40 Ways to Paint Your Face for Halloween
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The best thing about Halloween face paint is that it can function as a costume on its own, or you can pair it with different clothes, wigs, and accessories to put together a stellar (or, for the underachievers, passable) costume. And now that Halloween is just around the corner, it's time to get those creative juices flowing. We've compiled 40 Halloween makeup ideas that are so good, you'll be running to the pro makeup store for brushes. And don't worry if your painting skills aren't up to par with the likes of Vincent Van Gogh or Leonardo da Vinci: there are myriad ways to interpret these looks and make them your own.
Some may require more time and practice than others, but there are plenty of makeup looks here that truly anyone can achieve. If you're comfortable (safely!) gallivanting around town to celebrate in spite of the ongoing pandemic, you're probably gonna want to go all out.
Keep scrolling to find 40 Halloween face paint ideas that will bring out the artist you never realized was inside you. When you're done, make this Spooky Season really count by also checking out these Halloween hairstyles and Halloween nail ideas to bring your look together.
1. Two Kinds Of Moods
If you're "Hot N Cold" like Katy Perry, consider taking some inspiration from makeup artist Pooja Sambare, who painted an elaborate outline of a skull to represent two different moods: "cool and collected" versus a "sunny disposition." Grab your favorite set of face paints and eye shadow palettes to create this look. Of course, an eclectic roster of makeup brushes and lots of patience are also required to get all these details right.
2. Harley Quinn
This DC Comics character has become a Halloween costume staple, but don't let that discourage you from dressing up as her. U.K.-based makeup artist Kaci Scarlett makes this look worth a try, especially since she executed it without Harley's signature ghost-white face paint. It's as simple as recreating the character's tattoos, eye shadow, and bold red lip. If you're a beauty buff, chances are you already have the tools in your makeup stash to do this look at home.
3. Cruella De Vil
Cruella De Vil, the infamous villain from 101 Dalmations, has been in the limelight quite a bit this year. Disney gave her her own origin story film, Cruella, and MAC came out with a makeup collection in honor of the new movie. Perhaps Chicago-based makeup artist Tina Nezic's full-on Cruella ensemble can persuade you that dressing up like the villain should be your Halloween move. I mean, come on, look at that green eyeshadow and red lip. Fabulous, right? Pay homage to MAC by topping off this look with the brand's iconic Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo.
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo
4. Scary Snow White
Bringing out the spooky side of some of our favorite fictional characters is a great way to shake up a Halloween costume. Special effects makeup artist Kyah Even transformed Snow White, the sweet Disney princess who wandered around the forest with a crew of singing dwarves, into what seems to be an evil demon sent from the depths of Hell. The Evil Queen could never! Whether you decide to dress up as Snow White or not, consider this a sign to put your own scary spin on your favorite character's look. As Even shows here, highlighting that inner corner of your eyes really adds some extra oomph. We like Ilia's Day Lite Highlighter Powder in Decades to get that gorgeous glimmer.
Ilia Day Lite Highlighter in Decades
5. The Ghost of Christmas Present
Attempting to paint your whole face can be daunting, especially if you're a makeup newbie. For many folks, a simpler look is the way to go — and it doesn't have to limit your costume options. If you like Christmas and a simple beat, makeup artist Brenna Mazzoni shows how you can still use everyday makeup techniques to create a killer costume. Here, she demonstrates her take on the Ghost of Christmas Present from A Christmas Carol. Note the pretty gold eye shadow and fluffy lashes. For a deep red lip similar to Mazzoni's, try Nars's Air Matte Liquid Lipstick in Dragon Girl.
Nars Liquid Lipstick in Dragon Girl
6. "Planet Her" Alien
Based on the number of "Planet Her" (an album by Doja Cat) aliens that appear on our Instagram feeds these days, it seems that makeup artists the world over are ready to leave Earth and start anew on another planet. Take us with you!
Until that happens, let Doja's extraterrestrial makeup from her "Need To Know" music video serve as a little Halloween inspiration. Makeup artist Rowi Singh's rendition of the look is seriously out of this world. The red-tinted eyebrows and the thin tail of her winged eyeliner seem so otherworldly, you'd think she teleported down from a UFO.
We love a portmanteau! Especially in costume form. Makeup artist Baylee Madison's Pennywise meets Beetlejuice look proves that it's entirely possible to combine the features of two different characters to create one unique look. It appears that some intense detail was involved in painting all the teeth on this face, not to mention the black-and-white lines that snake above and below each of the eyes.
8. The Red Queen
Helena Bonham Carter's look for the Red Queen in the 2010 film, Alice in Wonderland, can apparently be done beyond the hair and makeup trailer on a movie set. Minnesota-based makeup artist Elly Supalo is pretty much a dead-ringer for Carter, even down to the blue eye shadow. Supalo absolutely nailed the character here.
