Pony rides and face paint, the two things that can clean out your wallet faster than you can say, “Maybe next time honey. Daddy forgot to stop at the ATM and withdrawal $436. Blame him.” And if the face painting is free, get ready to wait in a line that snakes from here to Ronkonkoma!

A few years back, to avoid the constant pleading and whining at events I did some research and ordered my own face paint. Problem solved, my kids never asked again.

Through the years of birthday parties, where I am not just face painter, but also the mom and running the party, I have learned some great, EASY and FAST tips to help you out on Halloween. To be fair, I am an illustrator so drawing and painting is what I do,  but with these tips, anyone can do face painting!

What works and what doesn’t:
Don’t: Stay away from those grease crayon kits for sale  at this time of the year. You are better of using regular make-up that will not make your child uncomfortable and will be easier to apply and will not rub off on their costume.

Avoid anything too liquid or greasy, as it will most likely frustrate you trying to apply and even coat and feel heavy on your child’s face.

Do: Look for cake face paints, glitter eye shadows, glitter-eye gels, bright long wear lipsticks and eyeliners. Go for women’s blush that will be a brighter and make a pop. Think 80’s make up shades. Use thin decent make-up or paint brushes. A good brush makes HUGE difference.

Favorite brands:

  • Ben Nye
  • Mehron
  • Snazaroo
  • Kryolan
  • Milani Crystal eyes*
  • Maybelline Super Stay 24 color*



  • Face paints
  • Brushes
  • Glitter
  • Lipstick or gloss
  • Blush
  • Make up sponges
  • Shimmer powder
  • Good thin artist brushes.
  • Jewels with one flat side
  • Gum adhesive (for jewels and scars)


Step One: Clip hair off face. Always start by applying blush in the apple of the cheek not up the cheekbone. I use a shade brighter than you would if applying everyday make-up.

Step Two: If using cake face paint, dip your brush into water and then the paint. Do a small test on your hand. Have the child close her eyes and line the top of the eyes with whatever color matches the costume. Darker shades work best. Make sure the paint is dry before the child opens her eyes. I always blow on their eyes to speed up the process. Make fun sweeping lines from the outside corner of the eye out, down and up.

Step Three: Add more sweeping lines with another color. Add hearts, stars or small flowers. Finish by highlighting with a bit of white.

Step Four: Apply lipstick or gloss on the child’s lips and if you have glitter face paints apply a bit on the nose forehead or chin.

TIPS: Apply a long wearing lip product and bright blush for longer wear. For the ultimate smiles try taking a flat sided jewel, also called cabochon jewel, on the child’s face with a tiny bit of gum adhesive. For ultimate glitter and shimmer apply glitter gels to eyes ( be careful not to smear design), nose and chin. For a super glittery effect press regular craft glitter on the paint or gel before it dries. Finish with powder shimmer. Kids love the shimmer.


Step One: Clip hair off of face. Apply white, face paint with your finger or a make-up sponge by getting the sponge or your finger a bit damp first. Apply all around the eyes and cheeks. Blend outward. There is no need to cover the whole face. Let it dry.

Step Two: Line the upper eye lid with black and while the child’s eyes are shut and drying paint black dramatic eyebrows. Using the black, line under the bottom lashes and for a spooky effect try to smudge the black paint out a bit. Add a bit of red or green to the eyes or around the mouth for a more gruesome effect.

Step Three: Finish with red or black lips. Add stitches, fangs or long creepy eyelashes where needed.

TIPS: Gum adhesive works well to hold on scars etc. Avoid trying this with small children and just paint on scars.

Face paint or costume questions? Just Ask Holly in comments.

Face paint available on-line, Jerry’s Artist Outlet. and  some Halloween Express stores.
*Products available in the cosmetic section of CVS