35 Halloween Nail Designs for the Costume-Averse

Updated 08/17/19

There are two types of people in this world: Those who gear up for Halloween weeks beforehand, prepping realistic and extravagant costumes, and those who leave the costume planning to the last minute (or don't partake in the dress-up at all). I belong to the second category. While I love seeing the big and bold costumes other people wear, I personally prefer subtler ways of celebrating Halloween, whether it's wearing my favorite striped socks (à la the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz), going a bit darker and more dramatic with my everyday makeup, or turning to festive Halloween nail designs.

As for the latter, the obvious place to look to for inspiration is Instagram. With so many expert nail artists 'Gramming their work, the options are endless... I mean that literally, too. There are over 371K images under the #HalloweenNails tag. Luckily for you, I've picked out the 35 best ones (at least in my humble opinion). Keep scrolling to see the best Halloween nail designs on Instagram, whether you're going for spooky-chic, pop culture-pertinent, or candy-coated colorful.

Crime scene-inspired nails

Mei Kawajiri is a celebrity nail artist and design extraordinaire. Her Instagram account is basically a treasure trove of nail inspiration. Take these crime scene tape nails, for instance. They're edgy, super detailed, and Halloween-chic. 

Dripping blood nails

Fake blood is to Halloween what fireworks are to the Fourth of July. This dripping manicure, also by Kawajiri, is the perfect amount of kitschy and classic.

Lisa Frank-inspired nails

Remember how I said there would also be pop culture-relevant designs peppered in with the classic spooky stuff? Behold: Lisa Frank-inspired nails. Every '90s kid will look fondly on this ombre leopard design, courtesy of Kawajiri. Pair this mani with a matching scrunchie (and maybe a classic Lisa Frank school folder, if you can find one), and you have a complete costume. It's not bold or extravagant; it's subtle and nostalgic.

Strawberry nails

I'm not quite done with the throwback ideas yet. For all your fruit-themed costume possibilities (modern day Strawberry Shortcake, perhaps?), look no further than Kawajiri's strawberry design. This manicure is perfect for crafting an easy no-costume-costume...See what I did there? It's the Halloween version of no-makeup makeup.

Bowie-inspired nails

There's never a bad time to channel your favorite music icon, though Halloween seems especially right. For the costume-averse, do that by creating rock/pop star nail art. Kawajiri shows everyone how it's done with these David Bowie-inspired nails. 

Victorian-inspired nails

These coffin-shaped nails by Naomi Yasuda give us dark, Victorian vibes. We imagine it's the exact manicure that Wednesday Addams would ask for once she struck out on her own and began a career in fashion. 

Flame Nails

Yasuda created this fiery nail design at Kenzo's Fall/Winter 2018 Men and Women show in Paris. If it's stylish enough for Paris Fashion Week, then it's definitely stylish enough for our Halloween festivities. 

Glitter nails

Did someone say Studio 54? Yasuda's silver holographic glitter design has us yearning to adopt a '70s disco-inspired attitude this Halloween (even if we're not down to wear bell bottoms and shag fur coats). 

Snake Nails

This chrome snake manicure by Yasuda is almost too good. It's all in the details. We can't stop staring at the shiny black lacquered base, the glinting silver ribbon of the snake's body, or the red eyes and tongue. 

Harlequin Nails

If you're looking for a festive Halloween manicure that also happens to be office appropriate, look no further. This stark black and white harlequin pattern, also by Yasuda, checks both boxes.

More of a Rolling Stones fan? Take heed from Olive & June, the buzzy L.A. nail salon which posted this minimalist (yet surely Mick Jagger-approved) nail art to Instagram. 

Pop art isn't going to stop inspiring Halloween looks anytime soon. Bring those bold and vivid brights onto your nails with a design like this, which is also from Olive & June. It's modern and scene-y, just like a buzzy art installation. 

Alicia Torello is an editorial manicurist based in NYC. Her designs are colorful and varied, ranging from maximalist to minimalist in nature. These stitch nails belong to the latter category. They're chic, doll-like, and just a little bit off-kilter. In other words, they're perfect for Halloween. Do they remind anyone else of the movie Coraline

This manicure is simplicity at its best. Torello created the look for a Rodarte runway show using OPI products. More specifically, she used the Infinite Shine Polish in Raisin The Bar ($13) and We're In The Black ($13). It's darkly romantic. We're obsessed.

