Why Halloween Should be Every Makeup Artist's Favorite Holiday

With Halloween right around the corner, children around the country are getting excited as visions of armfuls of candy, an awesome superhero costume, and fun school activities dance around their heads. But children aren’t the only folks who can hardly wait for the calendar to hit October 31, and no, we don’t mean adults prepping for their office parties.

For make-up artists, Halloween is the perfect storm. Part showcase and part opportunity to go wild, Halloween lets make-up artists not only show off their talents and detailed, precise designs, but it also lets make-up artists use their imagination more than ever to dream up extravagant designs without worrying about going over the top.  Here are some of the primary reasons why make-up artists should love Halloween if they don’t already.

It’s lucrative

Halloween may seem like a simple opportunity for kids to dress up and go around their neighborhoods collecting candy, but the holiday is also big business. The National Retail Federation estimated 170 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, according to a survey that also expects consumer spending on candy, decorations, and costumes to reach $8 billion prior to Halloween 2012. A different survey from the NRF broke down the spending and reported that Americans are expected to spend about $2.87 billion on costumes – and guess what products and profession fall under the “costume” umbrella, make-up and make-up artists.

It may seem like the biggest beneficiary of Americans’ Halloween largesse would be the retail stores that are selling the cosmetic products being used for costumes, but some people are perfectionists when it comes to their costume and they need their makeup to be skillfully applied, which is where make-up artists come in. If you are dressing as a zombie and you want to look as realistic as possible, are you really going to trust your parents or your friends with applying your gruesome features?  Make-up artists will not only professionally apply the makeup to your costume if you so choose, but they also may be willing to give you tips, ingredients, and techniques you can use at home to try and complete the costume yourself.

when i wake up in my makeup
Image Courtesy of Kait Jarbeau

It allows make-up artists to flex their creative muscles

Establishing yourself as a talented make-up artist is not easy. For many, the art of applying make-up to someone’s face or body is a precise and detailed science where one small mistake can ruin the whole intent of the make-up. This means that many make-up artists, especially those who work in the entertainment industry, have their creativity handicapped by strict instructions on what make-up to apply and how to apply it. Many consumers and customers on Halloween will have specific instructions as well, but for the lucky make-up artists who are given no limits for their design, everything but the kitchen sink is fair game.

Just ask Angie Davis a.k.a. Goldie Starling, who has amassed more than 113,000 YouTube subscribers with her incredibly detailed and creepy makeup tutorials that include tips and instructions on how to turn yourself or someone else into a scary clown, or a pirate, or Jack the Ripper. Thanks to a diverse range of choices and no limits on the design, Starling goes all out in her designs and the results are some of the more compelling, detailed, and gaudy makeup designs you will ever see. And she is not alone. When Halloween comes around, many makeup artists around the country get the opportunity to let their creativity run wild.

It helps that consumers are trending towards purchasing more professional and extravagant costumes designs because it means the make-up artists can take risks and be bold with their designs because a holiday like Halloween was meant for over-the-top costumes. An added bonus is that when some make-up artists are able to free themselves from the shackles of instructions and really cut loose, they are able to create bold, unique, and amazing designs that they potentially wouldn’t have been able to create in their day job. 

Halloween acts as a natural showcase opportunity

Is there a better way to showcase your artistic ability then to have dozens of subjects walking the local neighborhoods wearing makeup designed by you? Make-up artists who aren’t fortunate enough to have their work displayed in magazines, and movies and plays have to claw tooth and nail for opportunities to showcase their work and get their name out to the public. On Halloween, your work is displayed on a walking, talking, living billboards whose primary intention – aside from collecting as much candy as possible – is to show off their costume for its creativity, originality, intricacy, or all of the above.

Don’t get carried away and start stamping your signature right in the middle of your subjects’ foreheads, just add your unique flair and aesthetics to the makeup design and then let your talent and your hard work do the showcasing for you. Part of the fun of Halloween is seeing what other people dress up as.  On October 31, almost everyone is acutely aware of what everyone else is wearing, making it the perfect opportunity to show off your skill in make-up design.

When we talk about popular national holidays, Halloween can be easily forgotten. After all, no one gets the day off from work or school; there aren’t any new video games or outfits coming; and there is no historic national event for us to celebrate. But for artists and make-up artists in particular, Halloween is their Super Bowl. Some artists take Halloween art work so seriously that they have formed online marketplaces and guilds where they can link with other Halloween-obsessed artists and their dark artwork. So while it may look like the zombie apocalypse has started in your neighborhood this Wednesday, that probably just means there are some talented make-up artists in your area.

Jonathan Koenig is an art enthusiast interested in matching aspiring artists with a career that can help them pursue their passion and make a living at the same time. His website, TheArtCareerProject.com, is an art career resource dedicated to helping potential art students find information about schools, careers, and job prospects.

Similar Articles you may like:

-    Cosmetology Students Transform Wigs for Heritage Days

-    Cosmetology Students Undercut the Competition

-    Makeup Artists: Breaking into the Makeup Industry

-    Farmington Makeup Artist Wins $35K YouTube Contest