The Most Epic Halloween DIYs You'll Ever See

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Halloween is looming, which means you only have a couple of weeks to come up with a costume idea that's the right mix of witty, pretty, and scary. This can be a hard balance to strike — especially when perusing the offerings at your local Halloween store. Sexy nurse and vampire queen just don't do it for us.
So, instead of going generic with a cheap costume that you'll probably never wear again, why not pull something imaginative out of your closet — and your beauty bag? Using products you probably already have at home, you can take a simple idea and easily catapult it to the next level.
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That's why we recruited Nathaniel Hawkins, a celebrity hairstylist who's worked with the likes of a very beauty-obsessed Adele, and Kristofer Buckle, the renowned makeup artist who's painted the faces of everyone from Mariah Carey to Christina Aguilera, to make our four simple Halloween-costume concepts go the distance. Click through to watch, step-by-step, as four cool girls go from classic pretty to all-out crazy.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Not-Your-Niece's (Or Mother's, Or Kid Down The Street's) Elsa
Okay, here's the thing about trying the Elsa costume from Frozen: Everyone and their mothers will be doing it. So, if you're going to go for it, please do not buy a boxed costume, add a purple smoky eye, and call it a day. No: You are going to blow everyone's minds with your DIY magic instead — as shown here on the stylist for this photo shoot, Ms. Willow Lindley. Disney's got nothin' on her.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
It sounds mildly terrifying, but our professional makeup artist swears that it's totally safe: "Use an Elmer's glue stick to brush up the eyebrows, then paint them upwards in the way your brows go. After, flatten them in that shape with the end of a makeup brush — just squish them down and flat," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Next, erase any semblance of an actual human complexion, instead prescribing to Disney's impossible standards of beauty. Buckle says to apply a full-coverage foundation that's very noticeably lighter than you skin tone all over your face. That includes the lips, eyelids, and eyebrows. Buckle prepared the complexions for each model in this story using RCMA Cream Foundations.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Then, use a dark-brown gel eyeliner and an angled brush to draw on your new brows — above your natural arches. They should be thin and slightly raised to mimic Elsa's smirky expression.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Once those are in place, begin creating your ice-princess smoky eye: "I used Make Up For Ever Electric Purple shadow across the lid, and then layered that with a shimmery Pigment by MAC, on the center of the lid and in the inner corners, to highlight," Buckle explains. (The particular product he used is discontinued, but try MAC Kitschmas for a similar effect.)

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Electric Purple, $21, available at Sephora.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Then, I used MAC Blacktrack gel eyeliner to do a thick, liquid line, and extended that out past the eye and angled it upward. I also painted a line below her natural lashline, mimicking the shape of her eye," he says. Don't fill that bottom one with black, though — leave it as just an outline.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"I filled in under the eyes using a white kohl pencil by Prestige," he explains. This creates a more animated look — perfect for the cartoons.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Next, Buckle added sapphire-blue contacts that he purchased from a Halloween store. (If you're a novice, do this step first to avoid smudging your eye makeup!) "Then, I put false lashes by Ardell on the top and bottom," he explains. After, add a light dusting of rosy-pink Make Up For Ever shadow in the crease for definition.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Elsa may be beautiful, but she doesn't have the full, luscious lips typical for a Disney princess. "Her upper lip is thinner, so I used Laura Mercier Baby Lips Lip Liner to draw in her lips, but painted them a bit smaller on top," he says. Finish with a light dusting of MAC Blush in Pink Swoon on the apples of the cheeks.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Unless you're born with majorly-thick princess hair, you may not be able to pull off Elsa's oversized, three-strand braid. That means you need to be well-versed in the art of the "flat wrap." "Take a diagonal split in the back of your head, and create a left and a right section," Hawkins explains. "Next, place the right underneath the left, drape the left over the right, and wrap it up and around the head, laying it flat with bobby pins. Then, brush the right side up and over, and repeat the pinning process." It sounds a bit more complicated than it really is, but just make sure you have an even shape all over, or else your wig will be distorted.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
To keep the wig in place, you need to pin it in six strategic places. "At the upper left and upper right corners of her forehead, down in front to hold it down and tight, and where the nape meets the neck to secure the back down," Hawkins says. "Use smaller bobby pins, because they have a stronger grip and texture. Just make sure you apply the wig an inch forward from your natural hairline, so it shortens your forehead to match Elsa's."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
But, you should absolutely purchase a wig with bangs in order to get the effect of Elsa's signature crown. "Wigs can be heat-sensitive, so I just back-combed them for texture, clipped them back, sprayed hairspray, and blowdried on a low heat setting," Hawkins explains. For an animated effect, Hawkins did this in eight different sections. "Make sure, once you've finished heat styling, to apply hairspray and wait for it to dry," he adds. "Then, repeat that process so they stay in place."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
There you have it! Next-level, non-basic Elsa. Just add some blue sequins and a touch of chiffon, and you're good to go.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Pumpkin Spice
For our first costume, we decided to combine two of our ultimate guilty pleasures: the Pumpkin-Spice Latté and Spice Girls. Meet the newest addition to the girl group — a suitable replacement for Ginger, who abandoned the band at its prime. Pumpkin Spice is eccentric, bright, and enjoys everything orange — a far cry from the bare beauty preferred by our model, freelance producer Yasmin Daguilh.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The wig we chose had quite a bit of space inside it, so we needed to fill that space in order to keep it secured. "If you have long hair, the best way to do this is to start by placing a ponytail on top of your head, higher than you'd ever wear it," explains Hawkins.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Then, backcomb the tail to make a large, padded, almost beehive shape," says Hawkins.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Use hairdressers' pins to secure the shape — it should almost look like the Bride of Frankenstein. Now, when you put the Afro on top, it's going to distort the shape and give you major height at the top!"
