By Maureen Lee Lenker
October 30, 2017 at 03:28 PM EDT
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When it comes to Halloween, Heidi Klum is always in.

The supermodel and producer has become famous for her over-the-top Halloween costumes at her annual spooky bash, leaving fans clamoring each year to see how she’ll top each amazing getup. From last year’s five clones to Jessica Rabbit to the goddess Kali to a 90-year-old woman, Klum never fails to amaze.

This year, Klum will celebrate her 18th annual Halloween Party presented by Party City and SVEDKA Vodka at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square. EW chatted with her about what to expect from her 2017 costume, why she loves Halloween so much, and the details on some of her most eye-catching ensembles through the years.

While her 2017 costume will remain a surprise until the party itself, Klum gave EW a little tease. “This time it’s going to be scary,” she says. “I’m going to wear a lot of prosthetics. I don’t like to do just easy costumes obviously. But some people were like, ‘Heidi didn’t really do anything [last year],’ so I’m going to do a lot this time.” She also reveals that there is an Easter egg hint hidden within the Spotify Halloween playlist she shared on Friday.

Up until the last five years, Klum did her own make-up for the parties, but she’s since taken it to another level with a team of specialists who do prosthetics, special effects makeup, and more. Some of her costumes have taken up to 10 hours in the makeup chair.

“They’re having a field day with me because a lot of the time when they do special effects for movies, no actor really wants to go through 10 hours of putting prosthetics on and then afterwards it takes two hours to take them off,” she says. “So they are loving the opportunity every year to work with me because we can always take it up a notch and they can really spend all day and show their craft. It’s such an art form to transform someone into someone completely different, and I love being the canvas for these people.”

“Halloween is so much fun because you get to be someone else,” the Project Runway host explains. Her love of transforming through her costumes is what prompted her to start throwing an annual Halloween party 18 years ago because she was dismayed by the lack of parties in New York where people would go all out when dressing up. “I thought, ‘I really want to make this something special for people once a year to show their creative side and be someone else,’” she says. “Being dressed up and being someone else, it gives them a different kind of freedom to dance, be more outgoing, and just have a different time.”

This is also why her parties never have a set theme — she wants guests to have the freedom to be as creative as possible when it comes to their costumes. That is also her goal when it comes to deciding what to be each year. “I have to do something really cool and different,” she says. “I want to surprise people. I want to be creative. I also like to be unrecognizable.”

Klum says she starts planning her costume in June each year to allow enough time for all of the pieces to be assembled. “It’s kind of like writing a book,” she says. “At some point, you have to be like ‘OK, this is it, I have to move forward,’ because otherwise all the pieces are never going to be put together in time. “ What’s more, “there is no dress rehearsal,” Klum points out. “I cannot try it on until the day and we always hope it works out.”

While we have to wait until we see Klum’s costume selection for this year, we asked her to talk us through some of our favorite costumes from the last 18 years and how she brought them to life.

Betty Boop (2002)

Heidi Klum's 3rd Annual Halloween Bash
Credit: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

“She’s like an icon,” Klum says of the cartoon character. “Everyone knows who she is; she’s really recognizable.” To recreate that indelible image, Klum had to get rid of her eyebrows and exaggerate her curves (and this was back when she was still doing her own makeup). “I bought this weird putty you put on your [eyebrows] to smooth all your hair down. It was like a whole process because then I had to draw my eyebrows all the way on top of my forehead and I had to find a wig that looks like hers. I had this butt built into my dress and boobs built into my dress – because she’s a cartoon and she’s quite curvy like that.”

Kali (2008)

Heidi Klum's 9th Annual Halloween Party - Arrivals
Credit: Joe Kohen/WireImage

Klum says she got the idea when traveling to India and seeing Hindu gods and goddesses all over. “I just thought it was so amazing to be this strong, powerful woman with all those arms.” Though she says it was tricky to find the right shade of turquoise for her face make-up to match her costume, the most difficult part was rigging up the additional arms that make the goddess so distinctive. For that, she turned to an unlikely place for inspiration: the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. “Instead of having angel wings, because it’s the same kind of mechanism, you wear a backpack type thing,” she explains. She turned to a Broadway fashion designer who had also built many angel wings for Victoria’s Secret. “He was like, yeah, it’s kind of like the angel wings, we just stick a lot of arms on it instead of the angel wings,” she says.

“I had all the arms attached,” she explains. “And then basically I had so much hair, so many wigs basically sewn on top of each other so it would hide the straps where I was holding them up. So my hair on my chest down to the right length to hide the backpack part of it…. The hair was really long in the back so you could hide a lot of the things where the arms are being kept together.” This did present a minor problem for Klum – she kept hitting people in the face with the arms, so she ditched them pretty quickly into the party.

