Halloween costumes definitely come in various levels of commitment. We’ve got the plan-ahead group that knows a whole 11 months prior what their theme is, the creative crafters who get to work two months ahead of time, and the 10-minutes-before-leaving-the-house crew. But, did you know there’s a whole other group of Halloween goers? The nail artist-obsessed friends. Now, you might think that a costume takes more planning than nails, but once you see this collection of intricate and beautiful designs, you’ll realize that they’re a total work of art in their own right — taking painstaking effort.
Even if you’re skipping the Halloween makeup, why not take a spooky self-care break to paint some cute ghosties, candy-corn stripes, or black cats on your nails? Luckily, countless nail artists on Instagram are equally enthused about the eerie magic October 31, with some serving spider-webbed French tips, sleek orange-and-black designs, and candy-corn stripes, while others offer up oozing blood drips and skillful homages to pop culture’s scariest serial killers.
Whether or not you’re heading to the nail salon to get your digits done for Halloween, you can use these creators’ looks for inspiration. And, as always, you can give them your own twist, too, if you feel like adding your personal touch. These fun manicure ideas can stand on their own if you’re not dressing up or serve as an awesome enhancement to your costume and scary Halloween makeup. Here are the coolest ways to wear your Halloween spirit on your fingertips in 2022.
Color-Changing Paint Drips
For this manicure you’ll need to use a gel polish system (which isn’t recommended if you aren’t trained), but there are some powders that work with normal nail polish and even certain polishes that give that color changing effect without the need for chrome powders.”
Holographic Blood Drip Tips
Chic Blood Drips
Tiny Skeleton Bones
To get into the Halloween spirit, you don’t always need to dress as a skeleton, when designs look as good as this one by digital creator Kristin Kuyper, you can wear the theme on your nails instead. This requires some patience and a steady hand, first starting with a jet black base shade, then moving onto carefully placing the bones in a white hue. If you aren’t a keen DIY nail artist, take this inspiration to the salon with you.
Spooky French Tips
We honestly didn’t know a themed Halloween manicure could get as chic as this one created by digital creator Melanie. This is definitely a design to try at home, because instead of having to painstakingly hand paint these characters, you simply stick them on. For this design Melanie used the Deco Mani nail art stickers and carefully placed them over the top of her black and white French tips. Chic and easy equals a winning Halloween combo in our eyes.
Spooky Bones Lettering
Ring in the spooky season with a handful of bones — literally! Emily Gilmour expertly created this lettering drawn from bones complete with an adorable skeleton accent nail. Unless you’ve got the patience of a saint, this is one to take to your nail tech for inspiration.
You don’t have to be literal with your nail art during the spooky season, but instead take elements of the season and incorporate different techniques, just like this manicure created by NYC-based nail artist Sky. For this set, grab various shades of blue and green and swirl them together on a palette, then pick them up using a nail art brush and gently guide them onto the nail and it should create this smoky effect. Next up, using a detail brush, add on some stars and moons. Finally, finish it off with a matte-effect top coat and you’ll have this dazzling set.
Slime and Stripes
If you want to partake in the spooky season festivities without it being completely obvious, take this design as inspiration. The matte black hues, monochrome stripes and lime green slime scream Halloween, but only to those who are looking close enough.
Negative Space French Tips
These negative space tips with a starry night pattern, created by LA-based manicurist Thuy Nguyen, are the witch glam we didn’t know we needed in our lives. This is one you’ll definitely want to visit the salon for, ask for a reverse French tip with a clear free edge tip, a true black hue and some delicate black stars to embellish the set.
Nightmare Before Christmas Pink Edition
When your Halloween manicure looks this good (and incredibly detailed), it becomes a costume party winner all of its own accord. Florida-based nail artist Vivian created this Nightmare Before Christmas set with a pink twist. Now, unless you’re a total nail art whiz, this is probably one to take to your nail tech for inspiration. If you’re not feeling the patience to sit for a full set, why not take inspiration from Vivian’s design by choosing one or two accent nails? That way, you’ve got the magic of the scene without the commitment of a full set.
