4 Killer Halloween Costume DIYs

Halloween is the great divider of holidays: You either look forward to it with unmitigated glee, or you hide out in a dark room with a bowl full of candy, growling every time you hear screaming children or drunken revelers. While we've definitely had our moments in Grumpy Town (it's kind of impossible to be out in public on Halloween in a big city without wanting to straight up murder someone), the thing that always draws us out of our Halloween hermitage is the possibility of whipping up some really stellar costumes.
This is the one time of year when our beauty imagination can roam completely wild. That's because a truly amazing costume isn't just about the clothing and accessories — it's about the genius hair and makeup you create to complement the outfit. Hell, sometime the hair and makeup are so fantastic, you don't even need anything else.
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Here, we enlisted the help of MAC's Fatima Thomas and Cutler Salon's Kelsy Osterman to show us how to DIY four crazy-amazing costumes: Game Of Thrones's Daenerys, Miley Cyrus, Orange Is The New Black's Pennsatucky, and the Wicked Witch Of The West.
From hair to makeup to teeth (you'll see), click through to see how to replicate these fab looks and blow all those other costumes out of the water. Sexy ghost, sexy cop, and sexy Little Bo Peep never had a chance.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Sick of Game of Thrones costumes? Well, tough — Khaleesi will always be number one on our list of things that are awesome. As much as we love the badass Daenerys of the most recent season, we decided our model Madeline would be perfect as the romantic, ethereal Dany from season 1.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
To start, add some volumizing mousse (Osterman used Redken Full Frame 07 for this look) to wet hair and then blowdry. Part your hair in the middle and then, starting at your crown, create three horizontal sections of hair. Clip each section away except for the very bottom.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Divide the bottom section of hair into three equal pieces and then twist each piece multiple times.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Braid the twisted pieces into a traditional three-strand braid. Before you cross each piece over, be sure to twist it.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Secure the braid with an elastic.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Continue braiding each section of hair. Depending on your hair length and thickness, you may have to do a few braids in each section. For Madeline's hair, Osterman created one braid at the bottom, two braids in the middle, one at the crown, and two at the very front of the head. You don't need your placement or execution to be perfect, as these braids are simply to help create texture — you'll be undoing them later.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Take a flat iron and clamp down on each braid for a few seconds, making sure to go the length of the braid, all the way to the ends.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Let the braids cool, then undo them, one by one.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Run your fingers through the hair to shake it out, then section out two pieces of hair, about the size of your palm, on each side of the head.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Using the same twisting technique as before, create a three-strand braid on either side, braiding it back towards the back of the head.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Don't braid all of the hair — Osterman says you should stop about halfway down the hair shaft on each braid. Take the two braids and pull them together at the back of the head.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Take a small piece of hair from the outside of the ends of the hair and wrap it around the two braids, connecting them. Keep wrapping until about two inches of hair is left.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Take the end of the hair and place it in the center of a "U"-shaped hair pin, facing the pin upwards.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Pull the pin up, then twist it and push it down into the center knot, making sure the ends of the hair goes through and into the knot.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Remove the pin — the braid is now connected by a knot, yet there are no pins or elastics holding it together because the end of the wrapping hair is secured inside of the knot. Osterman says this is her favorite new way to secure braids because it looks super-complicated, but is actually really easy. You might need to practice a few times before you master, but once you get it, she swears you won't ever have to use a hair pin to secure this type of knot ever again.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
To help fake that "traveling through Essos" burnished skin, Thomas says to add some liquid bronzer to your usual foundation and apply it all over your skin — any part that will be exposed by your costume. Using a fluffy brush, apply a pinky-brown blush to the apples of the cheeks, pulling it downwards. Apply a bit to the bridge of the nose as well to enhance that sunkissed effect.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Apply a light nude shadow to the lids, inner corner of the eye, and on the top of the cheekbones, close to the sockets. You want it to look like skin, so make sure the color you pick is not too iridescent. Thomas opted for Shroom because "it makes skin look glowy and healthy," she says. "It makes your skin look like it's glowing from within, rather than a product sitting on top of the skin." Apply fake lashes to the lashline. Thomas says to opt for long lashes, rather than thick ones, in order to maintain that wide-eyed, innocent look — too much darkness around the lashline closes the eye and makes it look a little too seductive for this particular costume.