4 Scary Halloween Makeup Tutorials to Try This Halloween

Scary Halloween MakeupHalloween is the one time a year when you can be whoever you want; no matter how old you are, no matter what you do in real life, All Hallow’s Eve is a chance to be something entirely different. Popular costumes and looks change over the years–they’re tied to pop culture, fashion trends, and more. But the one look that never goes out of style on October 31st is scary. There’s something so gratifying about going all out on Halloween and embracing the creepy, frightful autumn night. There are times where you want to adopt the persona of someone (or something) that might even terrify you a little; ghosts, zombies, vampires, the list goes on and on and is rife with possibility.

You don’t need elaborate costumes or cheesy props to get in on the fun, all you need is to learn about the basics of great makeup application that you can expand upon to come up with some truly creepy Halloween looks. If you’re hoping to give everyone you know goose bumps this year with a costume that is sure to cause fright, shivers, and delight, then we have four scary Halloween makeup tutorials to instruct and inspire you!

Sugar Skull

Sugar skull girl portrait, studio shotA skull is a Halloween staple, and the sugar skull is an integral part of Dia de los Muertos, the holiday that shares a night with Halloween. Sugar skulls may not necessarily be the goriest of all the scary Halloween makeup ideas, but there is something downright chilling about the idea of dead-returned angelitos coming back once a year to visit.

To achieve the sugar skull look, you’ll need to get a few things to get started:

  • White face paint that you can pick up in a costume shop
  • Cream liquid makeup in black and any other color of your choosing, like aqua or magenta, as in the picture above
  • Black eyeliner pencil or liquid liner
  • Black or Bright red lipstick

Putting it all together is actually a lot easier than you’d think; simply apply the white cream with a sponge all over your face and the dark cream on the tip of your nose and the hollows of your eyes. Than use the liners to draw geometric, lacy shapes and the skull’s lined grin. Use the turquoise or magenta to add color accents, and apply the lipstick to define the lips.

Scary Clown

Scary Halloween MakeupScary clowns are nightmare fuel for more people than you might think, in fact it’s common enough to have a name: caulrophobia. Add in the haphazard application of makeup that was popularized with Heath Ledger’s iconic depiction of the Joker, and you have the perfect scary Halloween makeup idea for this October 31st.

For the pictured look, you can use a lot of the same cosmetics that are used to make the sugar skull:

  • White face paint or cream makeup
  • Blue and red cream makeup or red lipstick in lieu of red cream
  • A sponge applicator to apply and blend the makeup

In this instance, however, you don’t need to be as precise as you would be with the sugar skull look. In fact, it’s better to mess it up a little–there’s nothing scary about a sane clown, right? So don’t worry too much about perfect outlining or application, it’s better to smear the makeup around to give you that slightly imbalanced creepy clown look.

Forest Witch

Scary Halloween MakeupWitches are no longer the wart-nosed, crooked teeth, practically comical storybook villains that they used to be. You can ditch the green wig and that fake nose that won’t seem to stay put this year and go for something that’s a little more eerily pretty–an ethereal forest witch. For a look like this one, it can be very helpful to have a greater understanding of dramatic looks that can be achieved with high fashion makeup techniques. 

To get the forest witch look, you need to get a hold of the following materials:

Apply the foundation to achieve an even skin tone, and then draw focus to the eyes with the eye shadow, going for an artistic, smoky, dark look. Draw branching lines out from there with the liquid or pencil eye liner, apply the lipstick to your lips and finish the look by applying the false eyelashes (don’t use too much glue) and adhering the metal or gem accents in strategic spots on your face, using an applicator to dab the glue on.


scary halloween makeupWhat makes a zombie such a creepy concept is that they used to be just like us–completely human. Well, until they got their insatiable hunger for brains, that is. That’s why they are such a popular choice for Halloween costumes. Of course, to make this costume idea work, you need to know how to best apply the scary Halloween makeup that makes the entire look complete. This one is a little more involved, and it gets its creepiness not from traditional cosmetics but from stage makeup products like liquid latex and artificial blood. Zombie Halloween makeup is mostly comprised of wounds and gnarly blood.

Here’s the entire list of what you will need:

  • Liquid latex and artificial blood, both of which can be purchased from a stage, Halloween, or costume shop
  • Spirit gum, a type of adhesive that makes it easy to reapply liquid latex wounds
  • A basic palette of cream or liquid foundations
  • Blue or black eyeliner
  • Dark cream eye shadow
  • Applicators like sponges, cotton buds, and brushes

Before you apply any wound makeup, you need to give the skin a sickly, pallid tone–zombies are undead, after all, so choose a liquid foundation that is lighter than your skin tone to start with. You can add darker colors and blend them where you are attempting to make the skin look bruised. Don’t be afraid to apply foundation that doesn’t quite work with your skin–blues, greens, and cool yellows will give you the sickly look you need.

To make a wound, you need to mold the liquid latex into a hollow or scar shape and then adhere it to the skin using spirit gum. After you are pleased with the way it looks, you can to paint the fake wound with dark reds and artificial blood to make it look more realistic.

Use the eyeliner pencils to draw veins around your temples and down your neck, and use the eye shadow to darken the hollows of your eyes. This is probably the only situation where you want deep, dark circles.

Finally, no zombie is complete without the bite that caused their transformation. To make a bite, start with a liquid foundation that is looks yellowish on your skin. Dab it on a small are with the sponge, and then use a dark cream eye shadow to make a ring that is roughly the size of a bite mark. blend the two, and then add bright red into the center of the bite, spreading it towards the outer ring. Voila! Instant zombie.

Now you have a great place to start if you want to amp up the creep factor for Halloween this year with these scary Halloween makeup ideas. Don’t forget to learn some great photography tricks so you can capture your awesome costume. If you aren’t feeling quite as daring, you can always fake it by turning yourself into something absolutely ghastly with just Photoshop.