Share on Facebook

18 Easy Halloween Face Paint Ideas to Try This Year

Whether you buy safe, washable face paint or use what's in your makeup bag, in minutes you can add to your kid's homemade Halloween costume—or the one you picked up at the store—with these fun Halloween face paint ideas.

Face painingNikola Nastasic/Getty Images

You’re not fully costumed without face paint

Ready for Halloween? Everybody’s favorite dress-up holiday isn’t just for children—adults can (and should!) get in on the spooky fun, too. While, of course, it’s possible to spend hundreds of dollars on an elaborate store-bought costume, half the fun is cobbling something together yourself, and that includes a DIY makeup look. Tap into your inner kid and flex your creative muscles by trying out one of these Halloween face painting ideas. Most are quick and simple to create with what’s already in your makeup bag at home—or you can get a basic DIY Halloween face painting kit at the drugstore and take your creation to the next level. Find out more about Halloween will be celebrated in 2020.

zombie make upCourtesy Jamie Stone

Zombie face paint

Missing the Walking Dead? Turn yourself into the living undead with this incredible (and incredibly spooky!) look, which is possible to achieve with just a little pale foundation, black eyeshadow, red blush, and matte ruby red lipstick. Speaking of spooky, don’t miss this backstory on the hidden origins of Halloween’s spookiest creatures.

Get the tutorial at Honestly Jamie.

dog make upCourtesy Lolly Isabel/YouTube

Dog face paint

Getting dolled up like Fido couldn’t be simpler for Halloween, and only requires a pair of puppy ears in addition to black face paint on the nose, a few black spots, and either black or tan face paint to mimic a muzzle. Celebrating with your pooch? Dress them up in one of these best dog Halloween costumes.

Get the tutorial at Lolly Isabel.

cat make upCourtesy Allison Weiss Brady

Cat face paint

The feline look is purr-fect for Halloween. (We couldn’t resist!) Creating a cat-makeup look easy and fun to recreate yourself at home: simply shadow the tip of the nose with black eyeshadow, and use eyeliner or black paint to create whiskers. Here’s the truth about the superstitions surrounding black cats.

Get the tutorial at Embellish Beauty.

Hailey Barry cheetah leopardCourtesy Hailey Barry

Cheetah face paint

Get a cheetah look thanks to simple—but visually stunning—makeup including gold lips, gold highlight dotted onto the forehead, and black eyeliner to create whiskers on cheeks. Finish with shimmery metallic black eyeshadow. Check out these creative homemade Halloween costumes for kids basically anyone can DIY.

Get the tutorial at Hailey Goes Glam.

make up

Clown face paint

Clowns can veer from cute to creepy, so if you’re looking for a look that’s more pretty than Pennywise, less is more. The only must is a red or pink dot of makeup on the nose, red or pink lipstick, and white or silvery clown tears. like this whimsical clown look. This is why people are so afraid of clowns.

Get the tutorial at Emma Garden.

fairy make upCourtesy b_dockk/instagram

Fairy face paint

An ethereal fairy look is possible with just a few makeup items, including rosy cream blush, rosy lipstick, and a bright pop of color all around the eyes. Add sparkle appliques for an extra fairy gleam, like this beautiful look.

Get the tutorial from b_dockk.

sally a night before christmasCourtesy miss_laurenmarie/instagram

Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas face paint

A popular look at Halloween—for obvious reasons!—is Sally from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the best Halloween movies for kids. While some of the Sally’s you’ll find on Instagram are incredibly elaborate, it’s also possible to do a great Sally with nothing more than a blue-black eyeliner pencil and red lipstick, such as in this fun Instagram look.

mermaid make up Courtesy Amanda Moody/YouTube

Mermaid face paint

Mermaid makeup face paint is a whimsical and beautiful Halloween face paint look. Get it by using shimmery shadow in shades of pink and turquoise, and draw delicate mermaid scales on your forehead with a white pencil. Finish with a juicy, hot pink lip. Here’s why we pass out candy on Halloween in the first place.

Get the tutorial from Amanda Moody.

spider web make upvia kirbiejohnson/instagram

Spiderweb face paint

Left your Halloween costume until the last minute? For a fast holiday-appropriate look, create a spiderweb effect on your face with black face paint: even black eyeliner will do in a pinch, layered on the side of your face over your normal makeup. And don’t miss these 15 easy Halloween crafts that anyone in the family can make.

