Amazing, Pop-Culture-Inspired Halloween Makeup Tutorials


We’ve been getting into the Halloween spirit all month long by bringing you DIY costume ideas inspired by your favorite films, TV shows, books, and art. What good is a costume, though, if you aren’t wearing amazing makeup to complement your creative ideas? With an eye toward pop culture, we have gathered some incredible and convincing makeup tutorials that you can easily do at home. These looks require minimal money and effort. All you need is the desire to dress like the living dead, cartoon characters, classic movie monsters, and more. Click through to start practicing these great looks.

Pop Art Person

Become a living Roy Lichtenstein painting with this pop art tutorial that turns you into a 1960’s comic-style character. Artist Emma Pickles shows you how to get the look — which is ridiculously easy to do, but has a big wow factor.

Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton would approve of this Sally makeup tutorial, inspired by the director’s beloved 1993 film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s another incredibly simple, but effective look that requires a few supplies, a steady hand, and a love for pining rag dolls constructed by mad scientists. Those eyes will creep us out, forever. YouTube user dope2111 also features a tutorial based on another spooky-eyed character — Emily from Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Betty Boop

Kandee Johnson is quite possibly made from rainbows, lollipops, and everything nice. She created this fun Betty Boop makeup tutorial, and her love for character transformation is infectious. She’s a professional makeup artist, but makes things easy to follow. Her impersonation of the 1930’s animated cutie is pretty spot-on, too.

Pinhead from Hellraiser

We recently shared our love for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser in part two of our Essential Horror Film Countdown. The 1987 film features a sadistic group of mutilated antagonists that are summoned from hell by a mysterious puzzle box. Barker designed the look for the lead Cenobite, Pinhead, after African fetish sculptures, as well as S&M and punk fashion. This makeup tutorial from YouTube user UnlimitedElizabeth isn’t the kind of thing you can just slap together, but she walks you through it clearly and makes it look easy.

A Zombie from The Walking Dead

We love the stylized look of this zombie makeup tutorial and think it truly stands out from the other gory fleshmunchers out there. Artist Angie, who goes by the name goldiestarling on YouTube, has a painterly touch. The finished look is also a nice nod to the undead TV show’s comic book roots. For more zombie makeup inspiration, check out this insane mouth and neck photo.

Scar from The Lion King

Disney villains never go out of style, which is why this Scar makeup tutorial would make for a great costume — although it may be difficult to sound as wicked as Jeremy Irons did in the 1994 film.

Vincent van Gogh

This Vincent van Gogh makeup tutorial is way better than all the Starry Night coffee mugs and umbrellas in the entire universe.

Coraline from Coraline

Our friends at The Mary Sue shared this video tutorial the other day, which takes its inspiration from the 2009 film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. The movie centers on a little girl who feels neglected and out of place in her new home, until she discovers a parallel universe inhabited by doppelgangers with buttons for eyes. The ocular props for this look aren’t very practical, but let us know if you figure out a way around it that still allows you to use the actual buttons.

White Walker from Game of Thrones

Who can forget the chilling White Walker from the end of Game of Thrones‘ second season? After a blizzard envelops Samwell, he hides behind a rock and sees the frosty, undead figure looming above him on a zombified horse. It’s a terrifying and tense moment in the series, and this look accurately captures it cheaply and easily.

Anime Character

Anastasiya Shpagina is a real-life anime girl. Just one look at her Facebook page reveals dozens of surreal photos featuring the young Ukrainian woman made up as a wide-eyed, Japanese animation character. It should come as no surprise that Anastasiya is pals with real-life Barbie doll, Valeria Lukyanova.

The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic story was a CG monstrosity, but we appreciated the bizarre-looking Red Queen played by Helena Bonham Carter. You won’t be able to mimic the bobbleheaded tyrant’s gigantic noggin, but you can come close with this tutorial. Even if you didn’t enjoy Burton’s film, it’s a bold way to represent Carroll’s timeless tale.

Billy from the Saw series

You don’t have to appreciate the gory Saw film series to try out this freaky makeup tutorial. Billy the puppet is a creepy ventriloquist’s dummy in a tuxedo that rides a red tricycle. What more do you need?

Classic Frankenstein Monster

Sam and Nic from studio Pixiwoo create some amazing looks, and their penchant for dramatic and theatrical transformations come in handy for this classic Frankenstein tutorial.