These Are the 10 Best Halloween Nail Polishes, Hands Down

woman with orange makeup and orange nail polish


The easiest way to make your beauty routine more festive is by painting your nails with holiday-approved colors. For winter holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, that means opting for shades of blue, white, and red (and don't forget about glittery shades or metallics like silver and gold). For Thanksgiving, that means painting your nails with autumnal colors that are reminiscent of a harvest; we're talking about copper, mocha brown, orange, and berry. But let's back up. After all, it's not even Halloween yet (although it is close at hand), which means we're still focused on the spookier side of the nail polish spectrum. 

While there are countless versions of black, blood red, and other Halloween-appropriate polishes, we're only concerned with the prettiest, glossiest, and most opaque. Keep scrolling to see our 10 favorite Halloween nail colors, because October 31 happens every year. 

Red Nail Polish

Rapid Red Insta-Dri Nail Polish
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in ASAP Apple $4

Red is probably the most classic nail polish ever, and for good reason. Depending on the shade you choose, it works all year round, no matter the season, temperature, or situation. For Halloween, we like blood red shades like this one from Sally Hansen. It's a part of the brand's Insta-Dri collection, which means you can swipe it on your nails right before heading out on October 31, and you'll incur zero color transfer or smudges. 

Ella + Mila Holiday Fling Nail Polish $11

I've had this polish on my fingertips for a week and a half, and it's only now starting to chip. After two coats, the deep wine color will appear black in low light, only to reveal a blood red undertone when exposed to bright light. This color-shifting quality makes it a new favorite. 

Essie Berry Naughty Nail Polish $9

This Essie polish is like a combination of the two above it. It's perfect for people who don't like their nail polish to be too bright or too dark. Sure, it's a deep merlot shade, but it's not quite deep enough to cancel out the radiant red tones that make it shine in a sinister way.

Black Nail Polish

JINsoon Absolute Black Nail Polish $18

Byrdie's editorial director, Faith, names this inky Jinsoon polish as one of her all-time autumn favorites. "This new polish from Jinsoon's Monochrome collection is the inkiest, shiniest black nail polish I've ever seen, which makes it perfect for moody fall days," she says. Is there anything more appropriate for Halloween than a dramatic black color

Butter London Glazen Peel-Off Glitter Lacquer in Black Magic $12

Glitter polish removal is a long and arduous process. That's where Butter London comes in. The brand has created a peel-off glitter polish, so there's no acetone required to get it off. Just pick at the edges until you get a piece big enough to pull. That's it. It's easy and extremely satisfying. Plus, your nails will look dark and alluring thanks to a dark charcoal base and fine silver shimmer come Halloween (it is, after all, called Black Magic).

Orange Nail Polish

Smith & Cult Tang Bang Nail Lacquer $18

This is our favorite of all of Smith & Cult's new nail polish shades, although it's worth checking out the whole range (specifically a gorgeous shimmery crimson shade called The Message, $18). Meet Tang Bang, which is an opaque burnt orange. It's so on the theme for Halloween, and it's so delightfully '70s.

Essie Say It Ain't Soho Nail Polish $9

Thanks to the super-shimmery finish, this polish called Say It Ain't Soho, comes alive with a fiery reflection when it's exposed to sunlight. There's not much else I can say other than go buy it. (Make sure you check out the rest of Essie's collection, too.)

Tenoverten Cliff Nail Polish $12

If you prefer neutrals and earth tones, then you'll love this Halloween-appropriate rust color from Tenoverten, a brand that creates nontoxic nail polishes that are free from eight harmful chemicals found in other brands' formulations. These polishes can also boast that they're completely vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

Purple Nail Polish

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark Nail Polish $9

OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark is an iconic shade. It's equal parts blood red, plum purple, and inky black. It all depends on the light you're in. This vampy shade has been a personal favorite for years. It's also a favorite of Byrdie's assistant editor, Maya, who says, "I don't think a single fall has gone by without Lincoln Park After Dark on my nails. It's the sultriest purple shade I've ever met and I feel like a complete badass when I'm wearing it. I love deep nail colors against my dark skin. This is the shiniest, most opaque one I've found, and it doesn't chip for days. I've gone through about five bottles, and I barely paint my own nails. So, yeah, the love is real."

Côte No. 90 Nail Polish $18

For a true witchy purple, try this shade, simply called No. 90, from Côte. The brand is a regular around the Byrdie office since it's non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free. That means that even though your manicure will look dark and sinister, the ingredients in the nail polish won't be. 

Next, check out 15 Halloween nail designs for the costume-averse. 

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