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Scary Good Makeup Ideas From Instagram to Try This Halloween

Neck-up Halloween masterpieces for pandemic parties.

halloween makeup ideas

Halloween, like, um, literally everything else in this country, is going to look a little different this year. Chances are you won't be crammed shoulder-to-shoulder, jamming out to Monster Mash with your nearest and dearest, bobbing for apples (eek!), or playing that pre-pandemic party game where someone hangs donuts on a string. (Please, no.) So what does that mean for those of us who live for the annual spook-fest? It's a virtual feeding frenzy, honey. Only not the candy kind, the Instagram kind. Our prediction is that this year, all the pageantry heads online. The good news for you is that costumes only need to be neck-up! No overnight shipping charges from Spirit Halloween, just break out your go-to sweats, and get ready to make mischief...on your face.

We've gathered all the inspiration you need to push the limits and rock the most over-the-top looks without being judged. You've got the time and the makeup brushes, and we've got 79 breathtaking spectacles, whether the category is gruesome-but-gorgeous, startling-but-stunning, or creepy-chic. Halloween 2020 is all about Instagram and here's all the inspiration you need to rake in those likes.

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1 The Poison Ivy

Fake vines are essential to this costume, but what makes this makeup look stand out from the others is the bedazzled red lip. Sure it's not practical from an IRL party aspect, but that's why Zoom calls are reigning supreme this year.

2 The Red Riding Hood

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? All right, maybe you aren't anymore, but after spending some quality time in front of your mirror recreating this look, your friends will be.

3 The Love Letter to Hot Wheels

Race on over (sorry/not sorry for that pun) to your eyelids with orange and yellow hues before taking a steady hand to create your version of a checkered black and white finish-line flag.

4 The Out of This World Butterfly

Halloween means pulling out all the stops, so bust out those neons to create this intergalactic butterfly. Bonus points if you add a couple of stick-on gems.

5 The House of Slytherin

Maybe in your dreams, the sorting hat put you in Slytherin, or you're feeling extra scaly, but you can't go wrong with this serpentine makeup concept.

6 The Cheetah-licious

Make yourself the fifth member of the iconic all-girl band from Disney, the Cheetah Girls, with this creation. While the spots might take the spotlight, what you do with the subtle touch of white eyeliner is key.

7 The Haunting Ghost

The best ghost costumes aren't ones that involve a white bed sheet with two holes poked through it. Instead, take some white face paint and create this masterpiece that will have you saying, "Boo!"

8 The Glitch

Here's a futuristic look that doesn't require serious skills. It'll look as if you spent hours on it, but if you're like me, you probably did because #perfectionist. Grab some black, red, teal, and white face paint and get to work.

9 The Wednesday Addams

Pay homage to the princess of Hallow's Eve with this all-black makeup idea. We recommend opting for a matte dark lipstick instead of a gloss to really up the drama.

10 The Angel

Sadly the halo isn't included, but we didn't say anything about wings! This dramatic angelic look rules thanks to winged eyeliner that will have the compliments rolling in all night.

11 The Button-Free Coraline

Always wanted to channel Coraline, but didn't want to deal with the task of creating button eyes? Here you go! Don't forget to use a lip pencil to extend that smile. You'll thank us later.

12 The Spa Day

Make your friends (and yourself) feel all kinds of zen by mimicking this pampered makeup idea. BTW: If drawing the cucumbers on seems intimidating, slide on over to your fridge and feel free to cut up some real ones.

13 The Bat Queen

"It's frickin bats!" Vine quoting-jokes-aside, instead of opting for the predictable bat ears headband look, get cozy with your black eyeliner and create some wings of your own.

14 The Starry-Eyed

You can use this versatile makeup idea for so many costumes! If you're having trouble landing on a character, might we suggest a circus performer, an alien, or a greek goddess?

15 The Sunburnt Pool Day

Pool days, we miss you, just minus the sunburn. Serve up some nostalgia for longer days with this look. All you need to win the at-home costume contest is some red body makeup, shades, and a bikini top.

