By Lisa Cherkasky, a food stylist, and David Graves, a furniture designer and cabinetmaker. Their Arlington-based ideas-and-execution company is called Butter-Side Up.
White double flat sheet
One 12-by-18-inch piece of hard white plastic foam, 11/2 inches thick
Old baseball cap with front visor cut off
1 yard elastic trim, 1/2-inch wide
1/2 yard white tulle or other sheer fabric (optional; see below)
Heavy-duty transparent packing tape
Thin, plastic 12-inch black party platter
Lightweight clear plastic goblet
Oversize black plastic serving spoon and fork
Fake gruesome cut-off hand (one finger to be severed later)
Rubber blood drips, available at party supply or craft stores
Small plastic spiders or bats
White shirt and pants, optional
Cut two small holes in the center of the plastic foam, about 6 inches apart. Cut two 1/2-inch slits in each side of the baseball cap. Glue the top of the hat to the underside of the foam between the two holes. Let dry and lace the elastic through the holes in the foam and the cap. Turn the foam tabletop over, and drape the sheet over it. Try on the table, and measure distance from top edge of table down to where eye opening should be. Mark the measurement on the sheet tablecloth.
Here are three options for the eye opening: (1) Cut cloth horizontally, all the way around, at this measurement. The tablecloth will be in two pieces. Machine-sew a 4-inch-wide strip of tulle to each piece, to unite the top and bottom of the cloth. The result will be a horizontal stripe of tulle all the way around that the wearer can see through. (2) Measure where the eye opening should be and cut a long, horizontal rectangle in the front of the tablecloth, enough for visibility. Turning cloth inside out, hand-sew or safety-pin a rectangle of tulle into the cloth to make an eye opening. (3) Cut out an eye opening and do not add fabric.
Put random patches of glue on the foam and drape sheet on top, pressing down on glue and making sure eye opening is in position. Cut one finger from the fake hand. Glue the spoon, hand and eyeballs to the plate. Glue the plate to the cloth. Glue the rat and severed finger close together on the tabletop, so it appears the rat is munching on the finger. Fill the goblet with the blood drips and glue, if necessary. Glue goblet to cloth and secure with transparent packing tape. Glue eyeball to fork to use as prop. Glue bats and spiders to sheet in random pattern. Cut slits in tulle, one on each side, as hand openings. Put on white pants and shirt, if desired. Place tabletop on head, adjust baseball cap and cloth, and tie elastic under chin. Slip hands through tulle and hold serving fork.