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Now for the brows: This costume's brows would make Cara Delevingne do a double take, so Thomas used a brow pencil and a powder to thicken Madeline's up. She started by defining the brow shape with a powder shadow to create a shape, then used the pencil to create short, feathery strokes that mimicked hairs.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Finish with a rosy-brown lipstick and a hooded traveling cape. We got crafty and made ours out of a bed sheet, pillowcase, and a bit of rope. Bonus points for shouting "Where are my dragons?!" repeatedly at the top of your lungs throughout the evening.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Oh, Miley. Love her or hate her, the ex-Disney star has been a busy girl this year, so it's no surprise she's going to be the It costume of this October 31. Her VMA look (and performance) is seared into our brains, for better or worse, so we decided to revisit that special moment for this DIY. The trick to this look is nailing those tiny teddy knots — and keeping your tongue lolling out of your mouth at every possible moment.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Start by parting your hair down the center. Create a small ponytail at the top of your head. Repeat on the other side. If you have long hair, gather as much hair up into the knot as you can. If you have short hair, slick back any hair that can't go up into the baby buns.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
For girls with short hair, you'll want to add extensions to the bun. It doesn't have to be anything fancy — just a small bit of longer hair you can wrap around the base of the bun to plump it up. We opted for a blonde extension to help mimic Miley's two-toned 'do.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Pin the extension into the bun when you finish wrapping.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Twist the hair (yours and the extension) at the base to create a loop.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Wrap the rest of the hair horizontally around the loop.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Pin the ends into the bun to secure.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Repeat with the other ponytail.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Start by enhancing your brow with a powder. Thomas says to enhance, but don't exaggerate — it's not about making your brows bigger, it's about making them stand out more in contrast to your hair.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Apply a neutral-toned eyeshadow with a slight hint of shimmer to the eyelids, then apply a thick, full, dramatic lash to your lashline. Instead of trimming the lash, Thomas left it long so it extended past the ends of the eye. "Miley has naturally downturned eyes, so leaving the lash long helps mimic that eye shape," she explains.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Apply mascara to the top lashes to blend the false lashes with your real ones, and to the bottom lashes to enhance them.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Line the perimeter of your lips with a lip pencil (Thomas used Redd) to define them.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Fill in your lips with that same pencil to create a color base.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Apply a shiny red gloss over top of the pencil to create a lacquered effect. Thomas used new Cremesheen Glass in Prepare to Pleasure, part of MAC's holiday collection, which will be available online starting tomorrow.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
We decapitated a children's costume (sorry, kiddies) and attached it to a leotard to get the spirit of Miley's VMA jumpsuit. Add a foam finger to this get-up at your own risk.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
It's no secret that we're obsessed with Orange Is The New Black around our offices, so obviously we had to do a costume straight out of Litchfield prison. While we briefly toyed with the idea of Laura Prepon's Alex (oh, the fun we would have recreating those eyebrows), we knew in our hearts that our OITNB offering had to be everyone's favorite meth head, Pennsatucky — specifically, Archangel Pennsatucky from that cray-cray season 1 finale.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Limp, lifeless hair is the name of the game here, so either plan on not showering for a few days to get that lived-in, unwashed look, or create it on freshly washed hair with a few simple tricks. Start by grabbing a random piece of hair — you don't want to section or be too precise — and rolling it around two fingers. Remove your fingers and place the loop flat against your head, leaving the ends out. Osterman says to think of it as an oversized, loose pin curl.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Using a flat iron, clamp down on the loop for a few seconds.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Pin in place to let cool.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Continue making haphazard loops all over your head until all of your hair has been ironed and pinned.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Once cool, let the hair down and run your fingers through it.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Spray a shine spray all over your head, focusing on the roots. Osterman says you want to really saturate the hair with with spray to get that greasy, unkempt look. Finger-comb the product through your hair until you've reached the desired level of greasiness.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
