From ghouls to glitter: DC prof creates show-stopping makeup effects at Canada’s Wonderland

Category: Faculty Profiles

A Durham College (DC) faculty member is bringing big scares to Halloween, creating bone-chilling makeup effects for zombies, ghouls and creepy clowns for the annual Halloween Haunt event at Canada’s Wonderland.

Rachael Authors is the program coordinator for the Cosmetics Techniques and Management and Esthetician – Spa Management programs at DC. She’s also professional makeup artist who teaches her craft and every year her creativity flows at the Wonderland Halloween where she does special effects makeup for the performers who deliver pop-up scares and create a spooky scene for visitors.

“I love working on the team, the creativity involved, seeing the public enjoy our work is pretty fun,” said Authors. “I’d say it can be pretty scary at times.”

Over the past 16 seasons, Halloween Haunt has grown tremendously and so has Authors. She started as a junior makeup artist and is now a teacher in her field with two DC grads working with her at the Wonderland event.

This year she prepped the “monsters” for spots on Breakfast Television and CP24.

“I’ve done different things in makeup, in beauty and I’ve worked with big retail companies and cosmetic brands but I love characters and special effects and airbrushing so Haunt has been a special journey,” she said. “It’s fun to be part of a big event that is so well known in the city now. It’s an awesome time and I love Halloween.”

Authors holds two bachelor’s degrees — in life sciences and occupational health and safety — and also has a master’s degree in occupational therapy (OT) and a diploma in beauty and special effects makeup.

Her work at DC as a faculty member and program coordinator benefits from both her educational background and her work experience in film, television, retail and during special events like Haunt.

Special effects makeup is now part of the Cosmetic Techniques program with an introductory course.

“That’s what I love about the program, it gives students a taste – a little bit of everything to get them inspired and then they can go off and decide which area they want to go into.”

Once Halloween passes Authors isn’t quite done at Wonderland. She’ll go from ghouls to glitter as WinterFest ramps up during the holiday season.