On Wednesday my niece won a trip for the family on the Dean Forest Railway’s Hallowe’en ghost train. This presented an opportunity too good to miss – the prospect of getting three generations of us dressed up in Hallowe’en costumes, combined with a night-time ride on a steam train. But also a problem – I needed a costume, and quickly. And it really had to be something suitably steampunk didn’t it?
The result was The Mask (also known as Doctor Steam), made over two long evenings in a bit of a rush. He is made from cardboard, painted with enamel paints to look like ancient and dirty brass. The eyes are immuminated by two yellow LEDs which project glowing circles that look rather like cats eyes.
The effect is quite disconcerting when he stares at you and slowly tilts his head from side to side as if he’s considering exactly what to do to you. The effect on small children was wonderful; when he stared at them, most ran straight back to their mother or father, then slowly creapt back again to take another look. And when the lights in the train suddenly went out, the effect was even more creepy. I remember watching Dr Who as a child, and having the same terrified fascination.
The pictures below show The Mask at home before leaving for the railway, a couple of pictures with my rather insane family (I’ve left out the children’s pictures for privacy reasons), and a few showing The Mask under construction. Oh, and it won first prize in the costume competition.
On the Ghost Train with my family, before the lights went out: