I think we can all agree that this year’s Halloween is going to be pretty weird, bordering on sad. The idea of a bunch of semi-strangers thrusting together while dressed as the ironic pop culture icons of the previous twelve months now seems like something of a fever dream. Will it ever be allowed again? It’s hard to say.
But 2020 has already taken so much from us. It seems like a shame to allow it to take Halloween away from us, too. When else can you apply so much makeup that you become almost totally unrecognizable? For the beauty-lovers out there, it’s an almost sacred day.
So regardless of how you’re actually able to celebrate this year, please don’t let the pandemic take away your ability to get made up. I’ve come up with a selection of Halloween makeup ideas that’ll still work for 2020. And if you’re heading out, mask up. These costumes are made for it.
Skull or Jack O’ Lantern
Some clever brands have already foreseen the intersection of Halloween and a global health crisis and planned ahead. For those who approach the holiday from a lazier standpoint, this is a real blessing for you. You can simply purchase a mask with some sort of terrifying mouth on it, then pair with semi-matching eye makeup. As a bonus? You don’t even have to take your makeup lower than your eyes. See, there are upsides to one of the biggest tragedies of the past few decades!
Cruella de Vil
Another way to incorporate a mask into your Halloween look is to think about a character and the sort of mask they’d wear. Cruella de Vil fits this brief well for two reasons: her eye makeup is recognizably iconic, and we all know she’d just go crazy for a dog-skin mask. Pairing a dalmatian-print face covering an intense green eyeshadow, half and half hair, and an oversized fur coat will ensure no one asks you who you’re meant to be.
Lady Gaga at the VMAs
A similar hot tip for mask-friendly Halloween makeup is finding an inspiration who’s already wearing a mask. Because this pandemic has been going on for more than half a year and counting, we’ve already seen some celebs in iconic mask looks. Lady Gaga at the VMAs has to be on top though. She offered us three stunning mask looks, from the simple to the prosthetically horned. Choose your level of commitment and enjoy.
“Rain On Me” Ariana Grande
A similar vibe comes from Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me” performance. But the reason this may be even more appealing than Gaga’s looks is the sheer simplicity. Pair a jeweled mask with a holographic eyeshadow and a sleek, high ponytail. Not only do you look Halloween and pandemic-ready, but it’s also just a simple, strong look.
Maddy from Euphoria
The other way to ensure you can get away with a mask alongside your Halloween makeup look is to choose one which focuses on the eyes. And has there been a single character in the past few years with more instantly recognizable eye makeup than Maddy from Euphoria? You have a wealth of looks to choose from, but make sure you opt for dramatic wing shapes, jewel tones, and of course, plenty of stick-on gems. Big false eyelashes are a must, too.
Clowns are always a great creepy look, and this past year gave us one of the easiest and most effective to replicate. Even the most poorly skilled MUA can have a go at Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. White face paint, a red eyebrow pencil (lip liner works well), and a deep teal eyeshadow are all you really need.
Remember when Cats came out and nothing hurt? It’s incredibly hard to believe this happened within the past twelve months, but here we are. These makeup looks are pretty complex, but thanks to their rich theatrical history, there are a wealth of tutorials online. Pick your favorite (personally, I’m a Jemima or a Rumpleteezer) and paint to your heart's content. And again, this makeup is so recognizable that you don’t need to worry too much about the bottom half of your face being concealed.
Of all the eye makeup options out there, is there any more recognizable than a Bratz Doll? The original bad bitches combined all the facets of Instagram baddie makeup (a pop of color, a graphic wing, and huge, fluttery lashes) well before their time. Going for a graphic statement eye in the time of mask-wearing is key—and you can pair it with high pigtails and platform shoes for the ultimate cool-girl Halloween look.
Optical illusion eyes
Not for the faint of heart—but for those with the skill and time on their hands, there’s a wealth of optical illusion makeup inspiration out there. Simply choose one which focuses on the top half of the face and get creative. There are some Instagram makeup artists who truly make me believe anything is possible with the right application. My personal favorite? Multiple eyes dripping down the face. Because when the top half of your makeup is this incredible, no one’s going to even cast an eye toward your face covering.