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Before you secure your pumpkin hair, however, you should make sure that all your makeup is in place. "We started on the eyes," says Buckle. "First, we used Anastasia brow pencil to add a major '90s arch to the brows and filled them in. Think of Linda Evangelista." Again, he used RCMA products to achieve the look.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Then, you want a wash of orange across the whole eyelid, all the way up to the browbone," Buckle adds. He first lightly dusted Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Sienna with a fluffy shadow brush, and then built the color where needed.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Sienna, $21, available at Sephora.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Next, Buckle layered Mandarin, a deeper orange, to build the intensity, and brought it in underneath the bottom lashline. After, he added Espresso, a matte brown, to the outer corner of the eye, blending with a clean brush so it was evenly diffused.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Mandarin, $21, available at Sephora; Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Espresso, $21, available at Sephora.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"To finish, I put two pairs of eyelashes on her — Ardell Wispies," Buckle says. Placing them on both the top and bottom adds to the '90s-by-way-of-'60s vibe.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"For the cheeks, we wanted to do a light contour with NYX Matte Bronzer, and then popped the apples...with the orange shadow that was on her eyes," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Because it's '90s, I drew outside of her lips using Spice Lip Pencil from MAC." Fitting, no?
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"After, I applied MAC Lipstick in Morange, and layered it with Clear Lipglass." And, voila! The ultimate nostalgic pout, rendered in orange.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Now that you're done with the makeup, it's time to place the wig — but before it goes on the head, you should alter the shape. "The way to create that frothy, latte sort of shape is to completely distort the piece," Hawkins explains. "You can use a hair pick to break up the curls and pick it out, to sort of frizz it and create that aerated texture. Hold that in place with a dry-feeling aerosol hairspray, like L'Oréal Elnett. It's important to spray into the roots as well to maintain that lift and surface area."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Secure your wig so that it stays away from your forehead, using the same method as you did for your Elsa wig.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Then, grab a shift dress and get inventive with colored masking tape. To really drive the point home, add the logoed coffee-cup sleeves as cuffs, and bring a cup around with you to hold your drinks for the evening. You'll be sipping in style, Pumpkin Spice!
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
#IceBucketChallenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge was the social-media phenomenon seen 'round the world, with cold water rushing down the heads of everyone from Rita Ora to Anna Wintour. If you chose to only donate, or you missed out on the fun altogether, perhaps now's the time to jump in on the craze. And, who better to model the look than DJ and photographer Leslie Kirchhoff, who's been known to show up at the Boom Boom Room for a set dressed as an octopus taco?
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
First things first: "Use a water-soluble cake eyeliner — I chose one from Wolfe Brothers — dip it in some water, and then paint a big, oval shape to get tons of black around the eye," Buckle says. Also, add a little bit of shine powder and many coats of black, non-waterproof mascara. (You know what's coming next, don't you?)
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Then, gently squirt saline solution into your eyes, and let the black run down the face. Make sure to turn your head to different sides to get better streams of color," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
As for the hair, start fresh out of the shower, part your hair down the middle, and brush it flat. "Then, take a cup of water, put chunks of your hair into it, and lift it out," Hawkins says. "Then, repeat the process all over your head."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Then, apply gel or an oil-cream — we opted for Kérastase, but you can use anything — to the hair using a color brush. You could just use your hands, but adding the brush will remove any comb marks and make it look exactly like water was poured on top of it," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"To keep it looking wet all night, apply the oil cream in large amounts to the lengths and ends of your [wet] hair — that will trap the moisture in. Use a ton more product than you'd ever imagine using, so it stays that way all night," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"Finish by adding droplets of Josie Maran Argan Oil all over the face," Buckle says. It will create a dewy finish, it won't clog pores, and it will only add to the makeup madness that's happening.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Grab a bucket (extra credit if you throw a bucket hat into the mix), and a clear poncho, or go all-out with a DIY ice-tray necklace. There you have it: the slightly scary, but mostly awesome Halloween version of the Ice Bucket Challenge. (No ice necessary!)