16 The Bride of Chucky

The world's scariest doll is all grown up! Kinda. Not only is this idea totally do-able, but, if you missed the '90s, you'll finally be able to see what you would look like with those super-thin eyebrows. A win-win, right?

17 The Northern Lights

Leave it to James Charles to render a polar aurora in living color—on his forehead. Blue lipstick and then an appealing swirl of violet, turquoise, black and white is positively celestial.

18 The Head in the Clouds

K, so there's a little going on in post with this image but the basics still stand: A simple (yes simple) streak of rainbow shades across the center of the face, topped off with a dabbing of fluffy clouds.

19 The Electric Storm

🎵Ooh girl, shock me like an electric eel. 🎵Then halo zags of highlighter yellow with pink and blue. Throw on a black hoodie for an electrifying costume.

20 The Pearled Perfection

How to go over-the-top without, like, going over the top? Exaggerated gold cat-eye silhouettes topped off with tiny pearl gems, of course.

21 The Queen Bee

Honey bees are in danger, henny, and James Charles is hitting us with the ultimate advocacy moment. Get into this hive with a steady head, black lipstick, and plenty of falsies.

22 The Autumnal Snow

Real talk: One of the spookiest notions around is what on earth happens to our country this fall and winter. This meeting of the seasons is a cheeky—see what we did there—way to express your solidarity.

23 Cruella de Vil

If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will. Please note the genius of using a makeup brush as an opera-length cigarette holder.

24 The Stitched Side Profile

No one is saying this is easy. What we are saying? It's rather genius and also legit scary. Please be aware no skin was punctured in the creation of this illusion.

25 The Alien Invasion

An alien takeover sounds so much less scary after the 2020 we've had, no? Host this little bb on your face for a extraterrestrial experience.

26 The Red Hot Chili Pepper

Don't dress up like a bottle of sriracha, embody the essence of a bottle of sriracha.

27 The Flower Child

She loves you, she loves you not. A scattering of daisies, black-eyed Susans, and buttercups drift across the bridge of the nose, while a yellow-rimmed cat-eye holds things down.

28 The Lady Leopard

Meow. One of the easiest looks in the batch: Smoke taupe eyes and plenty of leopard spots make a neutral canvas for fiery red lips.

29 The Metallic Medusa

Iridescent snake-scales and delicately placed gems and glitter create a strangely ethereal, endlessly appealing serpentine glow.

30 The Deer

Let's say you're Halloween agnostic, but always end up throwing on some kind of kitty cat costume last-minute. Here's your upgrade: A freckled little fawn.

31 The Plastic Surgery Doll

Add a simple, surgical twist to a glamorous look by sketching out pen markings along your face. To set it off, add a gauze as a head wrap, then head out looking like a doll ready her next cosmetic procedure.

32 The Butterfly Eyes

Here's a dreamy eye that won't take hours to achieve. Instead of opting for the last-minute cat eye and cat ear combo, switch things up with this dreamy exaggerated winged liner look reminiscent of a beautiful butterfly.

33 The Studded Skull Candy

Here's a cheat code: You won't need a costume with a look this stunning. Throw on an all black outfit and let your makeup skills shine through with a rhinestone studded skull candy look.

34 The Wonder Woman Comic

If you really want to get creative, add 2D comic-book details to your 3D costume with pop-art lines, dots, and, of course, a hand-drawn tiara.

35 The Under-Eye Designer Bags

The only acceptable under-eye bags are designer bags, of course. Take this phrase up a notch by playing up your eyes with drawings of your favorite accessories.

36 The Bloodstained Nurse

Fact: A nurse costume will never not be one of the most over-done halloween looks of all time. But you can standout from the crowd by transforming a normal nurse look into a bloody butchered RN instead.

37 Lola from Sharktale

Transforming into Angelina Jolie for Halloween may be a bit of a challenge. But you can at least recreate her sultry and seductive Lionfish character from the animated film Shark Tale.

