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 ya 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 77 breathtaking spectacles, whether the category is gruesome but gorgeous, startling but stunning, or creepy chic. Halloween 2020 is all about Instagram, bay bay, and here’s all the inspiration you need to rake in those likes.
The Out of This World Butterfly
The Button-Free Coraline
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Red Hot Chili Pepper
Don’t dress up like a bottle of sriracha, embody the essence of a bottle of sriracha.
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.
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.
The Metallic Medusa
Iridescent snake-scales and delicately placed gems and glitter create a strangely ethereal, endlessly appealing serpentine glow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Half-Glam, Half-Skeleton
This skeleton is so fierce. Go half-and-half with your creepy look with a glamorous and skull side.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can make your favorite childhood movie villain, Maleficent, look super-chic with ultra-violet eyes, bold brows, iridescent highlighter, and berry lips.
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.)
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.
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.
A sentient rainbow or a lost Burning Man attendee—you decide.
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.
Needed: a very steady hand for the drawn-on wood patterns and the décolletage details.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
Because, let’s be honest, our fascination with Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie will never die.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io