Last-Minute, Easy Halloween Face Paint Ideas
This article was originally published in October 2020 for Tara Rittler’s Spaghetti on the Wall blog. It has since been updated.
Halloween is almost here! Are you ready? One thing that’s been bringing me a TON of joy this month is playing around with face paint and costuming. That, and the fact that I’m following several makeup artists on Instagram who have been sharing the most glorious costumes every day this month. (Brenna Mazzoni, @artbybmazz, is my absolute favorite. Her looks are more pop-culture than gore-based, so I feel pretty comfortable sharing her account here 🙂 So I wanted to share some fun and easy Halloween face paint ideas.
I bought a cheap set of face paint (Blue Squid brand) early on in quarantine, and that was fun to use. However, the combination of my lack of skill and the amateur quality was not ideal.
You can still put together a cute costume using cheaper face paint. But it is harder to get good coverage, especially with base colors like white.
So using some birthday money, I bought a set of Mehron Paradise Paints, which has made everything so much more satisfying! My skill level is still very-much-a-beginner, and I have no idea how to do contouring, shading or any of that helpful stuff. But here are some fun and easy ideas that you could make your own, if you’d also like to dive into the wonderful world of face painting!
1. Half-and-Half Look
For this idea, simply think of two characters or opposites that you’d like to represent. Divide your face down the middle and paint one look on the right side and one on the left. For this look, I did a “Wicked” mashup. If you really want to go all out, you could figure out how to also make it look like you are wearing two sets of clothes – again divided down your middle – two hairstyles, etc. But I obviously didn’t go that far! (Based on what I’ve seen from make-up artists on IG, you’d want to start with some fabric paint and probably thrifted clothes that you could tear up and color as needed.)
1/2-and-1/2 Glinda and Elphaba Look
2. Stitched Together
This one is also very versatile! Simply divide your face into sections, color in each section in a different hue, then “stitch” them together using black face paint or a black eyeliner pencil. Color the edge of each section black, then add stitch lines at regular intervals. You can use whatever colors you like. Although good face paint is on the pricey side, so I had exactly 8 colors to choose from, ha.
3. Frankenstein – or Zombie
I’ve done a couple different Frankenstein looks now, since I have two great shades of green! Start by painting your face green, then add stitch marks and details as desired.
Pair your green look with a fluffy dress for an elegant “Lady Frankenstein” look!
This one was inspired by “Buckenstein” (visit him at Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios!). We just used some purple and red face paint for facial definition.
Of course, if you have a good green paint, you can easily switch between a Frankenstein or a zombie look. I just use more red accents for zombie looks, and try to add a pink brain on the side of the forehead.
4. Pumpkin Head
There are a lot of pumpkin face paint variations out there. I chose this one because it seemed the most doable. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have high-quality black Face paint, I didn’t quite pull it off. But some photo editing later, it’s not too bad!
Simply paint your face orange, leaving three triangles of skin unpainted around your eyes and nose, as well as an empty space for the mouth. Fill in these empty spaces with black face paint. Add some vertical lines in darker orange or brown to really sell the pumpkin look. And, just for fun, I added a little vine tendril running down the side of my face as well, although you can’t see it here.
I just wore this with a black wig, witch’s hat and Halloween-y dress, so it ended up being a Pumpkin Head/Witch look.
5. Lion King: Rafiki
I found this look through some Googling, so tried to copy it onto Joss because it could be done using the eight colors I happened to have. Woot!
Joss is incredibly wiggly and more than a little ticklish, so it’s hard to paint his face, ha. I sometimes have to bribe him. Anyway, for this look, I painted the bottom third of his face light orange, his cheeks bright blue, a red nose, light green/yellow around his eyes, and gray up to his forehead. Plus a wild white wig, of course! Then added some black lines to his cheeks. Not too difficult, even with an un-cooperative model!
6. Ninja Turtle
This is one I did with the cheaper face paint, and since it doesn’t require the whole face to be painted, it worked. But you might be able to tell that the paint isn’t as thick.
Use your color of choice – whichever turtle your kid wants to be! – to draw a simple mask shape around their eyes. Use green to paint from beyond the mask up to the top of their forehead and to their ears. I stopped about half-way down his nose, leaving the bottom half of his face unpainted. Which is helpful for wearing face masks! Outline your mask in black to give it a little more definition. Voila!
This one was also done with the cheaper face paint. Paint an orange patch on your nose, and one in a different color on your forehead. Paint your lips black, then use either face paint or black eyeliner to draw out the corners of your mouth and add stitch marks. Highlight your cheeks with orange circles. We also added some bright pink face paint under Joss’s eyes, but that may have been at his request? I don’t remember. But I like it!
Which is your favorite? Or, please tell me about a face paint look you’ve done that you really love! Or…since I’m so very new to this…your best face paint tips?!