Pumpkin French Tips
Bet you never thought you could love pumpkins on a set of nails so much? These are simply adorable and we want them painted on our nails right away. To try this design at home, start with a neutral-toned base and then choose five other autumnal hues that will form your pumpkin. Begin creating a rounded tip (where your classic French tip would go) with those shades, making sure to create a small indent to form that pumpkin shape. Then, using a detailing brush, go in with a black shade and outline those pumpkins, adding personality with stalks.
Negative Space Slime
If you’re not ready to try a full set of nails, negative space is a great way to hop on the Halloween nail art train. Simply choose your favorite spooky season-themed designs and ask your nail artist (or try at home!) to paint these onto a clear base coat.Go as literal or abstract as you want! Finish off with a super shiny top coat or a matte top coat for different effects.
Matte Black Bats
Playing around with matte and shiny top coats on a black nail polish shade is a super cool way to spook-ify a traditional Halloween character. Take this badass set by Minnesota-based nail artist Sydney who painted on a spooky bat design in a high shine top coat on a matte base to make it stand out without the use of other shades.
Matte Black and White Ghosts
Possibly the cutest little ghost we’ve ever seen belongs to this set of nails. Playing with contrasting black and white shades, as well as matte and glossy finishes gives even the simplest of designs an extra special something. This is a great design to take inspiration from to try at home since you can buy matte top coats from most beauty supply stores.
Jazz up a spiderweb design by painting on a jelly nail base like nail artist Gabbi did for this set. If you’ve got a steady hand and a jelly nail polish, this is one you might want to try your hand at recreating at home.
Itsy Bitsy Spiders
We’ve seen so many versions of the classic French manicure but we’ve never seen a cobweb French manicure before, and it makes a perfect Halloween design. Ask your nail tech to swap out the regular French tip for a spiderweb design, then add on some teeny spiders and finish off with a matte top coat.
Hand Painted Halloween Figures
When steel blue tips become Halloween artwork! Rosie of Nails Bab created this intricate set complete with a spooky skull, rose, spider, eyeball, and fangs that screams Halloween. You’ll definitely need to visit a specialist nail artist in hand painting if you’re inspired to take this photo to a salon. Who said French tips are boring? Certainly not us.
Chrome Green Wet-Look Nails
This chrome green set created by LA-based Michelle Won is our new obsession, it’s that simple. Proving that not all epic Halloween manicures need to be intricate to be incredible, sometimes you just need a long canvas to work on, an epic chrome power, and some super realistic water droplets.
Thought you couldn’t love Gudetama anymore? Allow nail artist Emily Gilmour to change your mind. This accent nail design combining Gudetama and a pumpkin is both the most intricate and adorable thing we’ve possibly ever seen. This nail art is so good in fact, we’d be basing our entire costume around it.
When spooky becomes glitter and galaxy and the outcome looks like this, we certainly wouldn’t be complaining. This design, created by West Seattle-based artist Noelle, is stunning. Incorporating layers of black saturation in the base coat, flecks of holographic glitter and the best part, glowing stars. Noelle added a slightly more transparent white shade underneath the white star to create this glowing effect, proving that tiny details can make all the difference in nail art.
Whilst these aren’t traditional Halloween nails, they sure do deserve a spot on your inspiration list for the spooky season. Created by a sister-owned salon Hey Nice Nails, this manicure uses a reflective glitter gel placed in swirl patterns on half of each nail. It’s finished off with teeny tiny metallic gold stars added to give the set a little extra magic. The best part? They light up in a completely different way with flash on, essentially giving you two nail designs in one!
If you’re going futuristic with your costume this year, take inspiration from this silver chrome set. We’re in 2022 but artist Michelle Won is in 2052 after creating this textured set. This season, don’t wear jewelry, be the jewelry.
Comme Des Garçons Devils
Comme Des Garçons but make it spooky is exactly what nail artist Abi Markey did with this set. Taking inspiration from Comme Des Garçons with a French manicure and adding a Halloween twist, she combined three trends in one. The result? A cute, spooky-themed French manicure that will surely get people’s attention.
