Tips and tricks for that perfect Halloween costume

PUTTING together the perfect costume for yourself is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Halloween season. Getting ready with your friends can be a lot of fun, and the University Halloween night out allows you to make a real statement amongst your peers. Here, I present some recommendations for finding your own perfect Halloween outfit, as well as some simple but effective Halloween themed makeup looks to try out.

Search YouTube for makeup tutorials

YouTube is awash with hundreds of makeup artists who have made Halloween themed tutorials to inspire you. Here are some recommended channels for you to explore:

halloween 2MadeYewLook

An incredibly talented makeup artist who specialises in full body makeup designs, MadeYewLook has some great elaborate makeup tutorials for Hallloween. She really knows how to create looks with a wow factor and she provides tutorials ranging from incredibly easy to the more difficult, so you’ll likely find something to suit your confidence skills. The picture below is of me last Halloween and it was heavily inspired by MadeYewLook’s version of Jack Nicolson’s Joker.


A lovely guy who specialises in special effects makeup and prosthetics, he has made an especially eclectic range of spooky makeup tutorials. He’s a huge horror movie fan, which means that there are plenty of frightening horror looks on his channel, yet the fact that he has created tutorials such as ‘Zombie Ronald Mcdonald’, a leopard and Lady Gaga gives you an idea of how varied he likes to be. In addition, his ‘Jack Skellington’ tutorial is hands down the best I’ve seen on YouTube.

Emma Pickles

This makeup artist mostly creates a range of everyday makeup tutorials, but if you look through her videos you’ll find a fair few tutorials suitable for Halloween. Her ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and Vampire makeup tutorials are particularly impressive and she really takes the time and effort to evoke her chosen character.

 Look in shops around Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth is full of charity shops which, whether you usually frequent them or not, are worth visiting when seeking out your costume.  Although it may be more difficult to find full costumes, you may find that a charity shop sells that odd piece of fabric, jewellery, shirt or trousers that you have struggled to find elsewhere. What’s more, Halloween is a short lived event so your costume is unlikely to be worn much after. As such, charity shops can provide you with bits for your costume that won’t break the bank. Craft (located in the train station) is a recycling shop that may also be worth having a gander in, as they have a cheap clothing and shoes section.

Poundland is ideal for costume accessories. They’re currently selling such items as brooms, fake weapons, loads of horror masks and a variety of makeup, false nails and eyelashes. They’re not so great when you’re looking for a complete costume, but you may find that they sell that odd item you’ve been searching for. A good tip is to look in their Stag Do/ Hen Night section, as you may find certain fancy dress items available there that aren’t in the Halloween section.

halloween 1Stars is Aberystwyth’s official fancy dress shop and gets seriously busy in the days leading up to Halloween. They stock full costumes, some of which are only for rent whilst the pre-packaged costumes can be bought. It’s advisable to look through these early however, as they go very quickly. Stars also stock a wide range of accessories for costumes; everything from Pirate hats, to wigs and masks and everything in between. Their range of makeup is of a very high quality and there is a great deal of choice. Another perk is that they have a range of colourful, elaborate contact lenses to really make your costume stand out. Like the costumes, I advise going to look at them early should you wish to buy some, as they’ll sell like hotcakes.

Some items for sale in Aberystwyth, from left to right: Black hairspray, £1, Poundland. Green Comb-in hair dye, £3.99, Stars. Red and white cream makeup tubes, £1 (usually as part of a larger pack), Poundland. White ‘Snazaroo’ face paint, around £5.99, Stars (lasts absolutely ages) and Bourjois eyelashes, £1.69, Savers.

 Two super easy unisex makeup looks for Halloween 2014

Super Scales

What you’ll need:

  • Netted material (Fishnet stockings work best)
  • Cream makeup in your choice of colours
  • Makeup sponges/ pads or makeup brushes
  1. Pull the fishnet stockings over the exposed skin you wish to paint the scales upon. For the face, it’s probably best to cut off the foot end of the stockings, forming a tube to which you can comfortably slip over your head, but which will stay firmly in place against the skin.
  2. Using a makeup brush or makeup sponge/ pad, dab your chosen cream makeup over the fish-netted areas you want scaly. For a mermaid look, for instance, you may prefer to daub just small amounts at the corners of your face, arms and legs. For a full on reptilian horror look, it might be better to create more prominent amounts of scales.

For a mermaid/ merman look just jazz the scales up with stick on jewels, a false beard (for the wannabe sea gods) and dregs of material in your hair to look like seaweed. For a creepy reptile or demon look, add lizard-look contact lenses, horns and perhaps some fangs. Why not go all out with something different like a Medusa costume, as the scales are ideal for this too.

Easy Skeleton costume

What you’ll need:

  • Black and white face paints
  • Black trousers and shirt
  • White fabric paint
  1. Paint a skull upon your face using the black and white face paints (there are hundreds of tutorials online to take inspiration from, varying in complexity and ‘look’).
  2. Paint on simple bone shapes across your trousers and shirt. This doesn’t have to be complex at all; for the leg bones just paint two long bones, one going up the front calf and one up the thigh area. Paint disc shapes all up the centre of the shirt for the spine and four thick lines on each side of the spine for the ribs. Add a flat heart shape to the bottom of shirt for the pelvis.

This makeup look can be adapted to suit many different costumes. Some examples include; an evil skeleton pirate, Dia de los Muertos Mexican skull (just add coloured face paint patterns to your skull painted face), a half skull/ half face look and the grim reaper (a black hooded cloak will add a simple but effective touch).

Hopefully you can take some inspiration from this article and find yourself that perfect costume that will amaze and/ or scare everyone you meet. Happy Halloween!