Makeup Artist Addy Sanchez tells Allure she was looking for a simple but effective Halloween look to do, and she settled on this scarecrow. "I did [it] out of the blue. I just let my imagination run wild," she says. "I [wanted] to do a look that could be easy to recreate, and, most importantly, to fit any age range using just basic makeup."
As Sanchez expressed, you can definitely use any makeup you have on hand to paint a scarecrow's face. Reach for a fine-tipped liquid black eyeliner like Nyx's Epic Ink Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner for the smile and a coral-colored blush — such as Rare Beauty's Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Joy — to emphasize the scarecrow's round cheeks.
Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Joy
10. Rainbow Cheetah
Spotted: Another easily executed Halloween face paint look. "This was inspired by the leopard print dress I was wearing that day," Atlanta-based makeup artist La Toya tells Allure. "I also wanted to find ways to incorporate my freshly-shaved head, so I knew I had to make it extra."
You can certainly recreate this look on your own with some bright neon face paints and eye shadows in all the colors of the rainbow. You can even take it up another notch by adding a little glitter on a few of the spots.
11. Bikini Bottom
A SpongeBob Squarepants costume will always be dope, but we love how makeup artist Irene Clarencia painted visions of the cartoon character's home, Bikini Bottom, onto her face. And just to make sure everyone gets the reference, she added the one and only pineapple under the sea to the look.
12. Classic Alien
If you're not partial to Doja Cat's glammed-up version of an alien, there's always the classic green one. Let makeup artist Chayé Imodel's interpretation of the extraterrestrial creature serve as your guide. Before transporting out of this world, always start with a solid base. Charlotte Tilbury's Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation is a great full-coverage option that manages to keep a firm hold on the skin all day long. After finishing your base, grab some green, red, and black face paints, and begin your transformation into an alien.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation
13. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Anime fans, we've got your back. Or, at least makeup artist Lucia Marte does with this look inspired by Avatar Aang. She created a blue and white arrow on her forehead and lined her eyes with blue and white liner for a pretty take on the cartoon classic. This look gives you the perfect opportunity to grab L.A. Girl's Glide Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Aquatic.
LA Girl Glide Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Aquatic
14. Doe, a Deer
One thing's for sure about London-based makeup artist Mina Shireen's deer look: Recreating it is going to require some serious contouring and blending skills. Luckily, several of the products she used to create the look, such as Benefit's Hoola Bronzer in Caramel and Huda Beauty's Overachiever Concealer in Granola, are not too hard to come by on store shelves.
Benefit Hoola Bronzer in Caramel
Ahh, yes, another Halloween classic: Frankenstein. Makeup artist Cheyenne Monares recreated the look after seeing Instagram user @spookylilpeach post this interpretation of the green monster. Before diving headfirst into this freaky-deaky beat, make sure you have lots and lots of green face paint on hand and a powder — like BareMinerals' Mineral Veil Finishing Powder — to lock the look in place.
BareMinerals Mineral Veil Finishing Powder
16. Freddy Krueger
If you're really trying to scare people with your costume this year, try makeup artist Talia Magaña's Freddy Krueger makeup. The scars and the maroon-colored base make the face look quite gory, which means you're probably gonna get stopped and stared at. Add the rest of Freddie's iconic outfit to complete the entire ensemble.
17. Ghost Eyes
This makeup look is perfect for someone who may not want to wear a whole costume, but would still like to look festive. Makeup artist Yaddi Je combined hues of gray and silver eye shadow to create the backdrop for these little tiny ghosts "floating" around her eyes. There's no doubt that making these little guys requires a detail brush with a pointed tip. Be sure to get that mug glowing with a highlighter like Fenty Beauty's Diamond Bomb in How Many Carats, which Je used for this look.
Fenty Beauty Diamond Bomb Highlighter in How Many Carats
18. A Walking Masterpiece
You can never go wrong with makeup crafted after some legendary works of art. This look by California-based makeup artist Laura Wong was inspired by the paintings of French artist Fernand Léger. A beat this gorgeous definitely deserves a spot next to Léger's paintings at the Met. To ensure this face paint masterpiece lasts all night long, we suggest starting with a primer that has some serious hold, such as Milk Makeup's Hydro Grip Primer.
Milk Makeup Hydrogrip Primer
19. Flower Clown
Unpopular opinion: Clowns can look sweet and innocent. Yes, it's true! U.K.-based makeup artist Kanchat Boonphong makes the case for that with this face paint look, for which you can use real dried flowers if you fancy 'em. You've got nothing to fear but looking pretty damn gorgeous with this interpretation.
