There's no denying that Halloween is going to look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — but that's not to say you can't still have fun and dress up anyway. Makeup-only costumes are always a good way to go, especially if you don't feel like spending any money on an ensemble (which we totally respect). All they require are you, your makeup kit, and good old fashioned creativity.
With these looks, you can go all out with your makeup and wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Plus, there's a more than solid chance you already own most of the makeup required to make these costumes happen. You also don't have to know how to do any intricate special-effects makeup techniques (as seen with these terrifyingly awesome looks), so you'll be able to pull off plenty of the ideas here, regardless of whether you're a skilled makeup artist or an eager beauty beginner.
Ahead, find 32 Halloween costumes that are perfect for makeup lovers at every skill level.
1. Glam Joker
"After being heavily inspired by the Joker movie, I wanted to create a look that would sum up the way I understood the character Arthur Fleck," says makeup artists Adaeze Ebeku. "That understanding is what I would describe as 'the art of sane madness.'"
This makeup-only costume can easily be recreated using colorful eye shadows you already have in your collection, as well as some pink lipstick, gold highlighter, and face gems.
2. Ripe Banana
How clever is this fruit-inspired costume by makeup artist Anya Tisdale? "You can turn into anything with makeup — even inanimate items like fruit," she tells Allure. "I love being able to use makeup to highlight the things I see and love in my everyday life, such as bananas."
Grab some yellow eye shadow and brown eyeliner, and you've officially got this look on lock.
3. Black Swan
Cape Town-based Black beauty creator Esethu tells Allure she came up with this look while on lockdown for 21 days in South Africa.
"I didn't want to lose my creative spirit, as it was very demoralizing, so I got on Instagram and asked my followers which characters they'd like me to transform into," she recalls. "Nina was one of them, so I became the Black Swan."
Some white and black shadow, as well as a solid pair of false lashes, is all you really need to achieve this gothic ballerina look — that, and some steady hands.
4. Gothic Fairy
Turn yourself into a frightening fairy á la makeup artist Amber Rodriguez, who goes by @euphriaxiv on Instagram. "It's just a bunch of orange eye shadows, liquid liner, and some black lipstick," she says. "I think this makeup is perfect if you're looking for a last-minute Halloween look or if you just want to play around with products that are already in your everyday kit."
5. Sims Character
This video game-inspired Halloween look by makeup artist Jacina Pender couldn't be more spot-on — plus, it's so easy to put together in a pinch. All you need is some colorful eye shadow, false lashes, some temporary hair dye, and green contact lenses (if you can get ahold of them, that is).
"I envision myself and everybody else as walking Sims sometimes due to some of the conventional aspects and structures in our lifestyle, and how we can influence each other unknowingly," says Pender in regards to what inspired her to create this look. "Plus, I just love the Sims games in general."
6. Flapper Girl
When in doubt, you really can't go wrong with a flapper girl — especially if you add your own twist to the classic 1920s costume like makeup artist Brooke Ellis, who does Halloween looks all the time just for fun.
"I've always been fascinated by 1920s makeup, so I wanted to recreate a black-and-white movie star headshot," Ellis tells Allure. "It was so surreal seeing myself in the mirror — it's one of my favorite looks I've ever done!"
Indigo of the Instagram account @indigotohell turned himself into an Avatar this year using various shades of blue eye shadow from the sold-out BH Cosmetics Bubblegum Palette, as well as white pigment from Mehron Makeup.
"The best part of Halloween is being able to turn into anything with no questions asked," he says. "This one was so much fun to do, and wasn't even too hard."
8. Radioactive Doll
"I had this idea for a radioactive doll in mind for some time and decided to give a go," says Naomi of @namglam on Instagram. "Its definitely one of my favorite looks I've done."
9. The Little Mermaid's Ursula
"Ursula is a villain, yes — but also an icon and Bad B," says makeup artist Shahira Allen of her movie character-inspired Halloween look. "She's one of my all-time favorite Disney villains, so this was so much fun to do."
Allen used several purple and blue eye shadows, glossy red lipstick, and black liquid liner to turn into the legendary under-the-sea creature.
10. Pentagon's Kino
Pretend to be a K-pop star for the night with Kino's colorful "ribbit" cheek makeup from Pentagon's Thumbs Up promo shoot. To get the shapes of the letters just right, you can use a stencil, like this one from Amazon. This minor detail can actually make a major difference in the finished look.
11. Melted Doll
12. Ghost Face
Special-effects makeup artist Lisa Maria Murphy took inspiration from Ghostface in the Scream series to create this meta moment.
To achieve this spooky look at home, you can use any white and black eye shadows you have in your collection, as well as a product like Ben Nye's White Clown Makeup. So long as what you have is pigmented and blends out easily, you should be fine.
13. Purge Mask
Put your favorite nude eye shadow palette to a terrifyingly amazing new use by taking cues from British makeup artist Belinda Maines' Purge-inspired mask illusion. All you need are some neutral shadows or makeup crayons — not to mention some serious blending skills — to recreate this creepy-cool costume.
14. Stranger Things
Kayla Holloway summed up the first season of Stranger Things in the best possible way with Christmas lights draped across her cheeks and Eleven's iconic bloody nose.
To nail this look, you'll need a black eyeliner for the string lights, some type of red pigment for the bloody (Nyx's Face & Body Glitter in Red could do the trick), and sunset-colored shadows, of course, for the eyes.
