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Sure, any ~average~ person would consider their Halloween look good to go with a cute costume and some convincing Halloween makeup, but if you’re less, uh, “average” and more ridiculously, incredibly beauty obsessed, you know that October 31 is the perfect excuse to get a festive-as-hell manicure to complete—or add to—your look. And even if your Halloween plans involve begrudgingly dusting off a pair of cat ears (which, been there) and hopping on Zoom, I’m about to convince you that a little nail art is all it takes to get out the door. Ahead, 45 scary-good nail ideas for every type of Halloween celebration.
Spooky Drips and Pointy Tips
Blue Blood Nails
Orange Splatter Paint
Not your average lil’ punkins, these pumpkin nails are filled in with a tortoise pattern for a much cooler overall look. To get the look yourself, mix a few spots of black and brown nail polish in with the orange.
Abstract Pumpkin Nails
If you don’t have a steady hand, you don’t have to draw pumpkins on your nails to get the same effect. Case in point: this abstract nail design that has the feel of a pumpkin without being so literal. Instead of pumpkin orange and leaf green shades, grab a metallic copper nail polish and a seafoam polish.
Blood Drip Tip
Draw a little blood for this nail look (I mean that both ways). Add a simple little drip with red nail polish on one accent nail and keep the rest of your nails natural for a look that could pass as the real thing.
Orange-and-Black and Abstract
Midnight Mani for Halloween
The only shade of nail polish that’s more on-brand for Halloween than orange is midnight black. Add a little fun to the dark, eerie shade with a holographic top coat, which will really pop against a black base.
Orange Spots for Halloween Nails
Even neon shades can go virtually unnoticed with a simple design. This look starts with a base application of nude nail polish, then each nail is accented with two orange dots in varying sizes.
Vampire Fang Stiletto Nails
You might not have enough fingers to write “Beetlejuice” across your nails, but you can create a nail look that basically says the same thing with designs from the iconic Halloween movie that any fan would recognize. Oh, and a bunch of slime green nail polish.
Alien Mani for Halloween
As long as you’ve got a nail polish in the signature alien neon green shade, you can DIY this extraterrestrial nail art look. Add a few black drip details to complete the look.
The Addams Family Nails
To make this Halloween nail art a little easier, try painting the designs on some press-on nails, and duh-nu-nu-nu *snap snap*. You’ve got yourself a mani that would make Wednesday Addams proud.
Pumpkin Orange Nails
If the typical fall nail polish colors are too blahhh for you, stick with your spring nail polish shades instead. A bright orange nail polish is more versatile than you’d think. In the spring or summer it might feel like a tangerine shade, but when worn around Halloween, it looks like the perfect pumpkin color.
Black Widow Spider Designs
A black widow is incomplete without the red marking on the back. Glue a red rhinestone on top of your painted spiders to finish the look (and hide any inevitable mess-ups).
Dagger Nails for Halloween
Ya gotta be careful with these super-sharp stiletto nails—they’re basically like daggers, and that’s kinda the point. With these Halloween nails, you don’t even need a costume, but they’d be the perfect accessory to any kind of medieval costume.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Nails
I don’t expect you to be able to whip up a nail design as intricate as this one with nail polish if you can’t even draw the iconic cartoon characters with a pencil and eraser. But maybe your nail artist can? Just a suggestion. If nothing else, try to paint Jack Skellington with some black-and-white nail polish.
Smoke and Mirrors Mani
There’s no better time for a little magic than All Hallow’s Eve, so show up to your Halloween party so you can show off an illusion nail art look like this one. Thanks to the clear nail extensions, this actually looks like smoke and mirrors.
Cute Casper the Ghost Design
Transform any blob of white polish into a cute lil’ ghost with two dots for eyes and one for the mouth. So easy, even your non-dominant hand could do it.
Purple Stiletto Halloween Nails
People don’t talk much about purple being associated with Halloween, but don’t forget about the deep moody shade! When you’re all burnt out on burnt orange, go with a vampy violet shade instead.