Absolutely keen on going green this Halloween? Here's another verdant costume idea for ya: Shrek. Makeup artist Poppy Locks created this super pretty take on the character. Ogre? Oh, girl, you're gorgeous! Add a little contrast to the look by adding a glossy pink or red lip color — such as Tower 28's Shine On Jelly Lip Gloss in Spicy — to the mix.
Tower 28 Shine on Lip Gloss in Spicy
21. Flower Power
Unveil your inner flower child and turn your hair and face into a walking field of pastel-colored blooms. Those dynamic, colorful, patterned dye jobs on short hair you see all over Instagram served as inspiration for this look done by makeup artist Poppy Heath. "[Colorists] make patterns like clouds, swirls, and all sorts [with dye]," she tells Allure. "I chose flowers because they're cute, and I wanted to see if I could recreate the shaved hair effect by making my hair flat to work on."
Show some love for Pac-Man and the art of the video game by recreating this pixelated look by Australian makeup artist Roxy Stoici. In order to make this accurately resemble the screen of a Pac-Man arcade, you're gonna need some bright-colored face paints and a trusty detail brush to get those minute details down to a T. Make sure to also get that gloss going by painting a sheer coat (or two) of Maybelline's Lifter Gloss in Pearl on your lips. Then, you're ready to let the games begin!
Maybelline New York Lifter Gloss in Pearl
23. Morticia Monday
Compared to many of the other looks on this list, this Morticia Monday makeup by Jade McAllister skews more on the side of conventional makeup, while still looking spooky. Give off of all the spooky vibes by recreating McAllister's smoky eye with a dark eye pencil, such as Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in Zero. To create that "smoky effect," lightly dab the liner with your finger or a blending brush.
"I've always been a fan of witches and dark characters," McAllister says. "I wanted to create a look that was mysterious and witchy without being too literal to the real Morticia character (as it's not determined in the show if she's actually a vampire or a witch)." She encourages anyone who may attempt this look to add their personal finesse to it.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in Zero
24. Stained Glass Window
Take it to church and turn yourself into a walking stained glass window, like Massachusetts-based makeup artist and esthetician Sarah McGray did here. A look as complex as this isn't for the faint of heart, though. You're going to have to have major blending and color mixing skills for this one. Make sure your brows don't get lost in the sauce by filling them in with a pencil, like McGray did with Huda Beauty's #BombBrows Microshade Pencil.
Huda Beauty #BombBrows Brow Pencil
25. Cherry Bomb
Keep your beat looking sweet this Halloween by transforming into a cherry bomb(shell) like California-based makeup artist Christina Martinez. To underscore the juicy nature of these delectable fruits, slather your lips with a bright red lip color and paint some cherries all over your face. For lips, we like the Fenty Beauty Heat Gloss Bomb in the aptly named Hot Cherry.
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Heat Universal Lip Luminizer in Hot Cherry
26. Lava Lamp
"My inspiration for creating this look was the aesthetic of the '70s," says makeup artist Chelsey Cherry of this lava lamp-inspired look. "I was doing a '70s-themed makeup series at the time and wanted to come up with a super unique look that would still fit into that."
Before adding in any color, Cherry sketched some outlines for the lava using a white eye pencil. Then, she filled them in with a white eye shadow base. "Next, I found three different shades of blue [eye shadow] to add color to the lava shapes: a light blue, medium-toned blue, and a dark blue," Cherry explains. She notes that all of the lava shapes were filled in with the medium blue color while the light and dark tones were added sporadically throughout the design to create the illusion of highlights and shadows.
In honor of the unofficial annual holiday dedicated to the Star Wars films, May 4, U.K.-based makeup artist Devon Hales painted her face to look like R2-D2. But, of course, you can totally try this out for Halloween. Hales says she sought inspiration from Instagram user @contrashelby after seeing her Star Wars-inspired makeup series. To create a 2-in-1 take on R2-D2, add some Princess Leia-style braids to the look like Hales did. Create the illusion of "bigger, brighter eyes" like Hales does here by lining your lower waterline with Makeup By Mario's Master Mattes Brightening Eye Pencil.
Makeup By Mario Master Mattes Brightening Eye Pencil
28. "Watermelon Sugar"
It's one of Harry Styles' biggest bops, but on your face. Release your inner "Watermelon Sugar" vibrations by painting the sweet fruit along your jawline. Makeup artist Naomie Bakala shows that it's definitely possible to get the watermelon effect without having to paint your entire face, which will save you some time on Halloween night.
