Story originally published in (October, 2016) Issue One of Scout magazine.
Every haunted house season, Vivianne Tartareanu (11) gets her makeup ready and prepares to create horrifying makeup effects for the scare-actors at the Lake Hills Haunted House. For Tartareanu, the effects are not just something she does when the haunted house starts, but they are a year-round hobby. Whether it is a bruise or a full face of clown makeup, Tartareanu does it all.
“I started [doing makeup] three years ago because, on the first two nights [at the Lake Hills Haunted House], I got my makeup done by one of the makeup artists there, and she was not going to be there one night. I went to the Halloween store and bought some basic, cheap [makeup]. I [thought] I could do it pretty well myself, so that year I kept getting the makeup from the Halloween store. I kept practicing and getting better and better. I would not look at videos on how to do it, I would just look at a picture [to] see how it works,” Tartareanu said.
While scrolling through accounts on Instagram, Tartareanu came across an account, @ellyjs, that inspired her to start sharing her talent with her peers. Because the artist who ran the Instagram account used higher quality makeup, Tartareanu ditched the cheap Halloween store makeup for more expensive makeup.
“There was a girl on Instagram who would do awesome gore makeup. She would do it so perfectly it would look like it was real. She inspired me to go out and buy better makeup. I usually buy from Krylon or Ben-Nye. Krylon and Ben-Nye are my favorite. The makeup I have [costs] $700 all together,” Tartareanu said.
After two years of working at the Lake Hills Haunted House, Tartareanu decided to pick up a part-time job as an actress at the Massacre Haunted House in Montgomery, Ill. Despite the struggle of being an actress for more holidays than just Halloween, she continues to work there as often as she can.
“[I do effects makeup] every haunt season, but on my own time every week. I work at Massacre Haunted House part-time, only when I have a ride to get there. It is Illinois’ number one haunted house and they run all year round. They do zombie outbreaks once a month and other holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas. It [inspires] me to make more costumes and bring out my characters more. It was very strange [doing other holidays]. I thought to myself ‘How am I supposed to be a scary elf?’, but once I got into my room and set up, it was easier than I thought it would be. It was easy, except having to incorporate Christmas into it,” Tartareanu said.
Although it may seem that Tartareanu is confident while doing effects makeup, she still feels the pressure when she knows that her bosses are relying on her to create effects that are up to par with other haunted houses. She works through the pressure to make sure her makeup is up to her bosses’ standards.
“I [get nervous doing makeup], especially when people show me pictures and are very picky about it. [For Massacre], my makeup has to be number one and perfect. I’ve done a few people’s [makeup] there, but it is very nerve-wracking. I started off with gore, so going to more artistic things makes me nervous. It is water-based paint and I do not want to mess it up,” Tartareanu said.
Tartareanu is currently enrolled at a Don Roberts Beauty School in Schererville, and hopes to have a career as a special effect makeup artist in the future. She eventually wants to expand her image to get professionals from the industry to see what she does. Tartareanu has already made connections with other actors and actresses from the haunted houses that she works at.
“I would like to have my own makeup brand and line of beauty and special effects makeup. I can also see myself doing effects for movies or something in Hollywood. I am self-taught. I would not want to go to school for it because they teach you a different way. I like doing it my way. I was going to go back to school for [effects makeup] at Kosart in Chicago, but I found out that with the schooling, I will also have my makeup artist license. So, if I did go out and do movies, I would not have to go to school for it. I would want to do makeup for horror movies, but any type of movie would be good with me because I will be licensed to do beauty makeup, hair and special effects. One of the makeup artists [at Massacre], Barbie, is a highly-trained makeup artist and has done short movies and has shown me how to do effects with an airbrush,” Tartareanu said.
Tartareanu often gets requests from friends to do their hair and makeup for events such as dances or Halloween. She gets a lot of requests, which can be overwhelming at times, but that does not stop her from helping them out.
“I have gotten a lot of messages from people who ask me to do makeup for Halloween and prom. It can be annoying sometimes, but I still do it for my friends,” Tartareanu said.
Although it can take up time and energy, Tartareanu does not plan to stop doing special effects makeup, and she will continue to create new characters. She continues to develop new skills that will, in turn, improve her talent and become a Hollywood makeup artist.
“[To improve my effects I am going to] take classes, buy more makeup to do the effects and keep practicing,” Tartareanu said.
You can see Tartareanu’s work on her Instagram pages,
@vivtartareanu, or @beautybyviv.