The 10 Best Halloween Makeup Ideas for a Bewitching Transformation

Martha's Halloween makeup from "Shriek or Chic"
Photo: Brian Bowen Smith

On October 31, transform into your chosen character with our spooky, dramatic, or shimmering Halloween makeup ideas. Before you create any makeup miracles, however, you'll need some basic supplies—stock up on cream makeup or grease paint, spirit gum or other adhesive, shadows, pencils, and powder. Before using any product, be sure you have the appropriate remover (some substances can be washed off with soap and water; others, such as spirit gum, call for special solvents).

When you're ready to get started, always apply makeup to a clean face for smooth, even application—and use a light touch. "Stop before you think you've done enough," says Tim Considine of Direct Effects in Los Angeles; he has made a career of giving ordinary faces shocking, often gruesome, new looks. "You can always go back and apply more, but you'll have a lot more work removing makeup and starting over." And of course, enjoy the transformation—at the end of the night, you'll wash your face and be you again, at least for another year.

01 of 10

Motha Makeup


A flutter of her eyelashes is all it takes to lure you in like a moth to the flame. For Martha's aptly-named "Motha" costume, she completed her look with eye shadow in ginger, coffee ground, and truffle shades; feathered lashes; and whimsical wings around the eyes, adding dimension and flair to the makeup look created by Krisofer Buckle.

To recreate her look, print the wing clip-art onto white heavyweight matte paper and gently curl outer edges of wings around a pencil or small makeup brush. Embellish false eyelashes with small pheasant feathers, which are available at crafts stores.

02 of 10

Masked Phantom Makeup

Kevin Sharkey's Halloween phantom mask
Brien Bowen Smith

Kevin Sharkey's phantom mask is so dramatic, it's all the costume you need. To recreate his look, place a folded paper towel just above the eyebrows, securing on both sides with hair clips. Fully moisten a sponge with water, then load with makeup: Apply blue cream makeup along bottom edge of paper towel, covering the eyebrows, the eyelids, and the bridge of nose.

With a clean sponge, apply white cream makeup under blue, blending to create an ombré effect. To increase contrast, darken the top of the mask by adding black cream makeup to blue cream makeup with a clean moistened sponge. Line both eyes with blue and black eyeliner pencils, and you're ready to haunt.

03 of 10

Werewolf Makeup

bewitched werewolf Halloween costume
Brien Bowen Smith

A werewolf is a passing transformation, but this makeup by former Martha Stewart Living editor Kate Berry leaves a lasting impression. To emulate her bold look, use an earthy mix of gold and copper tones in shimmery finishes.

First, take a moistened sponge and blend white cream makeup onto the face; contour by applying bronzer underneath the cheekbones with a blush brush, sweeping upward to the hairline. Brush an earthy mix of gold and copper eye shadows, and finish with a bronze lipstick.

04 of 10

Skeleton Makeup

skull makeup
Taylor Grayson Photo

On Halloween, a skeleton is one of the most chilling figures, but our modern version has a sleek, startling beauty. To become a bone-chilling skeleton yourself, apply white crème color, black liquid paint to create sunken eye sockets, and a combination of white and black liquid face paint to carve out the cheekbones and jawline. Use a small angled brush to better draw in the finer details: teeth, the collar bone, tiny cracks and lines.

05 of 10

Gray Lady Ghost Makeup

gray lady ghost costume for Halloween

This gray lady ghost proves that the enchanting can be even more thrilling than the ghoulish. If you aspire to a hauntingly ethereal beauty, wear a mask of white face paint resembling a veil. It's a simple effect: cut a doily in half, center its decorative edge on the forehead, and hold in place. Dab white face paint on forehead with a makeup sponge, stenciling the lacy pattern and paint around scalloped edges. (It helps to have a helping hand.) And wear white lip paint.

06 of 10

Spellbinding Sorceress

Andrew Eccles

One look into those electrifying golden eyes, and you'll be cast under her spell. For Martha's Spellbinding Sorceress costume, she framed her smoky eye with sparkling brows and mystical tattoos (temporary, of course). To evoke her beauty, apply temporary tattoos to the forehead and around the eyes; create a slanted cat's-eye; apply bronzer and a light-colored lipstick.

And here's an extra trick: For extra fullness, glue together multiple sets of lashes (Martha is wearing three pairs) and then apply to the upper lid.

07 of 10

Glampire Makeup

Martha in her glampire Halloween costume
Craig Cutler

Women of horror tales are typically beauties—hence, this makeup idea. For Martha's Glampire costume, she emulated the beauty of a vampire with ivory skin and bloodstained lips. Create this look by applying an ivory foundation, followed by a white liquid makeup, then white loose powder to set. Darken the eyebrows with an ebony eyeliner pencil (elongating the brows for dramatic effect) and wear a darkly rich lipstick.

08 of 10

Evil Queen

evil queen makeup for Halloween
Spencer Hayfron

Everything you need to pull off this dramatic face is already in your makeup bag. To take your makeup from career girl to Cruella, download the template and use the eyebrow stencil to trace new brows with black gel liner and a small brush. With black eye shadow, go over the natural brows. Use the cat-eye template to brush on cat eyes; fill in, leaving the inner corners blank. Add pink blush and red lipstick, smudging with your finger as needed, to soften the look.

09 of 10

Golden Goddess Makeup

Martha Stewart in her Golden Goddess Halloween costume
Craig Cutler

Worship this look? So do we. For Martha's Golden Goddess costume, she accentuated her gilded look with a mix of makeup products in ivory white, shimmering gold, bronze, and pinkish brown hues to give her a soft, heavenly glow. Create a shimmery appearance for yourself this Halloween using ivory foundation, white liquid makeup, white loose powder, and gold shimmer eye shadow. As a last touch, apply shimmery light-peach lipstick and top it with just a dash of gold shimmer eye shadow as the highlight.

10 of 10

Ice Queen

ice queen Halloween makeup
Spencer Hayfron

Bring a little brilliance to the "brrr!" look of this ice queen. Starting with a blush brush, apply medium-blue eye shadow under the cheeks, up onto the temple, and down the nose. Brush a little pink blush onto the cheeks. Go over everything with white shadow. With a small brush, apply dark-blue shadow to the upper crease and out half of the eye lid. Apply white shadow to the inner corners of the lids, and dab, smudging out the colors for a shimmering frozen effect.

Cut thin strips of silver card stock, and lightly curl them to mimic eyelashes; mix blue shadow with petroleum jelly for a radiant lip color; and, for extra shine, adhere a few gemstone stickers around the hairline.

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