Celebrity manicurist Mar y Sol created this nail look, and it's seriously wooing our tie-dye hearts over. With a 70's vibe that shows off all the bright colors, they transport us right to a groovy music festival.

The clean lines paired with black and white tones make this nail design just witchy enough. Nail artist Elizabeth Garcia created this manicure look leaving us questioning how she ever got those lines so straight and perfect.

These detailed outer-space themed nails are seriously impressive, with amazingly intricate constellation replicas to boot. Created by Meghann Rosales, these designs are certainly sending our imagination into orbit.

Paisley inspired nails? Yes please. Reminiscent of a bandana, this artistic creation is truly genius, and Halloween color appropriate might we add. The artist behind this creation, Kazmira Emery, hand painted every detail. Not that's impressive.

Excuse us while we pick our jaws up off the floor, over this whole pink ombré situation. The range of color is addicting to look at, not to mention the perfectly pointed shape and length. It has us wondering, how many color combinations could we create with this nail inspo? Mind blown.

Nail artist Etsuko Coco Shimatani is giving us the matte nail look of our dreams, with gold and amber foil accents. The combination of matte and shiny, along with the fall inspired colors are just what we need for the upcoming fall season.

Aren't these Pika Pokemon nails created by Michelle Humphrey the cutest thing you've ever seen?! Each nail features a different design of the beloved character, making this manicure the perfect inspiration for anyone Pokemon obsessed.

If you're an art lover, these Picasso inspired nails created by Mimi will have you reeling over how similar they are to the late painter's work. With a muted color background, all of the focus is on the delicate line-drawn faces.

A cloud filled spooky sky, these nails by Cambria are perfectly Halloween themed in every way possible. With the yellow moon and flying bats, you might want to stay inside where it's safe and admire this manicure.

Japanese nail artist Shigeko Taylor who is known for working with clients such as Camila Cabello and Solange, created the perfect floral manicure for anyone who loves daisies. A 90's throwback to the most popular flower found on every dress and strappy tank top, these cute yellow and white daisies are perfect for medium length nails.

The marble accent on these nails paired with grey tones are chic and creative all in one. If you're new to nail design and want something different but aren't ready for something more dramatic, this look is absolutely perfect for you.

These sweet ice cream nails will bring out the confectionary lover in anyone, with brightly colored sprinkles and pastel hues. Nail artist Queenie Nguyen created this nail art with the perfectly pointed shape, leaving us dying to have this very design on our own nails, pretty please with a cherry on top.

Here's looking at you, kid. With custom matte shades of blue designed by Japanese nail artist Mami, these nails certainly have our attention. A detailed eye on each hand ties the entire look together, making them a total conversation starter.

These nails created by Sigourney B. Nuñez are inspired by chrome plated rods you see on a motorcycle or hot rod. Genius. After one look, you'll be singing "go grease lightning" all the way home.

Keep it sweet and simple with these miniature fruit nails designed by Alicia Torello that are seriously the cutest we've ever seen. Watermelons, oranges and kiwis are so thoughtfully executed here, it makes us wonder which fruit you'd choose?

These tiny little spiders are so good, they're scary! Manicurist Madeline Poole created these tiny little guys that are so realistic, we're officially spooked. Better to have them painted on your nails than a swarm of real life spiders, they're a perfect seasonal pick for Halloween.

Inspired by a walk in the park (or a garden party) these floral nails are beautiful in the most simple way. With details of butterflies over a fresh nude nail polish, the execution by Chelsea King is flawless.

This is a nail creation you can really sink your teeth into. With vampire mouths and deep, dark spider webs, you'll be set for any Halloween party you come across.

Mystical and metallic, this manicure resembles some kind of magical potion that might keep us in eternal youth. With witchy vibes of black, purple and holographic sequins, who knows what kind of magic you'll find yourself stirring up.

Aliens, jack-o-lanterns, and spiderwebs...oh my! Display your favorite creepy and crawly things about Halloween on your nails for a versatile variation of artistic creations. If you love creating new designs for your nails, there's so many design and color combinations you can do for Halloween making it that much more fun.

If you find yourself wanting to express your fashion forward self this Halloween, go ahead and rock these Gucci nails inspired by the brand's signature logo and patterns. It doesn't stop there, you can take any designer brand you love and create something based on what suits your style the most.

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