38 The Glamorized Scarecrow

Show up as a scarecrow, but don't forget to make it glam. Beautify your spooky look with a smoky eye, fluttery lashes and a carved-out brow.

39 The Queen of Hearts

This spooky season, try channeling the larger than life Queen of Hearts character from Disney classic Alice and Wonderland. Go bold with your makeup by creating the Queen's signature blue monolid and red heart-shaped lip.

40 The Devilish Diva

Warning! This smokin' hot red hot look may seduce instead of scaring off bystanders. The sparkly eye is what really sets this look off.

41 The Half-Glam, Half-Skeleton

This skeleton is so fierce. Go half-and-half with your creepy look with a glamorous and skull side.

42 The Ice Princess

Disclaimer: This look requires lots of body paint, but the results are dreamy. After your ice blue paint job is done, handcraft your own crown using Christmas ornaments and complete the makeup look with a silver wig.

43 The Spider Eye

The key to a memorable Halloween look is creativity and the use of illusions. Serve face while creeping everyone out at the same time with a 3D spider eye look like this.

44 The Pop-Art Character

Be your own work of art this halloween season by showing up to the party as a pop art character. Those glitter tears, though.

45 The Bronzed Corpse

Trust us, with this masterpiece everyone will be too shook by your amazing look to be creeped out. Or, even notice that you showed up as a chic corpse.

46 The Tall Glass of Rosé

Summer might be over by Halloween, but that doesn't mean you can't pour yourself a tall glass of Rosé, or simply remember the good times. Make everyone around you tipsy by being a bubbly glass of happy this Halloween.

47 The Fall Foliage

If fall is your favorite time of the year, try this nature-inspired look that represents the earth-tone leaves of the season.

48 The Spider Woman

If you also can't figure out if these spiders are actually crawling off of her face, you aren't alone. Freak everyone out this season with this badass beauty look that'll give onlookers the jitters.

49 The Candy Cane

Christmas is right around the corner, and even though you might not be able to eat a candy cane right now, you can surely pretend to be one. Deck-out your face with red-and-white makeup to get you in the holiday spirit.

50 The Lava Girl

Feeling like this is your hottest year yet? Same. Take your fierceness to the next level and literally embody lava by striking up your chest, neck, and face with a volcanic eruption that'll have everyone shook.

51 All the Likes

Forget about the validation of others and literally give yourself all the likes this year with red and white-painted hearts, crimson brows, and fire-red hair to match. You know what they say: self-love is the best love.

52 The Ice Cream Cone

If you want to drool over your damn self this halloween, please your sweet tooth by being your favorite dessert. Bright pink face makeup, sprinkles, and a glossy fuchsia lip will make you look like the most delectable ice cream cone.

53 The Hot Girl Summer

We fully support the Hot Girl Summer movement at Marie Claire, and if you haven't heard yet: it's a Hot Girl Year. This October, channel your inner-Hot Girl with flaming eyes and a fiery red lip.

54 Maleficent

You can make your favorite childhood movie villain, Maleficent, look super-chic with ultra-violet eyes, bold brows, iridescent highlighter, and berry lips.

55 The Wakanda Forever

The world will be transformed into a living, breathing Wakanda on Halloween night, thanks to the brilliance that was Black Panther. Recreate the vibes with white dots lining your forehead and eyes, along with a white stripe down the middle of your lip.

(Important side note: Before you attempt this look, please make sure that you're not a culturally appropriating jerk this Halloween.)

56 The "I'm Tired of This Shit"

Because your voice most definitely hasn't been heard enough this year, please take this moment to emblazon the word "NO" across your face in protest of, well, pretty much all of 2020.

57 The Crazy Clown

We're still having nightmares from the one time we saw It, but that doesn't mean you can't put your own spin on the creepy clown trope with some smeared eyeliner and overdrawn lipstick.

58 The Raver

A sentient rainbow or a lost Burning Man attendee—you decide.

