There are three types of people in this world: those who gear up for Halloween weeks beforehand, prepping realistic and extravagant costumes; those who leave the costume planning to the last minute, and those don't partake in dress-up at all.
As fun as big and bold costumes are, there are also subtler ways of celebrating Halloween, whether it's wearing your favorite striped socks à la the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, going a bit darker and more dramatic with your everyday makeup, or turning to festive Halloween at-home manicures.
As for the latter, the obvious place to look for inspiration is Instagram. With so many amateur and expert nail artists 'gramming their work, the options are endless (we mean that literally, too). Luckily for you, we've picked out the 31 most eye-catching ideas. From minimalist webs and matte black details to Beetlejuice-inspired stripes and metallic mermaid scales, you'll find a Halloween mani you'll be stoked to wear come October 31.
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. Plus, all you need to bring it to life is a toothpick and the polish of your choice.
Fake blood is to Halloween what fireworks are to the Fourth of July. This dripping manicure is the perfect amount of kitschy and classic. To DIY, use a toothpick with a hefty drop of polish on the end. Dollop it on your nail and lightly draw it towards the cuticle to create the drip appearance.
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. To craft your flames, use a toothpick or polish pen to outline your flame and then gently fill it in.
We 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. It's the Halloween version of no-makeup makeup.
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.
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. To create the signature matte finish, top your favorite black polish off with a matte topcoat, like OPI Nail Treatment Matte Top Coat ($9).
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. Given the design is super intricate, your best bet might be to find a nail sticker to nail the look.
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. Best of all, dots of all sizes are super simple to create.
Alicia Torello is an editorial manicurist based in NYC, and her designs are colorful and varied, ranging from maximalist to minimalist in nature. These easy-to-recreate 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 ($13) in Raisin The Bar to create the thin blood-red border. It's darkly romantic, and we're nothing short of obsessed.
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. Our guess is nail striping tape, like China Glaze's Nail Art Striping Tape ($15).
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. To DIY, try using scale sticker stencils, like these from Etsy.
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.
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 (which can be created with a sponge and layered polish) 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.
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. Plus, it's easier to create than her other skull creation, as, when you look closely, it's just lines and dots.
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—and they're easy to DIY.
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. Also, since it features just two accent nails, it won't be too difficult to do yourself.
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. To perfect the eye shape, trace an arch above your cuticle and fill it in with white polish before topping it off with an iris and pupil.
Keep it sweet and simple with these miniature fruit bowl nails designed by nail artist Alicia Torello. Will you opt for watermelons, oranges, and kiwis, as done here, or choose different fruits altogether? Whichever you choose, just be sure to take your time with the designs, as they're super intricate.
This mystical, metallic manicure resembles a magical potion that could very well keep us in eternal youth forever. (They'll also keep you in a nail salon for around an hour to bring them to life.) And, with black, purple, and holographic witchy siren vibes, who knows what kind of magic you'll find yourself stirring up.
Here we have another Olive & June creation that proves just how fun a Halloween manicure can be. Punchy-orange accent nails get balanced with the neutral tones of the rest of the manicure. Plus, the nail art (which are actually stickers) on the rest of the fingers speaks to the festivities without being obvious.