Co-directors Ari Costa and Eren Celeboglu on set with All Fun and Games cast members

Costumes, Sets, Makeup! Halloween inspo from the pros behind All Fun and Games

By: AGBO Staff

Halloween’s best decor and costume inspirations always come from horror movies. This year we are lucky to have access to the talents behind AGBO’s recent release, All Fun and Games, to give us behind-the-scenes details on how to make fake wounds and front porches feel haunted – among other cinematic tricks. 

Co-directed by Ari Costa and Eren Celeboglu and starring Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer, Asa Butterfield (known for Ender’s Game), and Laurel Mardsen of the Ms. Marvel TV series, All Fun and Games is terrifying from frame one. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, it follows a group of teens who must beat wicked versions of traditional childhood games to survive newly unleashed demonic forces. In the process, rich themes tied to family, youth, and inner growth unravel against the thoroughly creepy visual world of the film, which was carefully crafted by its behind-the-scenes production artists, like costume designer William Ng, set designer Diana Magnus, and makeup artist Doug Morrow

Here’s the scoop about All Fun and Games’ sinister set, blood-stained costumes, and realistically grizzly makeup – as well as a few tips on how to elevate your Halloween game to Hollywood levels. 

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Behind the scenes: COSTUME DESIGN

When costume designer William Ng first came onto the project to discuss costume looks with the film’s co-directors, they turned to classic films like The Shining for inspiration, as well as new films that they’d never seen before. Ng took an intuitive approach, tapping into the film’s pitch deck to get a sense of its “overall energy,” he said, and then ran with it. 

“It’s a very real, naturalistic film. And it has this dynamic that’s so important: A family that seems separated but then eventually comes together to defeat the demon,” Ng said. “Visuals aside, it’s a beautiful story.”

When it came time to create the visuals, though, Ng had to be mindful of the harrowing challenges that the characters must navigate throughout the film, and how these shifts would affect the costumes – including burns and dripping blood.

“We easily had seven or eight [costume] sets for every character. Everyone wore basically the same thing throughout the film. As it progressed, people got bloodier or burnt, or muddy. When Marucs (Asa Butterfield) scratched the X on his head, we had to create those drips on the outfit,” Ng shared. 

Asa Butterfield as Marcus in All Fun and Games

For the film’s Puritan outfits, Ng looked at history: old drawings of settlers during the time. He also took some creative license and introduced more vibrant colors to match the film’s overall aesthetic. To accomplish the spooky Puritan look yourself, Ng suggests big-buckled shoes, white wool socks pulled over dress pants, a white collar, and a big hat. You might consider adding some nefarious mud or dirt marks, to signal frightening encounters. In the end, though, Ng says that making the costume creepy is “all about the attitude.” 

To relate the passage of time, set designer Diana Magnus focused on portraying the characters’ relationship with the home across generations. 

Behind the scenes: SET DESIGN

As co-director Eren Celeboglu said upon the film’s release, the house itself is a “character” in the film. Set designer Diana Magnus certainly seemed to embrace this mentality in pinning down the house itself, which needed to be “era-appropriate, with East Coast architecture and large, rambling hallways to accommodate all the family and demon action,” she shared. 

Since one of the film’s central themes is family, Magnus said the house also needed to have a familiar, “lived-in” look, which she accomplished by sourcing “moody” wallpaper, and decor that would subtly connote the family’s relationship with the home. 

“The family has deep ties to Salem and its past through the family generations that lived in the house. I wanted to show this by using different design imprints through the decades…  We also included framed ‘ancestor' photos from the early 20th century and framed real photos of our actors at younger ages,” Magnus said.

To relate the passage of time with even more precision (and eeriness), Magnus added “decades-worth of grime, dust, climbing weeds, and spiderwebs” to other locations, too, like the witches’ shack, located on an old abandoned rural property in Winnipeg, Canada. To obtain a “haunted Salem” feel for your own home’s facade, Magnus suggests mixing in “witches, tombstones, black cats, and a hanging noose for good measure.”

Actress Summer H. Howell as the Demon

Behind-the-scenes: MAKEUP

For makeup designer Doug Morrow, the biggest design challenge was transforming then-16-year-old actress Summer H. Howell, who plays the demon, into a 12-year-old boy. The second obstacle in creating the look, he says, was racing against the clock to transform her. 

“On any film, they want this process to be as quick as possible. I built the makeup in two pieces, a big cowl piece going down onto her shoulders with a burnt ear and the split throat, and we would just glue that around the periphery of her face. Then there was also a facial prosthetic that gave the appearance of Summer being slightly more male.”

To save time, Doug and his team pre-painted all of the prosthetics, and then adjusted the details once she was wearing them. “We did it all in under two hours, and that included her arms and her legs and her feet.”

“[But] at the end, I had all these tubes running through her that made it look like she was dissolving, which took many, many hours.” 

Howell was patient throughout the process, which involved getting her head cast made by Doug weeks ahead of time using “green goop,” she recalls. Ultimately, when the cameras started rolling, the makeup helped her inhabit the male character.

“Connecting with the character and his backstory was important,” Howell shared, “I was confident having the makeup put on, because I looked like him. I didn’t have many lines, so it was more about the scare factor.” 

In a rush this Halloween? Do as much as you can ahead of time to add detail to the various elements of your makeup, Morrow suggests. “Play around and just have fun with it. 

If you’re going to use prosthetics, Morrow advises, make sure to use the proper adhesives that go with them. “Don’t put crazy glue on your face,” he warns.

We’d love to see your creepy Halloween looks. Send your photos to us for a chance to be seen on AGBO’s social feeds.

Watch All Fun and Games.