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 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 555K images under the #HalloweenNails hashtag. Luckily for you, I've picked out the 31 most eye-catching ideas.
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.
1. Negative Space Webs
Universally accepted as a symbol of Halloween, spider webs have been a go-to design for the most novice of nail artists. This subtle take on the pattern (which features an on-trend ombré of purples) can work with any office setting as well as costume.
2. Gold Drip
Fake blood is to Halloween what fireworks are to the Fourth of July. This dripping manicure is the perfect amount of kitschy and classic.
3. Black Flames
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think Halloween (unless you're a "Hocus Pocus" fanatic), but these black flame nails give off a scary vibe. We love the almond-shaped style and how the curves mimic those of the flames.
I love a good throwback idea. For all your '80s-themed costume needs, look no further than this abstract design by Miss Pop Nails. The manicure is perfect for crafting an easy no-costume-costume (see what I did there?). It's the Halloween version of no-makeup makeup.
5. Statement Stripes
Halloween is the perfect time to throw it back to your favorite retro era. This pink striped '80s-inspired design is the ultimate inspiration.
6. Teeny Skeleton
Feeling spooky but cute? This negative-space skeleton design is worth considering for your Halloween mani. The sugar skull-inspired design will require a steady hand, so you may want to book an appointment for this screenshot-worthy nail look.
7. Gucci Snake
This Gucci-inspired snake manicure by Hang Nguyen (featured on the Nailing Hollywood IG) is almost too good. It's all in the details. We can't stop staring at the shiny translucent lacquered base, the glinting red ribbon of the snake's body, or the itty-bitty split tongue.
8. Textured Black Talons
If you're looking for a festive Halloween manicure that also happens to be office-appropriate, look no further. This stark black nail design has studs that give it a steampunk aesthetic that we're swooning over.
More of a Rolling Stones fan? Take heed from Olive & June. The buzzy L.A. nail salon posted this minimalist (yet surely Mick Jagger-approved) nail art to Instagram.
10. Pop Art
Pop art isn't going to stop inspiring Halloween looks anytime soon. To bring the style's bold and vivid brights onto your nails, cop this look from Olive & June. It's modern and scene-y, just like a buzzy art installation.
11. In Stitches
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?"
12. Red Rum
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) to create the thin blood-red border. It's darkly romantic, and we're nothing short of obsessed.
13. Groovy Baby
Celebrity manicurist Mar y Sol Inzerillo created this nail look, and it's seriously wooing our tie-dye hearts over. With a '70s vibe that shows off all the bright colors, these nails transport us right to a groovy music festival.
14. Black Details
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.
15. Mermaid Moves
These detailed mermaid-themed nails are seriously impressive, with amazingly intricate scales to boot. Created by manicurist Sarah Thompson of Chalkboard Nails, this design is sending our imagination under the sea.
16. Lunar Lewk
Feeling a little out of sync this Halloween? It could be because of the phases of the moon. Reminiscent of a werewolf, this artistic creation is truly genius, and Halloween color-appropriate might we add. The artist behind this creation, Betina Goldstein, hand-painted every detail. Now that's impressive.
17. Blood Ombré
If you can't decide what to be for Halloween, let this easy-to-recreate nail art idea be your guide—the simple red ombré gives off serious vampire and evil witch vibes. What's more, the strategically-placed crystals only add to the drama of the simple nail look.
18. Floral Accents
Betina Goldstein is giving us the simple nail look of our dreams, with gold and amber floral accents. The combination is another that creates the image of sugar skulls in our minds. It is perfect for any setting, and the fall-inspired colors are just what we need for the upcoming season.
19. Chanel Tips
These beaded nails serve as a reminder that even the most beauty-heavy holidays can still be chic. Channel your inner socialite with this mani that gives off major Chanel vibes.
20. Lightning Strike
Electric and smokey, we can't tell whether or not to be scared or entranced by this nail art. The vibe screams haunted woods, and the color scheme is perfect for a night of trick-or-treating, as well as partying with your friends.
21. Fall Foliage
This abstract marble effect reminds us of the fall foliage that is sure to be covering the sidewalks this Halloween. The mirror-like shine captures your attention and adds to the beauty of the overall look. Your friends will ask how you managed to conjure up this design.
22. Coming Up Daisies
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 '90s-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.
23. Matte Marble
Gray tones pair with gold and marble accents for a chic and creative Halloween-ready mani. If you're new to nail art and want something different but aren't ready for something more dramatic, this look is perfect for you.
24. All Eyes on You
Nail artist Cassandre Marie shows us that the evil eye can be worn on your fingertips well beyond October with this rose gold look. The minimalistic details and fun pop of golden sparkle contribute to the beauty of this simple design.
25. Blue Ombré
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 middle finger ties the entire look together, making the manicure a total conversation starter.
26. Abstract Chrome
These nails, which were created by OPI North America education manager 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 lightnin'" all the way home.
27. Fruity Details
Keep it sweet and simple with these miniature fruit nails designed by nail artist Alicia Torello. They are arguably the cutest nail look we've ever seen. Will you opt for watermelons, oranges, and kiwis, as done here, or choose different fruits altogether?
28. Teeny Spiders
These tiny spiders are so good they're scary. Manicurist Madeline Poole created the tiny little guys that are so realistic we're officially spooked. But, since it's certainly better to have them painted on your nails than covered in a swarm of real-life spiders, they're a perfect seasonal pick for Halloween.
29. Realistic Spiders
Speaking of spiders, if you want to take it to a whole new creepy level, copy this negative space manicure that looks like actual spiders crawling over your nails.
30. Siren Tips
This mystical, metallic manicure resembles a magical potion that could very well keep us in eternal youth forever. And, with black, purple, and holographic witchy siren vibes, who knows what kind of magic you'll find yourself stirring up.
31. Doodle Digits
Here we have another Olive & June creation that proves just how fun a Halloween manicure can be. The punchy-orange accent nails get balanced with the neutral tones of the rest of the manicure. Plus, the nail art on the rest of the fingers speaks to the festivities without being obvious.
Next up: discover the fall nail designs that are about to earn you countless likes.