It’s pretty simple to walk into a Halloween store and pick out a pre-packaged costume, but where’s the fun in that? Everyone knows the best looks are homemade—which is great if you already have a perfect idea. But if you’re anything like us, it’s not always easy to think of a quick, cheap, or sufficiently creative costume. That’s where makeup comes in: you can create unique and eye-catching looks with a just little face paint and a steady hand.
To provide some much-needed inspiration, here are 10 of our favorite Halloween makeup designs this year:
A few white dots, some black outlining, and you’ve instantly got a cute and creative costume. Pair it with a bright ‘50s dress and you’re ready to hop inside a retro cartoon.
Zombies are a classic for a reason, and not just because they’re scaring the pants off us every Sunday on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Zombie makeup is all about black eye circles, pale skin, and gaping wounds. You can never go wrong with creepy contacts either.
Once you get the swooping eyeliner right, this costume is a piece of cake. Grab some tree branches, practice your contouring, and before you know it you’re a perfect deer.
A doll is fairly easy to create—pale skin, cupid lips, and big lashes. But we love the uniqueness of this broken porcelain look. It’s oddly creepy, with the stark white face paint and the shocking contrast of her regular skin.
Trick people into thinking you exist in black and white with this retro look. All you’ll need is dark- and cream-colored clothing, gray makeup, and a long string of pearls. Staying silent all night is optional.
Turn your face into a celebration of Day of the Dead with this colorful, unique design. Love the dark-rimmed eyes and the bright flowers here, but don’t feel limited—the possibilities are endless. Grab whatever colors you have lying around and get creative.
If you want to gross out everyone in your life, give this zipper look a try. It seems complicated, but all you really need is a flesh-colored zipper, spirit gum adhesive, and red face paint. We can’t guarantee you’ll have any friends by the end of the night, but you’ll certainly be original.
The key to this Sally costume is to pretend you have no eyes. Or eyebrows. Or a normal-sized head in general. Load on the blue face paint and you’re ready to go find Jack in some creepy cemetery.
Another classic costume, though this skeleton is made extraordinary through the power of makeup. This look would not be easy to recreate, but the subtle shading, unique design, and stark colors make the extra time well worth it.
Arachnophobes beware. This is a lovely image, but also pretty horrifying. Still, if you’re into a more subtle costume, then this makeup is for you.
To browse even more Halloween makeup ideas, be sure to pick up Brian and Nick Wolfe’s book, Extreme Costume Makeup. And if you have any great makeup tips, let us know in the comments! With only two weeks left before Halloween, we’re all starting to scramble for ideas.