Spookily Cute Characters
We challenge you to find a cuter set of spooky characters than this manicure! This manicure has it all: pastel shades, watermarble, sweet characters, a black cat, and an itsy bitsy spider. With a little patience and the right tools (a dotting tool and detailing brush), this is one for the DIY enthusiasts to try at home. Recreate this design or take small aspects from it depending on your skill level.
Chucky Meets Candyman
There’s no better way of showing off that you’re a total horror movie buff by combining two iconic Halloween movie favorites: Chucky and Candyman — and Phoenix-based manicurist Adreanna showed us exactly how it’s done. Starting with a neon yellow base and carefully hand painting each of the movie’s characters, complete with the film’s lettering and topped off with a matte topcoat so that every last bit of detail shows through. Recreating this manicure yourself requires a trip to a specialist artist with epic hand painting skills.
Sometimes your manicure doesn’t have to look Halloween-esque, it can say it instead — literally! We can’t get enough of this spooky lettering by East Sussex-based nail artist Jaz. If you want to try this design at home, consider getting nail stickers or decals so you can focus on your message rather than mastering intricate lettering. Top off with a matte top coat so that the letters stand out even more.
Cat Eye Halloween Scene
Level up any Halloween manicure with an epic cat eye base shade like this design by digital creator Aistė Plechaviciute. We cannot get enough of this velvet look with orange accents to create a night sky scene with tiny bats and stars for a magical Halloween look.
Glow-in-the-Dark Bat Splatter
The highlighter shade of this pointed manicure is incredible in broad daylight, especially with its built-in black speckles. But it really shines — literally — when the lights go out because the dip-powder color, Bat Symbol by Etsy’s Dip Hustle, glows in the dark. Perfect lighting the way through spooky haunted houses, they feel especially Halloween-appropriate thanks to the little black bat silhouettes added to an accent nail by Dallas-based nail artist Alma.
Orange-and-black manicures will always work well for Halloween, but you can add so much more personality to the colors with gorgeous graphics like the ones by U.K.-based nail artist Aimee. The flawless orange ombré is topped off by witchy illustrations in matte black and white, like a snake, a moon, and potions. Little dots and stars keep it looking more cute than creepy.
Extremely long, pointy nails can seem like weapons — and this manicure by California-based nail artist Courtney Cantwell looks like it was used exactly that way. She used Valentino Pure Beauty’s Gel Colour in 123 Siren to create the not-quite opaque, blood-dripping tips that appear to have recently stabbed someone. The sheer pink base adds an “oops, I wasn’t expecting to impale anyone with my mani today” innocence.
The adorable little varied ghosts on the tips of this manicure by U.K.-based nail artist India Jade look like they’re having a frighteningly good time dancing at a shimmering disco. The Gel Bottle Inc’s lavender Flax shade is coated in iridescent glitter for a look that combines glam with ghouls in the cutest of ways.
From a distance, this pastel masterpiece by Orlando-area nail artist Ceirra Carlini-Smith looks like a sweet, springtime, tie-dye-inspired manicure. Look a little closer, however, and you realize the graphics are straight out of the movie Scream — just with a bit of a flower-child twist. We love how it’s a super cute way to wear your enthusiasm for Halloween without an in-your-face obviousness.
Even Halloween’s traditional orange-and-black color combo doesn’t have to look obvious in manicure form. Rachel Schmitz created the coolest transition effect by painting the pinky black, and the ring finger with a metallic gray glitter that fades into a peachy orange on the middle finger — Cascade Color Works dip powder in Onyx, Nebula, and Salmon respectively. That soft shade extends through the rest of the manicure for a festive but not flagrant Halloween look.
At a glance, this manicure by Welsh nail artist Grace Andrew looks like bubbly, abstract shapes in black and white on a sheer pink base. Look more closely, however, and you’ll see that it’s a scene — a bat flying against the clouds on a starry night. When that happens in real life, it may seem a little scary, but on nails, it’s truly lovely.
The metallic purple to black ombré on this super long, pointy manicure really nails the goth mood of Halloween on its own, but Houston nail artist Christie Schobel takes it to another level with neon-green graphics. Fluorescent moons, spiderwebs, snakes, smile drips, and more pop out with an incredible contrast against the moody base color.
