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49 Face Paint & Makeup-Only Halloween Costumes

Find ideas and instructions from professional makeup artists for Halloween face painting, including scarecrows, skeletons, zombies, animals and all sorts of scary creatures.

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Must-Try Halloween Makeup & Face Paint Ideas

When Halloween is right around the corner and you don’t have a costume, makeup can come to the rescue. From creepy monsters to adorable animals, we’ve rounded up 50 amazing Halloween face paint and makeup-only costume ideas from artists, beauty bloggers, HGTV pros and more. Find your favorite and get tips and tricks for recreating the look. Pair your beautifully painted face with simple, solid-color clothing from your closet to let your makeup skills shine. Voila, costume complete! Looking for even more Halloween costume ideas? Check out our easy DIY costumes for kids, couples, groups and even pets.

Giving yourself the graphic, comic-inspired Roy Lichtenstein treatment, as Wisconsin salon owner Nicoal Steinmann did here, is all about highlighting features with bold black lines (a liquid liner would work well) and recreating the look of Ben Day dots. Named for the illustrator Benjamin Henry Day, Jr., the process (which Nicole rendered in white here) uses mechanically created spots to create shading and variation with a limited primary-color palette in images printed for newspapers.

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Bejeweled Harlequin

Nicoal created dazzling dimensionality for this graphic look, in turn, with rhinestones. “The gems in this photo were all put on one at a time using Duo eyelash glue as an adhesive and a dual-end rhinestone pickup tool, which makes it easier to pick up each individual gem. Any flat-back rhinestones will work for this look, and you can switch it up with any color gems you like.”

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Ice Cream With Sprinkles Face Paint

Creative entrepreneur Kristen Bousquet has a few key pointers to creating this homage to ice cream — which, like Doyle’s she-wolf, deploys traditional cosmetics (see a full list of the products she used here). First, use a single look for the “melt” and your lips in order to keep the look cohesive. As for the real sprinkles, “I suggest using clear or white lash glue, not black, as you will be able to see any black glue that is applied, and it may take away from the overall look,” she says.

Sadly, this costume was so tasty that some of it didn’t make it to the shoot: “We also made a headband to go along with this and it was adorable (until my dog ate it before I could take a photo)!” The verbal version of that devoured detail: “Basically, we took a plain headband, spray painted some mounds of cotton to look like ice cream, then glued a sugar cone on top of the mounds to pull the look together.”

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Zipper Face

New Orleans artist Crystal Turner has an enviable sidekick when it comes to costume creation in October. “My son and I love Halloween and I dress up with him every year,” she says. “The inspiration behind our unzipped look was to showcase [that] we are all magical and made of the universe!” To follow in their footsteps, buy a zipper at a craft store (or upcycle one from a worn-out item of clothing), then snip off the excess fabric on either side of the teeth. Experiment with laying the zipper at different angles on your face, trimming it to length, then dusting over it with a bit of loose powder so you’ll know where it will be affixed. Dab spirit gum within the outlines that remain, lay the zipper on your face, then use a combination of sponged, brushed, and stippled water-based makeup to create the effect of your choice on the “unzipped” portion of your face.

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