The pandemic has made the facemask a part of the new normal. You can’t (and shouldn’t) go anywhere without a mask on. But given all the options that have popped up, among others, why should you settle for a drab surgical mask to go with your Halloween outfit?
Gathered here are some of the most creative facemasks designed by skilled Asian artisans or those that feature elements from Asian lore. Complete your trick or treating getup with these clever facial disguises.
1. Maysa Talerd (Thailand)
Face shields may not be as popular as cloth or surgical masks, but they are still a common sight in many parts of Asia. If you’ve never seen one before or have no idea it looks like, you’ll definitely know when you come across one. Often made from a piece of clear plastic, most units feature a large blue band with the words ‘face shield’ blazoned across the top.
A 31-year-old single mother from Bangkok, Thailand, has turned this drab mask into a shield that would make it easier for both kids and adults to wear. She creates designs on white stickers and places them on the shields. Designs vary from well-known protagonists and antagonists from popular movies and anime shows. Some units also feature characters from the Ramayana, such as Hanuman the monkey god, and the demon Totsakan.
Shields are available for 180 baht each, or slightly under 6 US dollars.
2. Russell Villafuerte (Philippines)
Since he first appeared on Project Runway Philippines in 2009, professional fashion designer and licensed interior designer Russell Villafuerte hasn’t stopped pushing boundaries. From leather corsets to asymmetrical oversized kimono-sleeved net coats to phone abuBots, it is challenging to describe his work without the risk of placing it in a box. With the pandemic, he has added a new line to his fashion empire: quarantine-themed outfits and accessories.
During the last few months, his Facebook account RussellVTV has featured a plethora of politically-charged designs. From zombie-themed facemasks named after corrupt politicians to orange inmate jumpsuits paired with a matching mask and fisherman’s cap, there’s something here for every type of trick or treater or budding activist. Prices for the monster facemasks start at P350 (~$7).
3. Malicious X (Japan)
Kaneki’s Tokyo Ghoul mask may be cool but don’t expect to be the only one going for that look at your next Halloween party. No need to worry as you can come in as an even creepier ghoul with a mask from Malicious.X. Based in Japan, this fashion company has put its own unique spin on the black mask with teeth.
With the use of hidden folds and the right poses, this seemingly benign set of fangs reveals a sinister smile. See it in action in this tweet:
Albeit not as animated, the shop also sells a series of masks with creepy reptilian eyes, dark fox masks, skull shoulder bags, and many more. Prices start at ¥2,200 (~$22) for basic masks. Visit the Malicious.X store to send in your orders.
4. Rene Abelardo (Philippines)
Due to the pandemic and numerous lockdowns, another Filipino artist is turning to other markets to earn a bit of cash. Rene Abelardo is a specialist in prosthetics. With no projects from film and TV studios coming in, Rene decided to try out making masks for the public instead.
The current lineup includes demons, zombies, movie villains, and many more. If you feel like dressing up like Manny Pacquiao, he has a mask for that too! Units cost between 300 and 500 pesos ($6-$10) each. Check out Rene’s Facebook page to browse through his portfolio or order handmade masks.
Fancy dressing up as a Gundam? Poot Padee may be able to help you with that. This prop-maker from Thailand produces customized masks that resemble Gundam robots.
Measuring 25cm x 23cm x 17cm, the Sinanju Gundam Ranger mask is a massive piece that is sure to turn heads. Be prepared to shell out a bit more cash for this artwork though as each unit costs $249 and has a total waiting period of almost six months. Contact Poot through his Instagram page to send in your orders.
No, this is not one of those “your face is so ugly…” insults. There are businesses that can print your mug on a face mask. Theoretically, it is meant to make the user look more recognizable. Unfortunately, the reactions are far from encouraging.
Whether you are going for the deadpan look, such as this mask from India, or choose from two smiling options in Japan, a lot of people agree: seeing a mask with a person’s face printed on it is too creepy. Owning a disposable one is also unsettling for some cultures. Some respondents in China indicated that throwing away such face masks gives the impression that they are discarding a part of their face, in a way.
7. Anything (South Korea)
As the healthcare industry, patients, and the general public go through unprecedented amounts of masks, and other medical supplies, another growing concern is what to do with the trash. According to The Verge, Wuhan produces approximately 240 metric tons of medical waste daily. In terms of weight, that’s as heavy as an adult blue whale.
If the thought of adding to the monstrous pile unsettles you, consider wearing Anything. We’re not kidding. Aptly called the Anything face shield, this covering can be used with anything you can find in your home or office – the plastic bag used for gummy worms, pasta, cookies, anything you can think of.
Compared to the other entries on this list, this mask isn’t designed to make you look like a monster. Instead, it’s made to scare the ghosts, ghouls, monsters (and maybe the virus?) away. At the Pai Lom Temple in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, masks are printed with Thai talismans to ward off evil spirits.
Send in your orders through the temple’s Facebook page or their Line account @ice6456. Available in 14 different colors, each mask costs 59 baht ($2). Support these Asian artists this Halloween and beyond by purchasing your masks from them today.
Disclaimer: Horror Asia is not affiliated with any of the artists or brands mentioned in this post. We do not receive any remuneration for any purchases made by clicking any of the links included here.