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Miley Through The Ages
We know, we know — not another Miley costume. Well, hear us out because we think this is a cool twist. Miley Cyrus' evolution from teenybopper Disney star to boundary-pushing, punk-pop icon has been painfully documented by just about every website, newspaper, and magazine in existence. But, instead of going all-out Miley — far too predictable — why not have the best of both worlds? Introducing the Hannah-Miley Combo, otherwise known as Miley Montana, as seen on freelance beauty writer Molly Carroll.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"The most important thing with this look is to choose your part," Hawkins says. "On Molly, we did a slightly off-center part, which allowed us to get that full, Hannah feeling. Instead of taking it straight back, I diagonally parted to the crown, so the hair would still be evenly distributed on both sides."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
To prep the hair, Hawkins started by spritzing the Hannah side with a volumizing mist (try L'Oréal Paris Heat Protecting Blowout Spray). Then, he concentrated his dryer on the roots to add volume. Once the hair was dry, he took a 1-inch barrel curling iron and took sections "three inches long and one-and-a-half inches wide" and styled them away from the face, all the way through to the back of the head. "Then, I brushed through the curls and used my fingers to tuft hair into that more relaxed feeling."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
For the new-school Miley side, "I first created a series of ponytails," he says. "This allows you to have control over all of the hair, so you don't fight against gravity, and it holds everything in place. One of my secrets for getting a tight pony is to spray the roots with a light-hold styling spray until the root is wet, and then craft your pony." Be sure to place them as close as possible to the part, so they sit on the round of the head and are as tall as possible.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"It's best to curl each pony before you create the actual knot," Hawkins notes. "That way, when you start twisting the hair onto itself, it will curl and wrap around, which makes it so much easier." To create the shape you see here, once the hair has cooled, simply brush it out smooth and then twist it in one straight line. Then, grab the roots and twist it until it turns onto itself. "Once it turns, keep sliding, twisting, and wrapping it around until you start wrapping the mid-shaft of the hair around the base. As you go, the hair should keep spiraling under, so the ends are at the very base, which gives them height." Secure in place with "U" shaped pins, and then spray with hairspray until it's dry. Then, repeat that process. You can either do one knot or multiple, depending on how much hair you have.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The first thing Buckle noticed about the Miley-Hannah split was that Miley's gotten significantly more sun-conscious as she's aged. Hannah was more of a bronze-y goddess, whereas the new Miley is decidedly more alabaster. "I put the pale foundation on first, and then I taped the face down the middle so it overlapped a little bit on the finished side. Then, I applied the tan makeup. When I peeled it off, we had a nice, clean edge," he says.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"For Hannah, I added a little bit of Benefit Hoola Bronzer for contour, and then applied my vibrant pink blush, called Diva," he says. On the eyes, a classic smoky look was in order. "Using my face and eye palette, I applied a caramel color all over the lid for a base. Then, I used two different bronze colors, Matinée and Backstage, up on the outer corners and in the crease, finally wrapping it underneath the lower, outer corner as well." To finish, he placed false lashes on the outer corners, followed by a few quick coats of mascara.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"For Miley, I filled in the brows for light definition, and then I added my black shadow, called Scandal, to the outer corners of the eye on top and bottom, to pull it out a little bit," Buckle says. "Then, I added spiky upper and lower lashes and a lot of YSL Baby Doll Mascara — Miley naturally has very long lashes!" To add her signature, dewy finish, he dusted the high planes of the face with Mally Luminizer.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
As for the lips, Buckle managed to tackle both sides at once. "The left was easy — just use a tinted lip balm, like mine in Hug Me, for a slightly glossy pinky-nude," he says. And, that gorgeous red? "It's the same color I use on Christina [Aguilera]," he says. "Miley's people called me to find out what I use on her, because it doesn't move when you're performing or get on the microphone. It's called LipSense, and the color is Blue-Red. You have to buy it online."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
To finish off the look, paint gold eyeshadow by Make Up For Ever onto your hair, remove the "U" pins, and spray hairspray on the Miley side of your head. Blowdry to seal it in place. It's important that you don't remove the pins until the last minute, or else your knots may unravel!
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Add one metallic leotard, a bizarrely-fringed and sequined dress that you would've worn to junior prom, and mismatched shoes — and you've got the look! Tongue hanging out of your mouth all night completely optional: Just don't mess up that lipstick.
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