A party to die for

Costume designer spends months boning up for Halloween

By KARL SCHWEIZER

Herald Writer

EVERETT — You can say this for Daniel Lorentz: When he throws a Halloween party, he definitely strives for realism.

No cheesy Frankensteins and not-so-scary ghosts were to be found at this costume designer’s Everett home on Saturday.

Instead, a hanged skeleton greeted visitors coming through the door of this suburban house that had been converted to a monument to death.

A corpse languished behind the wrought-iron gate of a long-forgotten "mausoleum" in the corner of the living room. Dead leaves covered the floor, giving the illusion of a chilly graveyard.

Out back, a drained fishpond served as a "mass grave," inside of which sat a weathered skeleton and assorted other bones. A hand desperately reached up through the loose earth. Lorentz took in the scene with macabre approval.

"I like the way the skeleton is weathered and rotted like that," he said.

But the grossest of all was a rotting corpse Lorentz designed and had on display in his bedroom. It hadn’t been "dead" quite long enough, judging by the strips of rotting flesh clinging to the skull.

The whole horrifying show was the culmination of months of work for Lorentz, a costume designer who, at 21, has big dreams of creating special effects for a living, perhaps with a Hollywood studio. For him, the five months he spent preparing his house for the Halloween party was just good practice for that future career.

Lorentz said he fell in love with special effects after watching Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" video.

"I was in awe of the corpses, the makeup, the special effects. Michael Jackson was cool back then," Lorentz said.

Lorentz began studying for an art degree at Everett Community College, where he designs his real-looking corpses and other grisly effects. He is also an assistant manager for the Spirit Halloween store, where he keeps a close eye on what is available in makeup and costumes.

For Lorentz, the entire year is just a long period separating Halloweens. If he could, he’d make his living off Halloween.

"What I really want to do is buy a property with an old, spooky house on it and build it into a huge, old mansion," Lorentz said.

He offered that he would decorate it with all kinds of corpses and trapdoors and do a "top-notch, theatrical haunted house."

That way, he could celebrate his favorite holiday all year.

Halloween "is better than Christmas!" he said.

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