You know when you get a new cosmetic or whatever and the package says something like, “Always do a patch test before full use”?

I definitely should have learned that lesson way sooner than I actually did. Especially since I’m well aware of how prone I am to ridiculous skin reactions to the most mundane things.

Spirit Gum.
Spirit Gum.

Halloween, 2007.

When you’re a cool, young kid, Halloween’s a big season. It’s not one night of festivities – it’s more like a whole week.

I would just like to clarify that I am not that cool. But I was friends with some cool people at the time, so I got dragged along to a few events.

I already had my big Halloween costume planned. I was going to be Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, which I’m obsessed with. (The book, not the movie, though I do love the movie in its own right.) Here’s a good angle of my costume:

The good cheek.
The good cheek.

But then I was invited to a pre-Halloween Halloween event, and I needed to come up with something else. Heaven forbid I wear the same costume twice. I was doing my friend’s makeup, and he was going to be a half alive, half dead Captain Jack Sparrow, so since we were already going to be applying some prosthetic bones to him, I thought I would get a few latex wounds and turn myself into a zombie girl.

Easy enough.

I put on a black wig and a dress and I gave myself a massive cheek wound, and then a small gunshot wound in the middle of my forehead.* I no longer seem to have any photos of that costume, but the size of the wound on my cheek was something along these lines:

It took up my whole cheek.
It took up my whole cheek.


Everything was fine for the couple hours that I was wearing the wounds, but as the night started to wind down, I started to feel a little itchy and burny on my face. I got home and removed the wounds, and I noticed that my skin was pretty darn red in both the places I had worn the wounds. And it was getting increasingly itchy.

Oh shit. Here we go.

Well, let me just say that by the time real Halloween rolled around a few days later, I wouldn’t have needed much of a costume if I just wanted to look scary. I looked a bit like I was developing some kind of leprosy. It wasn’t quite as bad as the monster rash, but it was a very close second. My entire left cheek was itchy, bumpy, and red, almost like the fake wound was still there, only it was just my irritated skin left behind. Same goes with my forehead. It was perfect timing for me to get dressed up as the sweet and beautiful Alice.

It took me like, two hours and an insane amount of makeup layering to mostly cover up the rash. And ultimately, Alice ended up having to wear A LOT of very dark blush to try to camouflage her mini-monster cheek. If you look very closely in this photo, you can see the circular outline of the rash:

Alice has a secret: she's a zombie.
Alice has a secret: she’s a zombie.

But maybe I can just see it because I know it’s there.

So, next time you’re gonna use something new on your face, DO A PATCH TEST. I’ve since learned that a lot of people I know are also allergic to spirit gum. Halloween 2007 taught me to never use it again.


P.S. That damn rash lasted a good 10 days.

P.P.S. My friend won the costume contest with his Jack Sparrow. I’m still pretty proud of that.

*Yeah, I know, if I were a zombie and I had a bullet hole in my forehead, I’d be a dead undead girl. Let’s not get into it. I just wanted to look cool.