Take it from an ex-face painter: Face painting doesn’t have to be hard for you — or on your kid. The first rule of Face Paint Club is to avoid using the crummy cheap face paints that are sometimes sold at grocery stores — they tend to be coated in chemicals and are sometimes expired too. It’s important to buy quality face paints for kids, which you can probably get at your local craft store.
I’m a big fan of Snazaroo face paints, which are non-toxic, washable, paraben- and fragrance-free, and made for sensitive skin. You can order that brand on Amazon, but with Halloween just a few days away, you might want to just take a trip to your local craft store to pick up some face paints that are super safe for kids and easy to wash off. Also, while you’re there, grab some cheap brush packs, sponges, and cosmetic (not craft!) glitter because, why not?
Once you’ve got your supplies in hand, you need to come up with a look. The second rule of Face Paint Club is to find a great tutorial and copy it. Because, like we said, quick and easy. Here are 7 of our favorite face paint tutorials for kids this Halloween.
Related: Super easy last-minute Halloween costumes for kids that you can make in 10 minutes or less.
Easy Halloween Face Painting – Spider-Man – Spider-Man | Lily Pebbles
This quick, 4-minute video shows you how to do three simple looks for kids: Pumpkins, Spider-Man, or Frankenstein (as shown at top). Check her video for some great tips, including the use of a sponge for the base layer and quality brushes for the black and white lines and details. What I like best about this one is that the painting is done on very young children, proving to all us naysayers out there that it really is possible to do good, quick work on kids (even if you have to bribe them with a cookie).
Related: Easy, last-minute Halloween costumes you can make in 10 minutes.
Easy Tiger – Painting Children Under 3 Years Old | lisajoyyoung
This tutorial starts out with tons of reassurance and tips for painting very young kids, which can help boost your confidence if you’ve never tried it before. In it, she shows us how much faster face painting goes with a sponge loaded with several colors. Lisa Joy uses a special, pre-made sponge, but you can load up any makeup sponge the same way by painting on the colors with a brush. She also has fabulous tips for doing tiger stripes like a pro.
1-2-3 Super Fast Kitty | Silly Heather
Knowing how to paint a quick cat face will serve you well at birthday parties as well as Halloween. This version focuses on simple black lines to define the face in lieu of all-over face paint, which is a great choice for little ones who tend to drag a fist over an itchy nose. Once you’ve watched her creation, you should be able to do this kitty face in under 5 minutes. Be sure to read the tips that flash on-screen too. We’re not down with the brief quip that Spider-Man is only for boys, but we love the rest of her smart tips and tricks.
The Caped Crusader | iVillage
Trust me: When you’re the designated face painter at your kid’s birthday, school carnival day, or Halloween party, you do a lot of Batman. We love Face Art by Melissa’s Batman mask that she shared with iVillage. You don’t even have to do the fancy sunset, if you don’t want to. And in less than 2 minutes, you can pull off the black mask on even the wiggliest kid. Add a full costume or a pair of Batman footie pajamas, and you’re ready for trick-or-treat.
Dog Face Painting | SmiffysFancyDress
If you can forgive the ’80s music and graphics, this is a quick, easy, super-helpful tutorial of a basic puppy dog face. You can of course switch up your colors to match the costume, and you don’t have to do that floppy tongue (although, so cute!). But of all the puppy tutorials I combed through, this one did the best job of combining quickness with a great finished product.
Witch Face Painting Tutorial | SophiesTips
The voiceover on this tutorial is what really makes this one special. Sophie describes the reasoning for every tool and color, adding options for older or younger children and walking you through the each of her tips, which makes pulling off this look at lot less scary for noobs. Although the overall idea here is a pretty witch, I could see the same colors and glitter combo used for a mermaid, unicorn, or fairy. My daughter wants to be Medusa, so I’m going to use Sophie’s tutorial but with green and gold to match her snake wig.
Zombie Doll | Today’s Parent
For the older girl who wants to be cool and creepy, but not too creepy, I love this zombie doll look by face painter Misty Fox for Today’s Parent. It doesn’t take a ton of fancy makeup, and it can work with a Goodwill dress or something ragged from the back of the closet. You don’t have to do the wig and you can skip the false eyelashes; it would work just as well with drawn-on eyelashes and Wednesday Addams braids. I think this is a cool way to do zombie without all the fake blood and gore. Unless, like me, you like fake blood, which can be easily and cheaply made from Karo syrup and red food coloring, if you were wondering.