15. Gucci Snake Gone Bad
Give your Halloween costume a high-fashion touch without spending a dime on this look from U.K.-based makeup artist Abby Roberts. For this costume, you may want to use professional face paint (we like this palette) to get an ultra-pigmented and long-lasting finish that won't smudge if you accidentally touch your face.
16. Six Eyes
Add four more eyes to your face for an arachnid aesthetic like Canadian makeup artist Megan Brown. You'll need some deep purple eye shadow, black liquid liner to create the illusion of false lashes, and a dark berry gloss for the blood-like lips.
17. Violet Beauregarde
Regardless of whether you prefer Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you have to admit that Ellie Addis came up with a pretty genius way to emulate the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde. The look has gone so viral that Addis recently made a tutorial to help others recreate it.
Makeup artist Kaneshia Shana created the only waterfalls we'll ever chase. Use a blend of blue and white eye shadows — or powder, face paint, whatever it is you're comfortable with — to create the falls, mixing the colors together until you're happy with how it looks.
19. Pumpkin Glitter Butt
Yup, glittery pumpkin butt makeup is a thing now, thanks to Sophia Levy, makeup artist and cofounder of Go Get Glitter. For this hilariously clever look, you'll want to get your hands on some orange eye shadow (duh), as well as some chunky glitter, like Warmfits Holographic Chunky Glitter, which comes in 12 different colors.
You don't have to wait for a full moon to morph into a werewolf. Just use @Zoe-artistsharvest's look for reference. Black and white eye shadows are necessary for this costume, as is a detail brush (this set has several different-sized options) a red pigment (MAC's in Basic Red should set you up for success), and a yellow-toned liner or shadow for the teeth.
21. Pixelated Person
Turn into a pixelated version of yourself with tips from Canadian makeup artist Cassidy Shkimba. Use cream shadows or pigments — whatever you have on hand — to create the mesmerizing checkered effect. A stencil could also come in handy to get the squares super-precise. Then do the same using different shades of red lipstick or liner on one side of your lips.
22. Monet Painting
Pretend as if you belong on the wall of your favorite museum for a night. Alex of @grave.moth created this stunning and highly detailed makeup-only costume using white powder and a blend of blue, green, and red pigments. You'll definitely need a thin brush for this one due to all the detail work — as well as a larger and more dense one for the blue and white areas.
23. Safety Pin
OK, a safety pin might not seem like the most glamorous Halloween costume ever, but June (also known as @visiblejune on Instagram) makes a pretty convincing argument for it. Get your favorite glitter, some purple lipstick, and false lashes on deck for this one, and you'll be good to go.
Also, be sure to add some bright pink blush to your cheeks and on the tip of your nose to mimic June's supercute flushed look.
24. Millenial Clown
In the words of makeup artist Jenapher Moore: "I'm not like a regular clown. I'm a cool clown." She topped off her bold blue eye makeup with star-shaped rhinestones for a glitzy, Instagram-ready look. This costume requires you have several products — including burgundy lipstick, blue eye shadow, and dramatic false lashes — in your kit.
To recreate the Joker-like mouth, overline your lips quite considerably and then curve the corners outward and upwards for an undeniably creepy effect.
25. 3-D Spider
Makeup artists all over Instagram like Sofia Hernandez have been painting frighteningly realistic spiders onto their faces with some skillful eye shadow techniques. You can make one look like it's crawling out of your eye or even your lips. Take it from us: If you have black lipstick, liner, or eye shadow in your collection — along with some glitter and highlighter — there's no way you won't nail this one.
Make flowers bloom from your eyes like Jihane El Yamri with the help of some gold glitter and white eyeliner. Make Up For Ever's Star Lit Glitter in the shade 401 Intense Gold will get you the most gorgeous finish on the eyes. As for liner, we'd recommend something like Sephora Collection's Eyeliner Pencil To Go in the shade Pure White because it's easy to blend and comes in the form of a chunkier pencil, which is optimal for this look since the flower petals are fairly large.
Tie your hair up in some pigtails and transform your face into a creepy but incredibly cute monster. Recreate this look by lining the eyes in white and then smoking them out with dark green shadows. Then, draw some squiggly lines underneath your eyes with whatever liquid liner you like and add some bold falsies to tie everything together.
28. Bloody Queen
For the eyes and lips alike, apply some red eye shadow or face paint (whatever's easiest), and then draw some blood spatter-esque dots on top using a fine-tipped brush and a slightly deeper red shade.
29. Neon Skull
Instead of covering your whole face with its internal anatomy, try just a quarter of it by outlining your jawbone, teeth, and eye socket with fluorescent hues. Trace over your linework with a glow-in-the-dark pigment powder (like this one) to get a similar effect to what you see here.
30. Glitter Face
Some Allure editors may not endorse glitter-packed face masks, but I fully support covering your face in glittery makeup for Halloween purposes. After drawing on wings and swiping on black lipstick, slap some Vaseline all over your skin and press glitter on top of it. A balm will be easier to remove than glue — and your skin will be much happier about it, too.
31. Crying Heart
Makeup artist Mei Pang only used Make Up For Ever's Color Sticks for this heartbreakingly stunning look. Use the creamy makeup crayons (or whatever you have in your arsenal) to draw a large heart in the center of your face. Then simply shade it in and add the other effects, like the winged liner and white lip accents.
This creepy makeup-only costume is perfect for anyone who loved stippling exercises in art class as a kid. Literally, all you need is a liquid liner like Nyx's That's the Point Eyeliner to create this dotted extravaganza. OK, and a lot of patience.
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Originally Appeared on Allure