he is funny, too! :) Although, I am in Mrs. Hess’s class! See you soon! :) :) :) :)

    • Thanks so much, Kathy! We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed our moster Wonder! We are so happy you liked learning how to create a monster– perhaps you’ll use this information next Halloween! See you soon, Wonder Friend! :)

  17. Hi I’m from Mrs. Hess’ class, a WONDERful teacher. I love that video it is SO funny. I really loved the sound effects. The little boy’s laugh is super funny most of all. I’m going to keep wondering WONDERful questions. :)

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Shalize! Thanks so much for sharing your comment about making monsters today! We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the Wonder video– we learned a lot about the art of making a monster! We’re happy to hear you’re smiling while you Wonder! :)

    • Thanks so much, Wonder Friend Marko! We’re glad to hear that our monster Wonder made you smile! Have a super time WONDERing, and we hope to see you soon! :)

  18. The video was really funny and even my mom said so too. It was so funny we couldn’t stop laughing for 5 minutes. I think you should make more videos like this one. Plus I’m from Mrs. Atkinson’s class and we also saw it. It was so funny that my class couldn’t stop laughing and we all had to drink water.

  19. Hi I’m from Mrs. Hess’ class and that video is hilarious can you send more funny videos? Except the When Do Pigs FLY and The Speaking Tapir? I’m still WONDERing WONDERful questions. Thank YOU!!! :)

  20. How do you put a video on wonderoplis? and I really like this can anyone give me tips on a Halloween costume? :) thanks! :)

  21. Hi I’m Kennion and I think this video is very funny. Keondre thinks this is the best video and you should make more.

    • Hello to our Wonder Friends Kennion and Keondre! We are glad this Wonder video made you chuckle! We can’t take credit for making the video, but we’re so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! We Wonder if you have ever made a monster of your own!? :)

  22. This video would really help me with my Halloween costume and a costume party any ideas on what I should be? It would really help if you gave me some ideas thanks.

    • We think you’ll come up with a WONDERful costume idea, Wonder Friend Krystiara! Perhaps you can think of your favorite character from a book or a television show, or even a favorite inanimate object (like a sock monkey)! :)

    • We’re sorry to hear that, Kenzie! We Wonder if you have ever dressed up as a monster for Halloween, or if you have a favorite Halloween costume? :)

    • We’re glad to hear you participate in the awesome holiday that is Halloween, Kenzie! Thanks for responding to our comment! You’re awesome, Kenzie! :)

    • WOW, that’s a SUPER laugh, Wonder Friend Mistery! We bet you’re good at being extra spooky around Halloween! :)

    • Hey Madalyn, thanks for WONDERing with us! We are glad the monster really made you smile– isn’t it so cool to use your imagination and WONDER! :)

    • Agreed, Juwan! Sometimes the monsters in scary movies are a little too lifelike for us! Thank you for hanging out with us in Wonderopolis! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you make a monster?
  • What do makeup artists do?
  • Can you turn yourself into a monster on Halloween?

Wonder Gallery

Frankenstein_shutterstock_543961Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Want to go beyond the simple Halloween costume this year? Use makeup to transform yourself into a monster of your own unique creation!

Sketch out a plan for what you want to look like. Then ask a friend or family member to help you with the process of transforming into something ghoulish. You may need to head to the store first to get a few supplies, such as makeup, fake blood or even an extra eyeball.

When you’re finished, take a picture of your monstrous invention and post it to Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to see what you look like!

Still Wondering

In ReadWriteThink’s The Big Green Monster Teaches Phonics in Reading and Writing lesson, a big green monster helps students build their reading fluency and word recognition skills through choral reading, literacy center activities and writing.

Wonder What’s Next?

There’s something a bit fishy about tomorrows Wonder of the Day!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.