If you're like us, you concentrate most of your Halloween effort on your makeup look. It's not that we don't like costumes—we just prefer channeling our favorite pop culture icons through creative beauty looks made with cosmetics we already have on hand. Take your basic black eyeliner, for example. It can double as face paint to draw on cat whiskers, a jack o' lantern grin, or Night of the Living Dead–style zombie skin. Our strategy saves us time and money, and best of all, it makes for beauty looks that are a bit more original.
One thing we've found over the years? Some of the best Halloween makeup looks keep the focus on the eyes in order to really pop. Whether you're trying to channel a specific time period or person, keep scrolling to see 18 hauntingly gorgeous Halloween eye makeup looks you'll be dying to wear come October 31.
Glow Stick Skull
Let a glow stick serve as inspiration for this elevated skull look. We won't tell you it's the easiest look to recreate, but the effect is one of the most eye-catching.
'60s Pop Art Eyes
Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes is the expert behind this gorgeous masterpiece of eye makeup, which Rosie Huntington-Whiteley showcased on her beauty website, Rose Inc. The bright blue, pink, and yellow hues are exaggerated by the graphic cat eye liner. We're completely obsessed.
'70s Disco Eyes
With Kaia Gerber's '70s disco queen costume, the shiny wig and sequin top are pretty spectacular, but the most important detail (in our humble opinion) is her starry silver eye makeup. If you look closely, you can see the individual silver star sequins glued to the inner corners.
Dramatic '80s Eyes
Kaia Gerber makes the list again, and for good reason. This time it's for the ultra-'80s purple eye shadow she wore on the Anna Sui runway. All you need to achieve this look for yourself is some pigmented plum shadow.
Early 2000s Eyes
Loved Hailey Bieber's 2021 multi-part Halloween tribute to Britney Spears? We did, too. Her glowing skin and glossy lips were pretty standard (and true to her minimalist, radiant aesthetic), providing the perfect base for the '00s-inspired smoky eye. The key is to use a monochromatic blend of charcoal and black shadows, making sure the color stays the most concentrated along the lash line.
Rock N' Roll Eyes
Adorn your face with black face paint and dark lipstick to channel the famed '80s band Kiss. Depending on which band member you become, you only need a single shade of face paint (okay, and maybe a stencil).
Minimalist Orange Eyes
If you want to channel the Halloween spirit but you're not into dramatic eye makeup looks, take inspiration from the above minimal orange eyeshadow moment. It can be worn year-round, but it's especially apt for October. We'll never say no to a statement color.
The only term we could think of to describe this look (by Katie Jane Hughes) was "wildflower eyes." The shadow is bright, springy, and varied, just like a hillside covered in wildflowers. Is this making anyone want to dress up as a flower this year?
Vampire Diva Eye Makeup
This fierce look is equal parts vampire and '80s diva, and it has majorly inspired our Halloween plans.
Yes, Pat McGrath did it again. She created an otherworldly makeup look by winging out dramatic blue eyeliner and adding plenty of sparkle throughout. Try using the Blitz Blue shade of her Mothership I: Subliminal Eyeshadow Palette ($128). Believe us—you'll want to use this palette far past Halloween.
Mardi Gras Eyes
The rich jewel-toned eye shadow here reminds us of Mardi Gras celebrations in the best way. Pair the look with bold metallic accessories and a velvety matte complexion to give it a rock 'n' roll vibe.
Cleopatra lids are all about geometric lines and bold color, which is far from boring. Simply swipe a sparkly gold eyeshadow atop your lids and a matte turquoise shade beneath your lower lash line. For added drama, draw on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script with your favorite black liner.
We love this look because it's truly versatile. You don't have to dress as a bat to rock this winged look: It's festive enough to sport just because and gives Halloween vibes without overdoing it.
Sure, spooky costumes aren't everyone's cup of tea, but this glam-gore hybrid is so good, and we're definitely adding this to our archives. To achieve the blood-like splatter, beauty vlogger Taylor Bee used Custom Body Art's Red Face Paint Makeup.
Daddy Long Leg Spider Eyes
Warning: This may freak out all the arachnophobes out there, but these spider eyes are so mesmerizing. The key to making the spider legs look realistic: shadowing and small dabs of orange liquid liner.
Green with Envy Eyes
There's something about green makeup that just screams Halloween. It's unique enough to stand on its own, and we can assure you people will be too busy swooning over your standout makeup to care what your costume is supposed to be. Sounds like a win-win in our book: Try this toned-down look to complement any ethereal costume.
Vicious Villain Eyes
This might be the easiest eye look we've found, making it a definite go-to when you make that last-minute decision to attend the party your friends have been begging you to come to for weeks. The key to getting smooth, even lines is an easy-to-glide eye pencil.
Gone are the days when animal costumes are dependent on furry ears alone. These graphic lines are reminiscent of both tribal traditions and feline markings, taking a fierce traditional costume to the next level. Feline, but make it fashion.