Sparkly, Spooky Cuties
The great thing about Halloween nails is that they run the gamut from gory to witchy to downright cutesy, like this manicure done at Huntington Beach, California’s Polish Me Pretty. The silvery, shimmery, holographic base of these almond-shaped nails are topped off with adorable bat, ghost, and heart graphics — all with smiley faces — in black, orange, white, and green.
Orange Ombré Spiderwebs
The orange ombré effect of these pointy, long nails is almost reminiscent of candy corn — though you definitely wouldn’t want to eat candy corn covered in spiders. Arizona-based nail artist Kaylee Barraza used a detail brush to add delicate spiderwebs and a couple of creepy spiders atop the bright, matte orange to create a Halloween-as-hell manicure.
Anatomically speaking, these nails by Minnesota-based nail artist Zoe are… not correct. But they are so awesome. She painted opaque, white bones — which are hilariously pointed at the tips — over sheer, jelly-like, blood-red nails, the length of which are not for the timid. (But then again, neither is a spooky design like this.)
This mystical manicure by California-based nail artist Sabrina Fagundes is a whimsically witchy way to celebrate Halloween. And it proves that any color you’re in the mood for — like this dusty periwinkle — can work for a spooky manicure when you enhance it with details like eyes, snakes, and a starry sky.
Nightmare Before Christmas Nails
Houston-based nail artist Kristin Cornett tells Allure this Halloween-themed manicure was inspired by the infamous ’90s scary movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. “I used a thin long-haired brush and a lot of patience to create the details in this look,” she says. “I used some fun chrome colors to give the nails some interesting depth, and who doesn’t love a little glitter?”
California-based nail artist Jordan Aleccia is the brains behind this adorably spooky manicure. All of the little details, like the heart-eyed pumpkin and the ghost sticking out its tongue, are what make this look out of the ordinary.
Candy Corn and Spiderweb Nails
This super-simple Halloween-themed manicure only requires a few colors — plus, you don’t need to be a pro at all to do it justice. “This look was inspired by candy corn, obviously,” says Cornett, who used a matte topcoat on the black nails to “create depth.” She also used a small piece of a makeup sponge to create the blended lines on the candy corn nails.
Mismatched Halloween-Themed Designs
For the faint of heart, this cheery design featuring faceless witches, black and neon-colored stripes, a cauldron (and more fun Halloween-inspired details) is a must-try. You could recreate it with stickers (these will do the trick), or, if you’re feeling up for the challenge, attempt it freehand with a detail brush (like this one).
Horror Movie Nails
How scary-realistic is this horror movie-inspired manicure by Cornett? “The detail work on each of the faces is all hand-painted,” she says. “And for the blood spatter, I used a straw and a little polish on the end to get the splattered effect — it was a bit messy, but definitely worth it.”
Corpse Bride Nails
Another spooky manicure created by Cornett, this one features blue and green matte polish, which she used to “create some contrast between the nails.” For the sky design, she used a sponge to get the creepy faded look, and for the cobweb, she used a long-haired brush and careful handiwork.
Green and Purple Oogie Boogie Nails
Another scary-cool creation from Aleccia — aka @decorateddigits — is this tribute to one of the spookiest Halloween villains of all: The Oogie Boogie Man. We love the purple and green polishes; the combo is a great go-to look for any fans of neon.
Ouija Board Nails
How meta would it be if you used a Ouija board while wearing this Ouija board manicure? San Francisco-based nail artist @Rawrrgina used black polish to add the familiar symbols of the seance-inspired game over a cream-colored base with matte gold glitter.
Frankenstein’s French Tips
Arguably the easiest Halloween manicure to achieve at home, this design inspired by Frankenstein’s monster from @chalkboardnails only requires black and metallic-green nail polishes, a detailing brush, and a steady hand.
Red, White, Black, and Scary AF
This intricate manicure created by @rawrrgina is another nod to horror movies of the past — and an incredible one at that. Her best tip for hand-painted looks like this: “Plan your design ahead of time! I usually sketch out what I want first on paper, or on my iPad, and that’s really helpful.”
When recreating this specific look, you’ll definitely want to have solid red, white, and black polishes on hand, as well as a tiny thin brush and a dotting tool for the details.
