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6 Creepy Halloween Makeup Tips That Will Totally Freak Out the Neighbors

Whatever happened to the days when Halloween was actually supposed to be scary? The ghost, goblins, witches and ghouls that used to roam our streets on Oct. 31st have been replaced with sexy nurses, (non-frightening) movie characters and super elaborate costumes that are cool — but totally not scary.

We’re here to bring back the fright and invite you to join us. All it takes is a little makeup and these quick tips that will have you well on your way to scaring the crap out of your neighbors

1. Base

Vampire makeup
Image: totiredtothinkofanythingfunny/Imgur

A base of makeup will help your colors go on smoothly and stay in place long enough to get through a Halloween party or a long night of trick-or-treating. Instead of paying for expensive makeup bases from Halloween stores, try using your regular foundation. If you’re going to cover your face with another color, no one will even know the first layer is there. If you want to look pale — for a vampire or zombie costume, for example — use a foundation that’s a few shades lighter than your normal color. To add a slight tint to the base layer, mix an eyeshadow of your selected shade into liquid foundation. Do the mixing on the back of your hand, not in the bottle or on your face, and apply the makeup with a sponge to get even coverage.

More: An Adorable Skeleton Mani Is Yours With This Halloween Nail Design Tutorial

2. Outline

Steam punk makeup
Image: sara le dapperfish/Flickr

Outline your entire face before you color anything in. This way, if you realize it’s not going to work, it’ll be much easier to get rid of what you’ve done so far. Try using colored eyeliner instead of makeup pencils; they smudge less and have better staying power. You can probably find some in great colors at a low price at a grocery or drug store. There’s no need to go with a big name brand for just one night.

3. Eyes

Skeleton on Halloween
Image: aliceharry001/Imgur

The eyes are the windows to the soul, and on Halloween, they’re the key to your costume. Focus on your eyes when you apply your makeup, because that’s usually the first place people look. Take extra time applying makeup in that area, and consider using temporary colored contacts if they suit your costume. If you’re going to be a fairy or other mythical creature, all you may need is color and maybe a few crystal tattoos around your eyes.

Next Up: Blood

Originally published September 2011. Updated September 2017.

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