Angled Red French Tips
Marbled Nail Design
There’s no reason your Halloween nails shouldn’t be super-freaking pretty. Give that PSL orange polish a break and show your nail technician this vampy marble manicure instead. Trust me when I say you’ll want to keep these nails all month long.
Blood-Red Nails for for Halloween
Think of this Halloween manicure as your classic red nails but witchier. Two super-deep shades of red give your nails the ultimate vibe for October 31, and it’s so subtle, your coworkers might not even notice it.
If there’s ever a time that crazy, over-the-top nail art is socially acceptable, it’s Halloween. Dress up your black nails with a few expertly painted grim reapers for a look your friends will legit want to copy (yup, even the Halloween costume haters).
Stitched Tips for Halloween
Whether you’re going the spooky route or keeping it playful, consider these stitched-tip nails the perfect finish to your costume. Just grab a bottle of black polish with a thin striper brush and get stitchin’.
Emo Nails for Halloween
Hate gettin’ festive for Halloween? No prob. These subtle emo nails are on-theme enough that you can wear whatever you damn please to the party and still say you made an effort.
These eerie moon-phase nails are so cool, you’ll want to wear them well past Halloween (and, hey, you can? because free will? so do it?). Make sure to finish the look with a long-wear top coat so you can ride out this look through the fall.
Gothic Red Roses
My angsty-as-hell seventh grade self would have truly worn these red nails year-round, which means they’re probably perfect for your Halloween needs. The graphic black border takes this look to the next level.
Matte-Black With Red Glitter
Nothing says Halloween nails like a blood red-and-black matte manicure. The key to emulating this look is shaping your nails into a super-sharp point—that way, you have the room to play with some glittery faux blood at your cuticles.
Cobweb Cuticles for Halloween
Who knew cobwebs could look cute? This nail salon, apparently. These simple Halloween nails are an easy win for wherever your Halloween plans take you (and maybe the perfect excuse to invest in some nail stickers, if you don’t have a steady hand).
Halloween and black cats go hand in hand—and this super-cool cat-eye manicure is definitely proof. The pops of chartreuse and lime-green polish over the inky, jet-black base add a cool touch that will complement any number of costumes (especially those cat ears you *promised* you wouldn’t recycle again).
Your Halloween costume needs this blood-smeared nail art. If you’re attempting to recreate this look yourself (congrats!), start with a white base and dab red polish on top to create a blood-stained effect.
Everything about this unexpected nail shape screams horror film. Shape and file your Halloween nails at a sharp, defined angle to replicate this meat-cleaver look.
Bloody Eyeballs for Halloween
Is there anything creepier than a bunch of bloody eyeballs hanging out on your nails? Askin’ for a friend. The best part about this Halloween manicure is that you can really do the bare minimum when it comes to your costume—just let these nails speak for themselves.
Red Snake Print
If the fact that everyone and their mother has shown up to a Halloween party in a cat costume makes you feel a ~certain~ way, try swapping the expected for this crazy-cool snake-inspired mani. You’ll definitely be the only person wearing deep-red nails with black scales.
These Halloween nails might take a little patience to recreate, but the spooky, on-brand payoff is totally worth it. Start with a glittery black base, then use the tiniest striper brushes to make a pie shape in the middle of your nails. Then, connect your “pie” lines with tiny curved horizontal stripes to finish the web. Or, you know, have your nail technician take a stab (they are pros, after all).
Witchy Halloween Nails
This Halloween manicure is subtlety at its finest—look closely and you’ll see a witch on a broomstick, flying bats, and a little pumpkin hiding under the slate-gray polish. It’s all in the details, folks.
Gothic Gradient Nails
My Chemical Romance meets ombré nails in this next-level Halloween manicure that’ll pair nicely with legit any costume. Am I the only one considering going goth? JK, I’ve been considering that every day of my life since junior high.
Going as an alien? This intergalactic mani is the perfect way to make your costume stand out among the rest. Start with a black base, layering white, purple, pink, and blue swirls for a galaxy-inspired finish.
Gory Halloween Nails
This lil ghost decal will definitely require the help of a pro (or, like, a ridiculously talented friend), but it’s bound to make for the coolest Halloween manicure.
Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for Cosmopolitan.com.
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