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Master of masks does magic Makeup artist's palette has transforming power for Halloween season


At Halloween Party Treats, customers can find costumes, masks, accessories, even a new face.

A menu outside the shop in Carrolltown Center lists frightful faces such as a fully scarred Freddy Krueger and Frankenstein's monster -- complete with neck bolts.

David Geyer, the owner of the shop and a makeup artist, offers daily specials. He can customize any imagined monster.

"I promise people will go out of here beaming, ready to go haunting," he said. "We can do just about anything, but it helps if customers have a picture of what they want to look like."

Makeup starts at $15 for a clown and climbs to $40 for an "Oh! My God" accident victim and $55 for a the most time-consuming, a werewolf. Zits are $1, and warts sell for $2.50.

The shop opened five weeks ago for the masquerade season and will close Tuesday. Ninja costumes are the biggest seller. About five dozen have gone out the door with children.

"Parents push them toward puppy costumes," Mr. Geyer said. "The kids go home with scythes and sickles."

Adults browse for props or ideas. A featureless face mask "sold like crazy to people who wanted to be nothing," Mr. Geyer said. The shop stocks beards, scars, open wounds and creepy hair. Makeup is Mr. Geyer's preference.

A demonstration this week drew shoppers at the Eldersburg mall into the store. In an hour, Mr. Geyer had transformed Marie A. Miller into a cat so realistic that her four children barely recognized her.

"She looked nice," said 13-year-old Jenny Miller. "If I had seen her on the street, I probably wouldn't have known her."

All it takes is makeup, glitter and heavily teased hair. "Hair alters appearance more than anything," Mr. Geyer said.

A woochie, a light latex impression of a cat's nose, also helps in the transformation.

"The most difficult thing about creating animals is the nose," Mr. Geyer said. "I can get very close with wax, but a woochie does it best, and it's light as a feather."

Even without a full palette of powders and shadows, ordinary household goods can create horror. "Most people go for the ugly," said Mr. Geyer, who once used miniature marshmallows to fulfill a teen-age wish for a disgusting look.

"Popcorn could work just as well," he said. "Cornmeal and latex are the key to wrinkles."

He stepped back from his cat work and said, "Or, maybe kitty litter all over the face."

"Thank God he is only making me a cat," Ms. Miller said.

As Mr. Geyer layered on the colors, Ms. Miller said the makeup felt cool and light.

"There is no thick feeling," she said. "I don't even know the woochie is there."

Mr. Geyer added black paint to her lips and to the cat nose, and sprayed yellow lines into her thick black hair. He dotted the woochie with dark spots to emulate whiskers and penciled curlicues along the chin line to give an illusion of cat hair.

"When you are making up for a party and not for the stage, it is really hard to mess up," Mr. Geyer said. "If you make a mistake, then make something of it."

Lines finish the process. Sharp ones pointed down will give an evil look to the face, but a glitter kitty gets only happy curlicues.

"Never let them see until you are done," Mr. Geyer said.

One final prop, a feathery black boa, finished the costume.

Finally, he handed Ms. Miller a mirror. Startled at her feline appearance, she nearly fell from her stool. A kittenish grin quickly spread across her face.

A shower and shampoo are all that is necessary to revert to the former self, said Mr. Geyer. A butter knife can remove a stubborn woochie, and rubbing alcohol takes away any residue.

Ms. Miller went home and scared her children "just a little." A few hours later, they all wanted the cat woman gone and their mother back.

"I peeled the nose right off," she said. "A shower took care of the rest."

After years in the theater, Mr. Geyer is used to having his work washed down the drain.

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