So much yes to this spooky glow-in-the-dark look, which features all different pumpkin faces for an equal parts fun-and-creepy effect. “Glow pigment is easy and so fun to use,” says @rawrrgina. “Just paint something with gel and sprinkle on some glow-in-the-dark pigment while it’s sticky for a unique light-up look.”
“One Bite” Nails
Disney-inspired art isn’t usually all that spooky, but @decorateddigits proves it absolutely can be. This tribute to Snow White’s evil Queen (and her poison apple) makes for a wicked Halloween mani.
Chances are, you’ve seen plenty of iterations of this French-tipped manicure featuring tiny cherry details. @Thecosmostudio brings an original Halloween twist to the look by replacing the cherries with itty-bitty black skulls.
Duo-Chrome Bats and Birds
Crows and ominous trees don’t appear in Halloween manicures nearly as often as they ought to. Nail artist @iamdeliasnails uses a polish that shifts between orange and olive green as the background for an eerie depiction of bats and birds hanging from hand-painted branches. She doesn’t say whether she did the designs freehand or used stickers, but if you’re a beginner, it can’t hurt to use some spooky press-ons or nail wraps.
Glowing-in-the-Dark Ghost Nails
This glow-in-the-dark ghost look is cuter than it is scary. You could use the aforementioned glow pigment to get this look — or find some fun glowing ghost stickers for a similar feel. Simply place the stickers on top of whatever black polish you have in your collection and you’ll be good to go.
“These are the ultimate eerie Halloween nails,” says Flordia-based nail artist, Sophia Fraccalvieri. “I used Nailz by Dev’s Hella Cute Liner Brush to help me create the best crisp linework every time.” For the full effect, try filing your nails into this pointy triangular shape.
Breathing Fire and Freaky Eye Nail Art
Both creepy and really cool, this look by @rawrrgina features red and yellow, dragon fire-like designs, as well as abstract white and black drawings of eyes and a witchy-esque hand with long nails.
Red Rum Nails
For this look inspired by the famous ’80s horror flick, The Shining, Fraccalvieri used Vetro’s Black Gel Polish, which is her go-to for any type of nail art. “It made creating these spooky Halloween stilettos so easy,” she says.
Orange and Black Halloween Nails
Instagram user @Janice.t.nails opts for a less literal take on the Halloween manicure trend by offsetting this black-and-white checkerboard pattern with one bright-orange accent nail. Pumpkins might feel overdone by the end of fall, but this use of pumpkin orange works any time of year.
There are few moments in horror movies more chilling than when the hands of the undead start emerging from the ground. @nailsandstuff_here puts those moments in nail art by using a stamping plate, multiple green nail polish shades, and one black polish.
Pastel Pink Nails with Black and White Designs
Not all Halloween nail art designs need to be ghoulish, and this look by @mausigrau proves it. Give any spooky nail design a dainty twist by using a pastel base shade like the pink seen here.
Happy Ghost Nails
Sure, ghosts are a frequently used subject for Halloween-themed manicures, but @polishedella keeps things fresh and unexpected with varying shapes, expressions, and a metallic purple base.
Bloody Vampire Nails
With the help of transparent nail extensions and a few different shades of red, @ayanexbeauty created these unique designs that look exactly like blood dispersing through water. You know that horrific scene in IT when Beverly gets a visit from Pennywise in her bathroom? This is that scene in nail-art form.
Blood Drip Nails
[Kylie Jenner brought the dripping nail-art trend to life last year, and this take from @asideofnails infuses Halloween spirit into it with blood-red accents on a white base.
Orange Glitter Nails
Nail technician @nailbruja found another genius way to incorporate the ghost motif into a manicure. These talons are made with hand-sculpted acrylic, which she infused with a chunky orange glitter base. If you’ll look closely, you’ll see a few teeny ghost- and bat-shaped glitters pieces in there, too.
Friday the 13th Nails
Those who need something quicker and easier can opt for a basic manicure with an accent nail, like this one @ravennailsmx created as a reference to Jason from Friday the 13th. Though all those dots and lines look hard to pull off, all they require for at-home application is one thin nail-art brush and one dotting tool.
