17 Epic Halloween Makeup Tutorials (No Costume Necessary)

clown makeup

 @lunarlooks_

It’s an understatement to point out that Halloween will look a little bit different this year. While packed bars and events filled with dressed-up cowboys, fairies, mermaids, and cats seem to be mostly out of the question, Zoom Halloween parties are dominating our calendars. It’s not exactly your bestie’s big annual bash, but a virtual hang does mean one excellent thing: your makeup can be the star of the show, no costume necessary. 

If a full-fledged costume isn’t your bag, it’s understandable -- especially if you’re only shown from the chest up. This year, let makeup be your costume. We searched all corners of the internet to bring you nine of the coolest makeup looks for whatever form your Halloween takes this year and for all skill levels. Recreate them exactly or put your own spin on the looks (glitter goes with everything, right?) for a face-only costume worthy of a thousand screenshots. 

Scroll on to check out the very best makeup-only looks for Halloween 2020, the scariest year yet. 

Clowns Of All Kinds

Remember late 2016 when there were those terrifying clown sightings on college campuses across America? And we thought, “Surely this is the weirdest a year can be?” Yeah, me too. The thing about clown makeup is you can take it in any direction you want: Cute? Evil? Minimalist? There’s a tutorial for you no matter the style. Here are two of our favorites from both ends of the effort spectrum: See a maximalist version by beauty influencer Aaliyah Jay above.

If you don’t feel totally ready to take on a full-fledged face makeover, try a minimalist version that reads a little more Marcel Marceau than Pennywise:

Your Own Star Sign

If you’ve been sitting on a super colorful eyeshadow palette but have yet to put it to the test, now’s the perfect opportunity. Use color, glitter, rhinestones, and more to create a shimmering intergalactic look that’s uniquely you: your own zodiac sign. From arrow-pierced Sagittarius to fiery Aries, this is one your friends will wish they thought of first. And if you're a Capricorn, you can pull inspiration from Salem Shimkonis' Instagram-worthy look.

Wednesday Addams

She’s smart, sassy, and sinister—why wouldn’t you want to be Wednesday for Halloween? Not only is the makeup look and signature braids instantly recognizable, but you can recreate your own Wednesday look using products you probably already have in your makeup stash. Take notes from this tutorial by beauty vlogger Daisy Marquez.

Animated Tim Burton Characters

Already trending thanks to a viral Tim Burton Tik Tok challenge (seen above done by Luisa Wiskow), take it to the next level with makeup looks inspired by Coraline, Sally, and Corpse Bride. Watch beauty vlogger Annie Thomas for tips on how to flawless execute the latter.

Nancy from “The Craft”

One of the most iconic characters to ever occupy the teen and horror movie space, Nancy’s look, attitude, and one-liners make her the perfect Halloween inspiration. And with the release of a long-anticipated sequel this week, Nancy’s relevant as ever. Check out beauty vlogger Lesley Marie's tutorial above for everything you need to get the look. We are the weirdos, mister. 

Scarecrow 

It’s a classic for a reason: you can put in a ton of effort or none at all and everyone will still know who you are. Like clowns, there are a million different directions you could take your scarecrow look, from over-the-top scary to adorably minimalist to full-on glam: 

Beetlejuice 

It’s showtime! Technically another Tim Burton but occupying a league of his own, put a glamorous twist on the ancient poltergeist with this step-by-step tutorial by Keilidh Mua.

You may want to channel the goth-obsessed Lydia from the film played by Winona Ryder. There's a tutorial for that too courtesy of Bacardi and beauty influencer Ashley Yaniz who drew inspiration from a spooky libation.

Little Devil

What better excuse to act a little naughty on Saturday? 2020 makeup artists are bringing chic new interpretations to the classic standby, and the results are breathtaking. We couldn’t even blame you if you wanted to wear this well into next week. Or even next month, for that matter.

Doll Makeup

Red-haired woman wearing doll-themed makeup
Byrdie / Justin Coit

What better occasion to don fake freckles than Halloween? With a pop of pink lipstick and super-long lashes, you’ll be all set to tell people you’re a doll (duh). Check out our step-by-step doll makeup tutorial.

Mermaid Makeup

All you need for this ethereal look is blue eye shadow, shimmer, and blue lipstick. We love the mesmerizing final effect from this look by beauty vlogger Alatorre.

Baby Fawn

What’s cuter than a baby deer? Few things, which is why you should channel one for Halloween this year. This Halloween makeup tutorial will help!

Ziggy Stardust

Brunette-haired woman wearing Ziggy Stardust-themed makeup
Nasty Gal

The go-to for costume-less cool girls everywhere, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust is the easiest look to pull off. All you need is some face paint and well-placed Scotch tape. Click here for the step-by-step tutorial.

Betty Boop

YouTuber Kandee Johnson as Betty Boop
Kandee Johnson

Betty Boop is surprisingly easy to pull off, thanks to this detailed tutorial by Kandee Johnson. Now go dig that red dress out of the depths of your closet.

Flapper Girl

Channel a flapper girl with a swipe of red lipstick, soft brown shadow, and a matte complexion. We love this Halloween makeup tutorial by Teni Panosian.

Pop-Art Makeup

Give yourself plenty of time to turn yourself into a pop-art masterpiece. The result will be worth it. We promise.

K-Pop Star

Everyone has a K-pop star inside of them just waiting to get out (or so we say). Glam it up with a dramatic wing, fluttery lashes, and bright pop of pink lip gloss, and then just grab your nearest mic and silver hot pants.

Cleopatra

Woman dressed as Cleopatra
MsRoshPosh

To pull off a look worthy of the queen of the Nile, we suggest loading up on gold accessories. But if all else fails, some thick kohl liner (we suggest Stila’s Smudge Kajal Eyeliner, $20), turquoise shadow, and gold glitter should do the trick. We love this mesmerizing Halloween makeup tutorial courtesy of gorgeous vlogger MsRoshPosh.

Want more? Here are 13 last-minute Halloween looks that only require glitter.

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