Easy Halloween Costume: The Sugar Skull

This post contains affiliate links. We may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.


Thank you Cadan, for sharing your culture and artistic talent in this fun post!

Take it away Cadan…

We all tell our kids not to write on the walls, themselves or their siblings (oh, and grandpa, BIG no-no).  Well, this is one of those times where the rule becomes null and void

Why you ask?  Well, because it’s HALLOWEEN!!!

And the only way we can make this “costume” come alive, is to paint our faces with vibrant colors and fanciful designs!  This is my third “sugar skull”, and I absolutely love doing these!  

When it comes to last minute costume ideas, a painted face is the perfect solution. 

It can be as straightforward as turning your child into an Army soldier, by painting vertical camouflage lines of green and black.   Or you can take it a step further! This particular sugar skull is from a new movie coming out this October.

I will take you step by step through the entire process.  When you are finished you’ll want them to wear their new look for days, as you will be so impressed by what you have just created. However, maybe let’s just take pictures and wash it off that night 😉

Note: The face paints sticks (PS) and watercolor pencils (WCP) used in this tutorial are all non-toxic.  Always be careful when working around the eyes.  Also, please use non-sharpened/dull pencils.  Those pictured were much sharper then they needed to be and I ended up working them down a bit.  They are much safer and also work better.  There are so sides to the paint sticks blunt and angled.  I’ll refer to those below.  The paint sticks and the pencils can be found at any art supply store or online.

Let’s get started!

Time: 30min.-45min. (depending on the level of detail you chose to do)

Gather and Prep.

Sugar Skull Halloween Makeup


Start with a clean face, free from lotions or make-up. Grab the white paint stick.  With the blunt side, begin covering the entire face except around the eyes with white (If you find the white is a little dry, I found rubbing it into my palm helped soften it).  

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup


Find your red watercolor pencil and dip it into the water.  Let it sit for a few seconds.  Start outlining both eyes (very carefully), just under the white.

Sugar Skull Halloween Makeup


Now with the same red make another line inside the circle you just made.  For the top inner line start from the top of the nose, over the eyebrow following the eyebrow down then meeting up with your outer line.  For the bottom inner line, start where you did before, swoop down atop the cheekbone and meet up with your top line.  Fill it in with red!



Grab the black paint stick (remember the trick above to warming it up, if needed) and using the angled side outline the red, then fill in around the eyes in black leaving the eyelid naked.


With your blue PS and using the angled side.  Cover the eyelid.  You may also use a small brush here if it is easier.  Wet the brush just a tad and drag the brush over the blue and apply as you would a lipstick with a brush. 

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup


With your red WCP, draw a heart in the center of the forehead.  Add a little “V” at the top of the heart, then a horizontal oval atop the “V”.  Add in 5 dots down the nose and some lines around the top and bottom of the heart.  I ended up covering up the bottom accent lines.  I drew a pretty big heart 😉 Next with your orange WCP (always dip them in water first) begin to make little circles on the outer edge of your red.  Do this around both eyes.

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup


Now for the dots.  Dip your purple WCP into the water for a few seconds.  I used a sponge for this part. Go around and make a dot inside each of the orange circles. Each time I felt the pencil was getting dry I would dip it into the water, kind of like a brush, and dab it onto the sponge.  I would then squeeze the sponge whenever I needed a bit more moisture on the tip of the pencil.

Sugar Skull Halloween Makeup


With your purple WCP, draw a “V” on the tip of the nose.  Follow the shape of the nose down each side and meet in the middle under the nose.  Draw a line down the middle of the cupids bow (cute name).  Fill in with the purple color.  Adding the accents.  I didn’t really go into detail on the details….but as you can see from the picture, I created swirls using the yellow WCP and a star above the heart.  I also made a little design that reminded me of a lotus flower on the chin and continued with the swirls around the chin and around the face.

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup


With the redish/pink PS, using the angled end.  Fill in the lips.  Then with the purple WCP, make evenly spaced lines on the lips.  Add in a few stars as accents with the same purple.  

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup

You may have noticed the left side (your left, as you look at the photo) has been outlined in red all around the orange circles.  Depending on the level of detail you want or if you are creating this look on a child, how long they will sit for, you may add the red or you may leave it as is.  You may also outline the black around the eye using the purple WCP, to add more of a dramatic look.

Sugar Skull Halloween Makeup

Todo Hecho!…. All Done!

If your workspace looks like this…you’ve done a superb job!

Sugar skull Halloween Makeup

cadan bio

What is your favorite costume? 

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


Comments are closed.