29. The Burn Book
Reading is fundamental — both literally and figuratively. Write out all your nastiest takes on October 31 by transforming your face into the one and only Burn Book from Mean Girls. U.K.-based makeup artist Charlotte Roberts went all out with her interpretation of the look by painting her face pink. As with any of these recreations, the way you execute it is up to you, but it would probably be best if the words "Burn Book" were spelled out somewhere. The library is open, honey.
How clever is this M&M-themed face paint created by Australian makeup artist Caitlin? For the ultimate color-coordinating situation, take direction from the artist and place some rainbow-colored pins in your hair. Then, paint each of your nails a different color to match. A full-on costume isn't necessary with bright pops of color like this.
31. Have a Cow
How now, periwinkle cow? Who says a heifer can't be fashionable? Let Swiss makeup artist Amelie Christensen can change your mind about the grazing farm animal. This colorful iteration was inspired by the drag queen, Juno Birch, who also painted her face with some spots that share a striking similarity to a cow's.
32. Water World
After seeing fellow makeup artist @meicrosoft create water-like reflections on her face, Alexa Dopfer decided to do the same. Their biggest tip for turning your face into a reflecting pool? Invest in a good face palette. "It makes things so much easier when you are working with good quality products," they explain. With a look as exquisite as this, all your party-going pals on Halloween will surely do a double-take when you turn up to the party.
33. Color by Number
Fans of paint by number coloring books should take some notes from makeup artist Neve Harrison. This black-and-white look can easily be recreated with white and black face paint along with some fluttery lashes to draw some attention to the eyes. Try Essence's Lash Princess Curl & Volume Mascara to make those lashes stand out, or try these falsies from Kiss.
Essence Lash Princess Curl & Volume Mascara
34. Care Bear
The beloved rainbow-colored cartoon bears make for some of the most cheerful Halloween makeup moments ever, as demonstrated by Detroit-based makeup artist Drew McHale.
"[I think] the most iconic part of the look is the heart on the nose — which could be a little tricky — but I encourage anyone wanting to recreate it to have a detail brush handy with some concealer to really carve out that heart shape," McHale tells Allure.
Don't forget to add some rainbow cheer by layering some bright eye shadows onto your lids. The BH Cosmetics Take Me Back To Brazil palette has all the colors you need.
BH Cosmetics Take Me Back To Brazil Eye Shadow Palette
35. Zodiac Signs
Utah-based makeup artist Anna Gygi was nine months pregnant with her son when she got into astrology. This newfound interest eventually led to this makeup look, for which she painted her sun, moon, and rising sign onto her mug. "What's your sign, baby?" It's written all over your face: Gemini.
36. Lisa Frank
Eighties and '90s babies, gather 'round, because Olivia West is here to show you how to transform your face into your old TrapperKeeper. West says the release of the Morphe and Lisa Frank collection last year spurred her desire to paint illustrations of the brand's colorful characters. If you like to get matchy with your costume, be sure to check out Orly and Lisa Frank's nail collection.
37. Smiley Faces
Spread some trippy Halloween cheer with a look that incorporates one of the most universal signs of happiness: the smiley face. Makeup artist Divina Muse creates an edgy take on the symbol, adding some elongated twists and curves to all of these faces. Before getting into it, though, make sure to take the time to carefully outline each face.
"With the smiley look, use a nude pencil first to place either a dot on where you want the smileys to be, or to pre-draw the circles," she explains. "Nude is very easy to cover with foundation or wipe off if you make a mistake. Take a step back and inspect how small or big the smileys are and correct if needed." Once you're satisfied with where each face is placed, use a water-activated neon yellow liner to outline each of the faces. She adds that a jumbo pencil or eyeliner pencil will work just as well.
38. Love Sick
"I wanted to come up with a simple and easy-to-recreate makeup look that could be worn for Halloween or just for fun," says makeup artist Keely Irvine. "[I used] lots of blush and little pink hearts to look "sick" but in the cutest way." Dab some of your favorite pink blush across your cheeks and nose like Irvine did to let the world know you've got love fever. Nudestix's Nudies Bloom All Over Dewy Color in Cherry Blossom Babe can help you achieve this soft, flushed look.
Nudestix Nudies Bloom All Over Dewy Color in Cherry Blossom Babe
39. The Night Sky
Anything is possible, and makeup artist Hayley McCourt shows that painting a picturesque landscape of the night sky across your forehead can be, too. Mimic the dazzling shine of the stars by adding some shimmery eye shadow across your lids. We like Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick in Copper to create this effect.
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Copper
40. Y2K Pixels
Don't worry, we didn't forget to dedicate a look for all you Y2K video game-playing kids out there. From the stars to the pixelated winged eyeliner, makeup artist Chloë Hayselden's look brings back memories of the vibrant, digital worlds of our favorite throwback games. This makeup will have everyone at the party asking you for your A/S/L.
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