Halloween may be just a week away, but if you’re anything like us, then you’re probably still pulling together an outfit. There’s no need to feel freaked about it though; with a bit of creative thinking and macabre makeup, you’ll be a Hallow-Queen in no time. So, whether you’re heading for a ghouls’ night out or hosting a haunted house party, avoid the tricks and treat yourself to some seriously stylish threads this Halloween.

Day of the Dead (Good)

One of the most popular Halloween costumes in recent years has to be the sugar skull. As one of the main hallmarks of Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) – a Mexican holiday celebrated at the start of November – the sugar skull has become a go-to for last-minute Halloweeners who are handy with their makeup brushes.

Rooted in Aztec ritual, Día de los Muertos actually has nothing to do with the spooks and hauntings of Halloween. It’s a time when families gather together to honour the passing of their loved ones. It’s not so much about mourning as it is about celebrating the person ‘like you would a birthday,’ says Mexican-American face-painter (and Instagram-favourite) Judith Bautista (aka Kahlovera). During this time, richly decorated sugar skulls are placed at altars (called ofrendas) in people’s homes, as families honour their dead relatives over the course of two days. There are edible (sugar) and non-edible versions of the sugar skull – the latter is usually made out of clay – though both types are always beautifully decorated.

So, if you want to pay homage to this legendary Latin American holiday, throw on your floral crown and get artsy with a liquid liner pen; paint hearts, flowers and other decorative designs across your forehead and cheeks, and create a ‘hollow eye’ look with face paint or eyeshadow.

Too Hot to Handle

If there’s a time to let your devilish side come out, it’s during Halloween. A devil costume may not capture the zeitgeist in quite the same way as, say Katie Perry’s (frankly amazing) 2016 Hilary Clinton costume (after all, it’s been over 40 years since The Exorcist came out), but this tried-and-tested get-up is ideal if you’re looking for fuss-free Halloween prep.

Unsurprisingly, you really need to be wearing red for this to work. Keep it simple with a statement red dress, playsuit or jumpsuit and accessorise with some trusty horns.

Blushing (Zombie) Bride

The zombie costume has seen plenty of iterations over the past few years, though none have remained quite as popular as the zombie bride. The best thing about it, is that you can go as big or as subtle as you want; fancy going all-out in a billowing, Miss Havisham-esq dress that puts Lindsay’s Mean Girls zombie bride to shame? Go for it.

If you’ve got considerably less time to find your perfect undead bride’s dress though, you can just as easily achieve the look with a standard cream lace dress and some ghoulish makeup. For a blood curdling finish, splatter some red paint on your dress beforehand (or don’t, if you want to wear it again).

Zombie Bride Makeup Tutorial:

  1. Apply a white foundation or face paint all over your face and blend into your décolletage. For a subtler take on pasty-white, mix white foundation into your usual shade.
  2. Contour in your cheekbones and the sides of your forehead with a charcoal grey eyeshadow or face paint.
  3. Taking a raspberry or plum-coloured shadow, apply to the inner corner of your eyes, brushing downwards and under to create a hollowed look (you’re meant to look undead, not healthy!). Using the same colour, continue the line from your inner eyes upwards, so that you’ve drawn in a C shape around each eye. Then lightly dust the lid with your shadow.
  4. Apply a dark brown (almost black) eyeshadow underneath the lash line with a smudge brush. Then blend into the inner corners of each eye and up to the crease of your lids. Add depth by blending this darker colour into your first shadow, around the front of the brow. For a more dramatic, skeletal look, go back to contour your cheeks and forehead too.
  5. You can leave your lips nude by going over them with more foundation. Alternatively, you might want to fill them in with a deep plum or burgundy lipstick for a glam finish.

What’s New, Pussycat?

Who doesn’t love cats? Even at Halloween, there’s something refreshingly un-fiendish about dressing up as a feline. Like most of our stylish (read: last minute) Halloween costume ideas, you only need a few bare essentials to make this one work. Makeup-wise, you can be as basic or OTT as you want, though it’s best to avoid going out of your way to look frightening. After all, there’s a reason no one EVER dressed up as roadkill. Go for an all-black ensemble that’s suitably slinky; add a pair of cat ears and draw yourself some whiskers for a purrfect finish.

Witch, Please

Oh, how we love an LBD. They’re the wardrobe must-haves that every night out needs; they’re the office-appropriate attire that boardrooms were built on. And Halloween? Well, turning your little black dress into the basis of a bewitching Halloween get-up is easy. Simply accessorise with a pointy witches hat (or make you own if you’re feeling crafty) and create some magic with your makeup collection.

Witch Makeup tutorial:

  1. Using a brush or sponge, apply a liquid foundation. For a more dramatic finish, choose a foundation that’s a shade lighter than your usual one, or mix a touch of white foundation in with your regular colour.
  2. Apply a primer to your lids. Then, using an eyeshadow brush, apply a neutral colour to them; brighten and enlarge the appearance of your eyes by adding a white shadow to the inner corners.
  3. Apply a highly pigmented green eye shadow across the entire lid. Be as generous as you like here – it’s Halloween after all! Add a touch of shadow to your lower lids too, and don’t forget to line them with a green or black liner (metallic greens work perfectly). To create a smokier, more defined look, apply a yellow-green or lime green eyeshadow into the inner corner of the eyes and about a third of the lid. Next, apply your pigmented shadow, so that it covers about two-thirds of your eyelids, before applying a darker green eyeshadow to the outer corner of the eye. A dark brown or bronze colour at the outer V should then be worked into the creases of your eyelids. Remember to blend too – it’s the key to achieving Pinterest-worthy eyes!
  4. Using a liquid eyeliner, apply feline flicks to your upper lids. Try to get your line as close to your lashes as you can; you don’t want a gaping green space between your liner and lashes! If you want to, you can apply fake lashes at this stage too. Apply mascara generously – the more dramatic your final look is, the better.
  5. With an angled brush, apply a touch of bronzer underneath your cheekbones to sculpt your face.
  6. Add a touch of peach blusher to the apples of your cheeks.
  7. Using a wide-angled brush, apply a touch of the pigmented green eyeshadow to your cheekbones.
  8. Apply a deep burgundy, rich plum or black matte lipstick to finish. Try to keep this as neat as possible (use a lipstick brush if necessary).
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