Skull, or calavera, makeup is an obvious choice for Halloween, since Día de Muertos (aka Día de los Muertos or simply Day of the Dead) starts on the very same day, October 31st. They are very intricate designs that resemble the decorated sugar skulls that take over the Mexican holiday.
If you've got some good makeup skills, your designs can really excel as part of your Halloween costume. To help inspire your look, we've got 15 of our most favorite sugar skull face paintings below, which are colorful, dramatic, and yes, even sparkly.
Our first sugar skull tutorial from Kat Sketch turns the average black-and-white skull into a work of bloody red art. Rather than blending, combining, and applying countless colors, create an intricate yet straightforward and gorgeous DIY sugar skull by adding just a small amount of red.
Don't have the time or patience to craft an entire sugar skull makeup mask? As YouTube user Meg Olivia demonstrates, you don't need to cover your entire face to make an impact. Leave half of your "costume" natural, and focus on applying beautiful details to just one side of your face.
If you want to add even more pizzaz to your sugar skull creation, don't limit yourself to makeup: add sparkle! As goldiestarling's YouTube tutorial shows, the simple act of applying rhinestones around the eyes enhances the entire costume.
Once you've added all of your individual decoration, such as leaves, petals, tears, and more, you can drop in the rhinestones. Make sure to place them strategically, or you'll end up with sparkle-encircled eyes that could catch light all night. More info here.
Like standing out on Halloween? Then YouTuber Lindsay Hancock offers the perfect sugar skull tutorial for your style. Rather than sticking with the usual black- and white-based skull, Hancock turns her entire face into an incredible blue, white, and pink creation. This one will help you to stand out among anyone else who may have DIYed their own clavier, ensuring your own costume steals the show.
If you aren't a fan of over-the-top coloring, try sticking with just one color like this tutorial by YouTube creator Brook Marrs. By adding a lot of blue to her sugar skull look, Marrs transforms the average makeup attempt. Instead, you'll catch attention for being such a standout—and you can create an entirely blue outfit to match.
Not all sugar skulls are the same, of course, and there's no real requirement as to what makes one better than another. If you're a little less traditional, you may not want to fit in—and that's where Steampunk can help.
As demonstrated by Kota Wade, also known as SteamFaerie on YouTube, you can stray far away from more traditional sugar skull looks and still create a gorgeous costume. Add in tech-based, robotic elements like cogs and screws rather than spiderwebs, curls, and florals, and you'll look unlike any other sugar skull girl.
Most sugar skull makeup looks start with a white base, but you don't have to. YouTube user Yeshidon skips that step to help you focus your costume on just the important details, if you're crunched for time.
Who says the sugar skull has to stop at the face? Well, sure, skulls don't extend past the jaw, but you can create a full-body skeletal look if you aren't covering up this Halloween.
In this tutorial by SmashinBeauty on YouTube, we learn not only how to create a dramatic sugar skull around the mouth and eyes, but also how to draw on a skeleton on the neck, chest, and arms. You'll be an even more convincing dead spirit.
Sometimes, as fantastic as a sugar skull looks, it's the attention to other details that truly makes the costume. That's the case with Stephanie's creation below—our eyes are drawn to her incredible floral head piece just as much as her makeup.
Along with the makeup, Stephanie also teaches how to craft an attention-grabbing headband. With the right accessories, you can style more than just your face. Check out the full guide here.
If you're a skilled makeup hand, consider trying a renowned makeup artist's tricks and tips in the creation of your own sugar skull costume. Rick Baker, with MAC makeup, shows what it takes to create an exceptionally gorgeous sugar skull makeup mask.
There's none better to mimic than the man whose effects bring to life so many of the Hollywood characters we dress up as for Halloween. You can take your costume to the next level by adopting some of his techniques, from shading to coloring, as you craft your own look. More info here.
Need an even simpler style to suit your sugar skull skills? Try this tutorial from YouTuber Emmakeup14. You'll master the art of deep-set eyes, a creepy mouth, and less insane detail to create an attractive skull without hours of effort.
Whether you're talented or just beginning in the world of makeup-made Halloween costumes, sometimes simple is best. Forget tons of color application and just go with the traditional skull colors of black and white. And to save time and effort, only do half your face if you'd like. YouTube creator MakeupbyMandy24 shows all the details below.
Want to impress with a certain color theme? Try purple, as Miixa Secundo demonstrates below. While others are blending, mixing, and adding more and more colors to their own skulls, stick with one that truly pops. You'll be able to coordinate your mask with anything you choose, and also expand into every shade of the single color.
Can't stand simple color palettes? Rather than adhering to the usual do's and don'ts of sugar skull makeup, Alycia Marie changes up the nose, the eye sockets, and the forehead decorations. By pairing light and dark colors together, you can deepen the look of your makeup and impress with your skill.
Finally, our last sugar skull tutorial is the shiniest—by far. Forget makeup entirely if you have time and a great attention to detail, because you can turn your face into the most intricate costume at any party.
This new sugar skull extreme, with MadeYewLook's YouTube tutorial, shows how to apply rhinestones to your skin and create an almost sugar skull disco effect. If you like bling, aim for sparkle over shadow. This will take a couple hours to do, so be patient.
Click here for even more sugar skull face painting ideas, and make sure to share a picture of your version in the comments below!