Halloween makeup ideas (featuring skeletons, zombies and pandas)


HALLOWEEN. Like most annual holiday traditions, it scares me. It’s not the costumes, decorations or trick-or-treats sending that little shiver down my spine, but the cost. Can I justify spending a small fortune on something I’ll use once a year? I doubt it. Unless I resolve to dress like a Tim Burton character as part of my everyday look, there are budgets to consider.

But budgeting doesn’t have to mean half-baked Halloween horrors. It’s worth planning early and shopping around for bargain materials. Once you have a costume in mind, you’re halfway there. Take time to put your costume together or practise using gory makeup to the right effect. The following tips focus mostly on makeup – remember to check the ingredients if you think you might be allergic to something.

Face paint. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with face paint. Even if you do, those smudged colours might just work a treat. Remember Halloween makeup and everyday makeup are worlds apart, so don’t freak out if the colours run. Let your inner artist go wild with party shop cosmetics. Skeleton, vampire and zombie costumes are all (re)born from white face paint. There should be enough to share with friends or save for another occasion, so don’t be put off by the price.

Many girls own a red lipstick. If, like me, you feel you should save it for a special occasion, then here it is. Don’t be afraid to bring out the bold lip – it’s both sexy and scary. And it beats a sexy cat costume every single time. Pair with a pale face for a startling, stunning look.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told to go easy on the eyeliner. Halloween is the one night I’m excused for my panda eyes. Not that pandas have ever been scary, but if you can pull off a scary panda costume, you can probably do anything. Kudos to you. More to the point, thick eyeliner and smudgy eye shadow are perfect for achieving a gaunt, ghostly image. Exaggeration is key. That’s not to say you can’t be artistic, but go ahead and break the rules. At this time of year, it’ll work in your favour.

I love Halloween because I can have a bad hair day and it won’t even matter. I can spray paint my entire head, or use permanent dyes – because hey, why not? Wigs are the number one solution if you can’t achieve the right look with your own hair. They’re a little more expensive than dyes but worth it for a temporary change. Hair nets are essential for hiding long hair, unless you want to layer your natural hair colour under the wig. Alternatively, spray additional colours into the wig, but be careful not to stain clothes or furniture.

Long nails are impractical, but so is that bed sheet you threw over your head in an attempt to be a ghost. Party shops often stock fake, stick-on patterned nails. They’re perfect if your Halloween character has a good set of claws. Not so great if you plan on eating, drinking or reapplying lipstick. Leave these until last, for obvious reasons.

For costumes, look around charity shops for items you could customise. If you can sew, your talent will go to a great use, but remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. Avoid spending lots on an item that may get soaked in fake blood. If you don’t think you’ll ever use your costume again, you could rent one from a party shop – but take care to bring it back in suitable condition.

Consider what you find really scary. Be original. Would painting an extra eye in the middle of your face freak out your friends? Do your housemates go faint at the sight of fake blood? Could you be the world’s scariest panda? Dare to be different, but above all, have fun! Choose a costume you feel most comfortable in, a character who best reflects yourself.

You could even put a gory twist on a non-Halloween theme. Yes. I’m thinking of pandas again.