The easiest Halloween costumes are, hands down, face-painted ones. With minimal effort, you can have a magical evening and spend very little. Purchase a few make-up basics to go along with these homemade staples and you're on your way to having the scariest monster in town. No professional techniques required!

Homemade Halloween Makeup

These easy mixes can be made with things around the house, and they are a safe alternative to store-bought kinds.

White Skin for a Dead Look:

Cover your child's face with cold cream. Then carefully add baby powder or cornstarch to her face, making certain she doesn't breathe any of it in.  You can use a buff puff or cotton.

Face Paint:

  • 1 t corn starch
  • ½ t water
  • ½ t cold cream
  • 2 drops food coloring as desired

Mix together adding as much color you want until you get the desired effect.

Clown Make-up Base:

  • 2 t white shortening
  • 5 t corn starch
  • 1 t white all purpose flour

Mix it all together, or have your kiddo do it, and apply.

Fake Blood:

  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Red food coloring

This is my favorite one.  It's deliciously scary. Add in the food coloring to the chocolate syrup until you get the desired look. Be careful. This will stain clothing and couches, white dogs, carpet, etc.

Homemade Pixie Glitter:

(Body gel perfect for fairies princesses, Cinderellas, Tinkerbelle's, and any other girl's favorite costume.)

  • Plain Aloe Vera Gel
  • Glitter (the more fine kind)

Mix in ½ teaspoon for every 2 tablespoons of gel. Put on desired areas, avoiding the eyes. Store in an airtight container or it will dry out.

Grey Hair:

  • Hair Gel
  • Cornstarch

Use hair gel on the hair and add cornstarch over it.  Brush it through to make a more realistic look.

Free Printable Guides for Face Paint Ideas

I found this wonderful resource for beginning face painting ideas at There are a lot of step-by-step guides that are free to download and print from your computer.

There is an animal section with a sparkle butterfly, a Dalmation, another butterfly and a tiger.

There is a Halloween horror section with a Dracula, a pumpkin, a witch, a monster, a witch's cat, a devil, and a spider web.

The fun section is a creative mix with an angel, snowflake, disco diva, robot, soldier, wizard, pirate (complete with painted-on patch), a fairy princess, and a party girl.

Helpful Make-Up Tips

  • The best applicators of make-up are sponge wedges, but if you don't have those, your fingers are great. Use paint brushes to apply detail; use the stick end for very small detail.
  • To make sure the make-up lasts through the night, do what my make-up instructor always told me: "Powder, powder, powder." When you have the finished product, NEVER before, powder over the entire face with baby powder or cornstarch. Don't worry that it looks faded. When you're all finished powdering, take a spray bottle and lightly spritz over the face with water. Follow over that with a soft towel or paper towel and dab, dab, dab it dry. The make-up will last throughout the night. This is also a way to lock in those staining colors from fake blood.
  • Use cold cream at the end of the night to take off the make-up. Apply it liberally and with a washcloth or a paper towel, using soft, small circles, start to take off sections of make-up. Use a paper towel if you're concerned about staining. Wash their face as usual and send them off to bed.

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