59 The Edward Scissorhands

Channel Hollywood's most lovable and most terrifying character with a tousled black wig, a belt choker, and some bleached (i.e. foundation-covered) eyebrows. To recreate the scars, try eyelash-gluing strips of rolled-up tissue all over your face before covering them with concealer and foundation.

60 The Pinocchio

Needed: a very steady hand for the drawn-on wood patterns and the décolletage details.

61 The Oompa Loompa

We're not sure what the highlight of this costume is—the green and yellow eyeshadow, the white eyebrows, or the tangerine skin? Regardless, make sure you have some good makeup-removing face wash on hand when the night ends.

62 The Unicorn

Just accept it: Unicorns will never not be a Halloween staple. Luckily, this lowkey look is way less heavy-handed than the usual glitter-soaked variety, making it perfect for beginners (or tipsy pre-gamers).

63 The Ink Blot

Like something straight out of American Horror Story (or your worst Rorschach test nightmare), this runny, inky, spotted look stays elevated with a white lace choker.

64 The Fairy

Live your best fairy life with penciled-on freckles, ultra-long falsies, and an intense, full-face contour using only blush.

65 The Joker

Heath Ledger Joker will always be the one-and-only Joker in our hearts, but we're still feelin' this glamorized version of the villain with its bouffant-level wig and huge smoky eye.

66 The Mermaid

Even though it feels like we've hit peak mermaid and unicorn everything, please feel free to indulge one more time with all of the sparkles and glitter in the world. I mean, it looks damn pretty, amirite?

67 The Bowie

Because, let's be honest, our fascination with Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie will never die.

68 The Mad Hatter

A curly orange wig, brilliant white lashes, and a matte red lip are your keys to re-creating Johnny Depp's iconic Mad Hatter. Try contouring with violet blush for a ghastlier take on the Alice and Wonderland character.

69 The Entire Galaxy

Show the world your importance this Halloween by being the whole damn galaxy, all at once. Place a strip of tape across your forehead before starting to get the crisp line as seen here.

70 The Pop-Art Marilyn

Forget her looks from The Seven Year Itch or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes—if you're going to portray Marilyn Monroe this year, take a graphic, pop-art approach instead. Just don't forget the iconic red lips, okay?

71 The Unattainable Woman

Halloween is the one time of year to really show how you feel inside, right? (Ideally, this would be every day of the year, but hey.) And this look is less costume and more political statement, using the misogynistic labels often thrust upon women in society.

72 The Contour Craze

If you, too, are wondering if society has reached peak contour yet, try asking the world with this exaggerated take on the look. (The answer: Probably not.)

73 The #LoveisLove

Every single day should be a celebration of equal rights, but feel free to show your full support of free love on Halloween with this watercolor rainbow look.

74 The Oil Slick

Please name one thing that's cooler than this neon, oil-slicked rainbow face? Exactly nothing (but it's okay—you tried). Give the look a realistic feel by fading the hues into your hairline with temporary hair paint.

75 The AHS Mattress Lady

If you're an American Horror Story mega-fan, please get inspired by this intricate mattress-lady costume that is fully terrifying and unattainable by anyone outside of a special FX makeup team.

76 The Skull Face

Two things that will never go out of style: a little black dress and some skull makeup. If you're out for scares, throw on your LBD and paint on this hyper-realistic skull.

77 The Human Mosiac

If you're not exactly a makeup whiz, try piecing together a mosaic neckpiece made from magazine cut-outs. Pair it with a deep lip, a thick cat-eye, and a rich contour for a ridiculously pretty Halloween look.

78 The Koan

Sailor Moon shall live inside all of us forever. Honor your childhood love with this take on the youngest Ayakashi sister, painting on a crescent moon, magenta eyeliner, and a gothy plum lip.

79 The Lunar Eclipse

Turn your astrological obsession into a costume with this lunar beauty look: a cat eye, matte black lips, and each phase of the moon painted across your décolletage.

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