Shimmery Spiderweb Nails
French-tipped manicures have been trending for all of 2020, so why not combine their forces with another popular Halloween motif, spiderwebs, for something that’s equally eerie and trendy? @Nailsbyyeya amps up the creep factor with color-shifting purple and gunmetal gray base shades.
Black Cat and Spiderweb Nails
The bright oranges, purples, and greens traditionally associated with Halloween might be too lively for goths at heart. This simple all-black design by @blackheart_nails keeps things dark with spiderwebs peeking out near the cuticle and an adorable black cat accent thumbnail.
Orange and Black Spiderweb Nails
Created by nail art mastermind Madeline Poole, who’s behind the Best of Beauty-winning ManiMe gel nail stickers, this Halloween-themed creation couldn’t be easier to do. Poole used the brand’s Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Halloween collection, including two coasts of Sun Kissed (the gorgeous bright-orange hue you see here).
She then used a dotting tool to create the spiders: “Paint a random assortment of dots with a smaller dot and slightly larger dot connected, which will be the body of your spider.” See? It couldn’t be more simple.
Skeleton-Themed Nail Art
Turn your nails into an x-ray illusion with this brilliant idea from Los Angeles-based nail artist Kandi Yamz. She used Bio Seaweed Gel in Sarah for the pitch-black backdrop, and Nail Labo‘s white potted gel for the distal phalanges. Everyone will be pointing out how cool your manicure is.
Everything All At Once
User @laublm combines all the best Halloween symbols — cats, Ouija, spiders, webs, crow’s feathers — in one glittery nail-art package. She attributes its incredible details to a stamping plate. This one by Wistonia features an array of spooky designs — including webs, ghosts, spiders, and skeletons.
Itty-Bitty Eyeball Nails
Eyes as part of someone’s face? Pretty. Eyeballs anywhere else? Pretty creepy — but also kinda cute in the case of this manicure. Betina Goldstein used all Essie nail polishes to paint bloodshot blue eyes at the base of nearly-nude nails: Blushing Bride for the base, Blanc for the eyeballs, Strut Your Stuff for the irises, Licorice for the pupils, and Geranium for the veins.
Orange and Black Marble Nails
A marble effect isn’t limited to just shades of white and gray. Use a black and orange pair of polishes like Finnish nail artist Ira P. did to create a sophisticated yet spirited manicure with the Halloween’s traditional colors.
Blood Splatter Nails
Nail artist Cassie Craig created this bloody stiletto manicure for one of her South Florida clients, but she was happy to tell Allure how you can create the chic-yet-gory look on your own: “I used Bio Seaweed Gel Unity All-In-One polish in the shade Poppy for the solid-colored nails, and the ‘blood splatter’ is OPI’s Raisin’ the Bar in the regular polish formula.”
Freddy Krueger Nails
Why wear a glove to convey Freddy Krueger’s infamous blades when you can just make them a part of your manicure? Walker captured the horror-movie villain’s weapon of choice with extra-long stiletto nails and gave a nod to his signature striped sweater on the thumbnail.
Green Slime Nails
Whether you’re inspired by ectoplasm or alien entrails, this two-tone manicure is a great way to achieve a gross idea in a cool way. Ira P. applied a chartreuse shade in different drippy shapes over white polish to create an appropriately oozy look.
Metallic Skull Nails
Both minimalist and impressively detailed, this incredibly cool manicure features intricate skulls on bare nails. Walker used a gold polish to created a sketched look on the off-white heads, which were painted at various angles.
Spiderweb Ombré Nails
This nail art may look like something you’d need to go to a pro for, but UK-based nail blogger Jasmine Noble used stamps to achieve both ombré effect and the spider-web details. She used a nail polish specifically made for stamping by Born Pretty, which also makes a special stamp sponge for gradient effects. Two Halloween-themed stamping plates by Uber Chic were used for the spiders and webs.
Moon Phase Nails
A full moon might be what brings out werewolves, but this beautiful manicure by Ira P. works for Halloween and every other non-monstrous day of the year. The black base and matte finish lets the shading on the moons really stand out.
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