Mask-making class offered in time for Halloween

The possibilities are endless when creating a mask.
The possibilities are endless when creating a mask. COURTESY OF PAMELA SHOOK

If you waited too long to pick out your Halloween costume this year, don’t panic. There’s another option that’s even better than any store-bought witch or bargain bin zombie disguise out there.

On Oct. 17, the Cabarrus Art Guild will offer a mask-making workshop. Open to ages 14 and up, the three-hour class will show students the steps to creating clever masks just in time for the Halloween parties around the corner.

The workshop costs $40 and will be held at Cabarrus Art Guild on Union Street in Concord. Participants are asked to bring glue guns if they have them.

The appeal of concealing one’s face behind decorative cover has gone on for centuries. They’ve been used for nearly every occasion – in rituals, in ceremonies, in war and as torture devices for punishment, but most would agree the favorite reason to slip one on is for the sheer fun of it.

“I think it’s just the desire we all have to be someone else for an evening,” said the workshop’s instructor, Pamela Shook. “You can be scary or glamorous. That’s kind of within us all.”

Shook, who lives in Matthews, has spent her entire career creating masks, but for puppets, not people. A professional puppeteer who worked for Atlanta’s Piccadilly Puppets and the Center for Puppetry Arts before launching Blue Moon Puppets 21 years ago in Charlotte, Shook has fashioned countless puppets for children’s theatrical productions, and the props, like masks, that sometimes go with them.

Really, she said, there’s not a lot of difference between making puppets and making masks.

“The two are very closely related,” she said. Just like puppets, masks can be made out of everything from papier-mâché to fabric.

Shook will bring an assortment of materials with her to the mask-making workshop, including different size mask forms, silk flowers, greenery, beads and plenty of mystery accessories. She also encourages people to bring whatever else they’d like to use, from card stock to fabric remnants, ribbons to buttons, especially if they want to create a mask for a certain costume they have in the works.

Participants will also be given the option of making a wall-hanging mask instead of a wearable one.

“Sometimes you just want to create something that’s so elaborate that you really wouldn’t want to wear it, but it’s a great wall decoration,” said Shook.

Shook has held countless mask-making workshops for children, but this is the first one aimed toward adults, and she hopes they’ll enjoy making them as much as she has over the years.

“Mask-making is an art form,” said Shook. “And I’m lucky to be able to do this.”

Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer:

Want to go?

The mask-making workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 17 at Cabarrus Art Guild, 11 Union St. S., Suite LL-202 in Concord. Register online at, or by calling 704-795-1901. Cost is $40 per person; recommended for ages 14 and up.