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35 Halloween Face Paint Ideas to Try This Year

Get ready to take your costume to a whole new level with these spooky, simple, and unique Halloween face paint ideas.

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Face painingNikola Nastasic/Getty Images

Make your costume truly memorable with these Halloween face paint ideas

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. Sure, you could buy one of the best Halloween costumes, but half the fun of Halloween is cobbling something together yourself, and that includes bringing one of many Halloween makeup ideas to life.

Tap into your inner kid and flex your creative muscles with these Halloween face painting ideas. You can even create some of these looks 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.

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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.

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blue universe face paintGanna Gavenko/Getty Images

Blue universe face paint

Blue face paint + glitter + lots of creativity = one great look!

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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. Become a matching duo with your feline with these cat Halloween costumes.

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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 last-minute Halloween costumes that might spark your next look.

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make upCourtesy emmagarden_/Instagram

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.

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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. Keep the whimsical momentum going with one of these Disney Halloween costumes.

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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.

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mermaid make up for halloweenGanna Gavenko/Getty Images

Mermaid face paint

Transform into this mythical creature of the sea with this face paint idea. Add a headband and face jewels to make it come to life!

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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 Halloween crafts that anyone in the family can make.

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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. Once you’re done with this look, play one of the many Halloween party games!

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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.

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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. Talk about an illusion! Keep your eyes and brain in motion by solving these Halloween riddles. Can you figure them out?

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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.

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halloween make upCourtesy Hailey Barry

Two-faced 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. See if you can add a two-faced face paint look to one of these vintage Halloween costumes.

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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. Wear some of your edgier clothes to create an easy DIY Halloween costume.

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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.

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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).

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halloween joker face paintSavusia Konstantin/Getty Images

Joker face paint

Speaking of Joker, you can draw inspiration from Batman’s arch-nemesis for this Halloween face paint idea.

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Spider Eye Makeupvia erika.fx/Instagram

Spider eyes face paint makeup

Get creepy and creative with this idea. Inspired by season six of American Horror Story, this look requires a black eyeliner pen, red liquid lipstick, and some courage—you are painting spiders on your eyes, after all.

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mom putting dog makeup on her child for halloweenmanonallard/Getty Images

Kids’ dog face paint

This is a simple Halloween face paint idea for a little one! Use black and red face painting sticks to turn them into an adorable pup for the night. Here are some DIY Halloween costumes for kids for more costume inspiration.

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girl with cracked face paint for halloween costumeKryssia Campos/Getty Images

Cracked face paint

This could really work if you’re going for a scary Little Red Riding Hood costume. Plus, it’s pretty easy to do—all you need is a black face paint stick to draw the cracks.

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black and white halloween face paint makeupurbazon/Getty Images

Black and white face paint

The coolest thing about this Halloween face paint is that you can make whatever shapes you wish. Get ready to get creative—and spooky.

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young woman with scary clown face paint for halloweenKaren Roxana Ramos Ramos / EyeEm/Getty Images

Eerie clown face paint

Looking for a clown look that’ll turn eyes? Try this one out. Don’t forget to get some red lipstick and dark eyeshadow to help complete the look.

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Nikkietutorials Butterfly Makeup 2via nikkietutorials/Instagram

Butterfly face paint

You’ll float like a beautiful butterfly this Halloween with this gorgeous look! NikkieTutorials picks a vibrant eyeshadow pallet to make the look pop, and it looks so fun to create!

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vampire face paint for halloweenstock_colors/Getty Images

Vampire face paint

This is a Halloween face paint look that works for kids and adults! Get some white face paint, a colorful paint stick for the eyes, and some fake vampire fangs to complete the transformation (bonus points if you make fake blood and put it on the fangs!).

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skeleton halloween face paintPaula Daniëlse/Getty Images

Skeleton face paint

Get some white face paint, a black face paint stick, and black lipstick to create this simple skeleton look.

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little girl with witch halloween face paintSasi Ponchaisang/Getty Images

Witch face paint for kids

Draw a spider and its web to bring a child’s witch look to life!

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nun face paint for halloween costumeReyes Brune/Getty Images

Scary nun face paint

Pair this Halloween face paint with a nun costume and you’ll definitely turn heads! There’s no doubt you’ll have a scary Halloween costume.

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Scar Lion King Face Paintvia ohh_maly/Instagram

Scar face paint

Transform yourself into the villain from The Lion King this Halloween, like ohh_maly on Instagram did!

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young girl with pumpkin face paint for halloweenpetrenkod/Getty Images

Pumpkin face paint

This look is simple but effective for kids and adults. All you need is orange face paint, a black paint stick, and some creativity.

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halloween demon face paint makeupmorgan23/Getty Images

Demon face paint

This Halloween face paint look is sure to turn heads. Grab red face paint and some demon horns to complete the look.

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Poison Ivy Face Paintvia zurifx/Instagram

Poison Ivy face paint

Zuri Fx does an incredible job transforming into one of Batman’s foes, Poison Ivy. Don’t forget to grab a red wig and a green body paint stick if you’re itching to replicate the look.

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young girl with rainbow cat face paint for halloweenscaliger/Getty Images

Rainbow cat face paint

This Halloween face paint idea is purr-fect for kids!

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sinister face paint for halloween costumeAndrii Iemelyanenko/Getty Images

Sinister face paint

Get as creative as you want with this look! Bring the white face paint, a black face paint stick, and your spooky ideas.

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Cherry Bomb Face Paintvia raydiatebyraychel/Instagram

Cherry bomb face paint

Raychel Roy really knocks it out of the park with this look—and you can, too!

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Next, check out these best Halloween Instagram captions to accompany your fabulous pictures.

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

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