Get the tutorial from Kirbie Johnson.

halloween make upCourtesy haileyelizr/instagram

Sugar skull face paint

While a sugar skull face paint look might seem impossible for all but the most experienced makeup artist, it can actually be surprisingly easy to achieve: it simply takes a bit of time! (It’s also important to remember to be culturally sensitive and respectful for this traditional Day of the Dead look.)

Start with white face paint all over the face, and then use a dark shade of gel shadow or face paint to create circles around the eyes. Use black face paint to shade in the nose, and then to draw lines out from the corner of your mouth and vertically along the lips. Finally, create petals by drawing small circles around the eye sockets with colorful face paint, and add extra adornment around the face. Or, try the simple look shown here, which (incredibly!) uses only drugstore makeup.

Get the tutorial at Hailey Berry.

green goddessCourtesy Shania Cooke

Green goddess face paint

Create a simple but powerful green goddess look thanks to emerald-hued face paint. Use a brush to apply it all over the face, and then paint on glossy black lipstick, like in this stunning recreation. For more new ideas, take a page from these Halloween customs and traditions around the world.

Get the tutorial at Shania Parris.

eyes make upCourtesy haileyelizr/instagram

Multiple eyes face paint

Dying to indulge your creative drawing skills? Try this Multiple Eyes face paint makeup, sure to draw a double (or triple!) take thanks to its colorful and literally eye-popping look. These 25 Halloween games will get you in the spooky spirit.

Get the tutorial at Hailey Barry.

Courtesy Hailey Barry

Wonder Woman face paint

For an easy but gorgeous Woman Woman face paint look worthy of the Amazonian goddess herself, use a black eyeliner to create cartoonish contours under cheekbones, at the jawline, down the nose, around the lips, and around the eyes. Draw a “helmet” on the forehead and fill in with glittery gold face paint and top off with a small star and juice red lips. Find out which supes made the list of 50 most popular Halloween costumes on Amazon.

Get the tutorial from Hailey Barry.

halloween make upCourtesy Hailey Barry

Pop art face paint

Looking to rock an eye-catching costume? This pop-art skull is guaranteed to grab attention, thanks to its bold detail and bright colors. Even better, the outfit itself can be basic because the makeup is the star of the show. Get your house in on the action too with these creepy Halloween yard decorations.

Get the tutorial from Hailey Berry.

peach skull make upCourtesy Hailey Barry

Peach skull face paint

Turn a basic Halloween skull into a frightfully good costume with this makeup look. Peach face paint mixed with glittery definition and painted on teeth combine for face paint sure to turn heads. Check out the chilling history of 14 Halloween traditions.

Get the tutorial from Hailey Berry.

hearts make upCourtesy Hailey Barry

Lovesick face paint

Spending Halloween with that special somebody? Write your love all over your face with this playfully romantic look, featuring delicate hearts and hot pink eyeshadow for extra pizazz. These are more of the best Halloween costumes for couples.

Get the tutorial from Hailey Berry.

harle quinn make up haileyelizr Courtesy haileyelizr/instagram

Harlequin face makeup

Take the best parts of a clown, minus the creepiness of the Joker, and you’ve got an appealing, fun, and colorful harlequin makeup look. Even better: this look is completely achievable with regular makeup (no professional face paint needed). Now that you’re ready for trick-or-treating, check out how long Halloween candy really lasts.

Get the tutorial from Hailey Berry.

lizzy hearts make upCourtesy Lolly Isabel/YouTube

Lizzy Hearts face paint makeup

For a makeup look that you can get in just a couple of minutes, consider a Lizzy Hearts from Netflix’s Ever After High look. Not only is it glam, but it’s also achievable with only a few makeup items (use lipstick for the heart itself!) and complete in minutes flat. Read on to find out the most popular Halloween costumes for 2020.

Get the tutorial from Lolly Isabel.

For more fun facts, costume ideas, traditions, candy inspiration, spooky entertainment, and updates on how October 31 will look different this year, check out our Halloween Guide.

Nadine Jolie Courtney
Nadine Jolie Courtney is a Virtuoso travel advisor and regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering travel, culture, and health. A former magazine editor based in Santa Monica, she also covers lifestyle and parenting, with regular outlets including The Healthy, Oprah Mag, Town & Country, Business Insider, and many other publications. Courtney is the author of four books, including ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL, a Kirkus Best Book of 2019. Follow her on Instagram @nadinejoliecourtney