To mimic Pennsatucky's lifeless, drug-ravaged pallor, Thomas blended MAC Pro Paint Sticks in white, black, and red (seven parts white with two parts black and one part red) to create a gray-ish mauve hue. Using a foundation brush, she then stippled this onto the face to create blotchiness. You don't want to cover the face entirely, she explains. "It's okay for some skin to show through — you're trying to create a blotchiness and unhealthiness to the skin." She also says not to put too much of the color under the eyes, as most of us already have that lavender shade there naturally.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Pucker your lips and press the color onto the lips as well to drain the color from the face. Set the skin with lots of translucent powder.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Now you can go crazy with those undereye circles. Thomas applied a purplish-gray shadow to the eyes using a fluffy brush, starting the shadow at the inner corner of the eye and blending out into the undereye, following the socket. She then did the same thing with the lid, starting at the inner corner and following the shape of the lid. To make the shadows look like they are showing through the skin rather than a color sitting on top, she applied a touch of that complexion mixture over top. Remember: The more color you put on that inner corner, the more tired you will look.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
"Apply some of that shadow around the nostrils," says Thomas.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
No Pennsatucky costume would be complete without those infamous teeth — you can buy some fake teeth and pop them in, or do what Thomas did here and paint a tiny bit of black paint stick onto the teeth. Some gauze, a flowy white top with some strategically draped string, a halo of tinsel, and, of course, a homemade cross shiv bring our Pennsatucky to life.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
We couldn't wrap this Halloween-beauty bonanza without one truly off-the-wall transformation, so we present to you, The Wicked Witch Of The West. This take on the classic costume is a little less "scary old biddy" and a bit more au courant, as seen in Oz The Great & Powerful.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Start by saturating wet hair with volumizing mousse, then blowdry. Section your hair into sections: one on top, one in front of each ear, and one in the back.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Gather up all the hair in each section and pin it up tightly and out of the way. Things are about to get weird.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Told you. Take a wire hanger and bend it into a "U" shape, then undo one section of hair, spray it with a flexible-hold hairspray, and place it at the center of the "U."
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Begin wrapping the hair around the hanger in a figure-eight shape.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Continue wrapping hair in that figure-eight until all the hair is wrapped around the hanger. Pin the ends to hold it on the hanger.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Repeat this move with each of the remaining four sections of hair.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Using a flat iron, clamp down on each section of hair for a few seconds to heat it up. Spray the hair again with the hairspray and then let cool.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Undo the hair from the hangers, and then shake it out with your fingers.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
The hangers might seem like overkill (Joan Crawford would certainly agree), but they will help you create a bended wave that's much more angular, rather than soft and beachy. Witchy waves, we're calling them, and you can bet we'll be doing these long after Halloween is over — they're just that cool.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Before Thomas got started on greening Michelle up, she first had to eliminate her eyebrows. Okay, that sounded a little scarier than it actually was — she simply painted over them with some Elmer's glue stick to blot them out.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Thomas mixed four parts of a green MAC Pro Paint Stick with one part white, then applied the mixture using a sponge.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Apply the mixture to all parts of your skin that will be exposed — ears, neck, and chest included.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Take the remaining green mixture and add in a touch of black gel liner or black lipstick. "Add enough to make the green a little bit darker than the base you just applied," says Thomas. Using a dense brush, begin contouring.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
When contouring, be sure to overexaggerate, says Thomas. Everything needs to go up and angular to create that severe and wicked effect. Use a black gel liner to draw more pronounced nostrils and a sharper nose.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Once you've finished contouring, it's time to add those brows back on: Using your gel liner, draw a thin line, starting a few inches above your natural brow and angling it sharply upwards.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Finish by applying a plum lipstick to lips. Thomas says to make the top lip color a bit darker than the bottom, to help emphasize that shadowed effect.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Girlfriend is looking all kinds of wicked. Thomas warns that when you apply full face paint like this, some staining of the skin can happen. Her genius trick? Apply makeup remover and get as much of the color off as possible. Then, take some shaving cream (Thomas used Barbasol) and massage it into the skin. Wipe it off with some wipes or a washcloth and boom — the staining is gone. Thomas is not sure exactly why it works, but she swears that the shaving cream will lift the stains off the skin better than any cleanser or makeup remover on the market.
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