Cadaver (2011)

Heidi Klum's 12th Annual Halloween Party at TAO Las Vegas at the Venetian
Credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage

For a costume that had her wheeled in on a stretcher, Klum was inspired by the popular “Bodyworks” exhibit which displayed the inner workings of the human body. “It was something I was seeing everywhere, and I was like that’d be cool if I looked like my skin was ripped off and you could see all my muscles and flesh underneath it. It’s Halloween! It’s scary to see what your body looks like when your first layer has been peeled off.”

Old Lady (2013)

Shutterfly Presents Heidi Klum's 14th Annual Halloween Party At Marquee New York Sponsored By SVEDKA Vodka And smartwater
Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

To be herself at 90-years-old, Klum had to go through intense preparations that included a full body cast and 10 hours in the makeup chair to apply all of the necessary prosthetics. “Every piece of skin that was exposed needed to have a piece of skin put on top in order for it to look old,” she explains. “I even had little knuckles put on, prosthetic knuckles so my skin would look older, and my nails look more brittle. I put these yellow teeth in. I had contact lenses in that made my eyes look like they had a grey kind of line around it so it looked like I can’t see that well anymore.” Klum also found a vintage Chanel suit online and had a special wig made for the costume.

Though her costumes are known for their attention to detail and how elaborate they are, Klum had not anticipated the preparation taking 10 hours. “I was like, ‘You guys have to hurry up or I’m going to be late for my own Halloween party,’” she jokes. Still, she cites this as her favorite costume in the course of 18 years. “It was kind of like looking in the mirror. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be me, hopefully, if I make it to 90 years old.’”

Butterfly (2014)

Moto X Presents Heidi Klum's 15th Annual Halloween Party Sponsored By SVEDKA Vodka At TAO Downtown - Arrivals
Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Klum says the idea for this costume came from a lifetime of people calling her schmetterling (the German word for butterfly) as a term of endearment. Still, it was important to her that she stick to the insect feel of the costume. “The whole reason for Halloween is that it’s scary and it’s weird and I don’t like to be pretty in the face, so I wanted to be as bug-like as I possibly could,” she explains. Despite that, her massive wings were a true work of art, which she describes as “beautiful and so vibrant.” The costume had a lot of challenges though: The gigantic wings in photographs were swapped for smaller wings inside the party to allow her to move around, but she still had difficulty seeing due to her bug eyes and light-up antennae. “I had these goggles on… they had these pieces in order to look like I had bug eyes,” she explains. “So I couldn’t really see that well because I had batteries behind there because there were lights inside of those things.”

Jessica Rabbit (2015)

Heidi Klum's 16th Annual Halloween Party sponsored by GSN's Hellevator And SVEDKA Vodka At LAVO New York - Arrivals
Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Bringing to life a cartoon character put Klum’s extreme attention to detail to the test. “To me she is the ultimate fantasy for a man, right? So I was wearing a lot of prosthetics because I wanted to look like a real cartoon character as close as I possibly could,” she explains. This included mimicking the cartoon rabbit’s distinctive eyelids, which required Klum to make a plaster mold of her eyes and wear special contacts. “If you really zoom in, you can see my eyes look cartoony. You know how a cartoon or a doll has a different kind of iris?,” she says. “I still have to blink behind that. That’s why we had to do that special cast before so they leave a little bit of air pockets behind the fake lids so my eyes can still open and shut.” Then there was the prosthetics required to mimic the character’s voluptuous shape. “The boobs were gigantic and they were really heavy and they were full-on glued to my chest. Same with the butt – I mean nothing was moving. When I was sitting on that butt, that butt was my butt,” says Klum. To complete the look, she added a custom gown from Christian Siriano, specialty purple gloves, and a set of false teeth to mimic the cartoon’s gleaming chompers.

Clones (2016)

Heidi Klum's 17th Annual Halloween Party sponsored by SVEDKA Vodka at Vandal New York - Inside
Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Last year, Klum surprised fans when she went as herself — alongside five clones. Though many thought this was one of her easiest costumes in years, she assured us that was not the case. “I had to cast five girls that have the same height, the same body, the same legs, so that when we’d all stand in line, we’d all look the same,” explains Klum. “I had a wig maker make wigs for the five girls so they would look exactly the same. It was very difficult to put my face onto these five girls’ faces.” Klum adds that the casting was also difficult because she had to find five models who were willing to wear heavy prosthetics and be unrecognizable for the night. “It was tricky to find five ladies that were willing to do that with me,” she says.

Klum’s 18th annual Halloween party (and her latest in incredible costumes) takes place Tuesday night at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square.

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