DIY Natural Halloween Face Paints

Oct, 27, 2021

Trick or treat! Halloween is here and I am scrambling to make costumes for the kids. So far, we have one wolf and one math problem (!!?), both requiring face paints. Instead of using store bought face paints, though, I will make them because most face paints contain harsh chemicals. Sadly, companies are not required to disclose that these products may contain dangerous chemicals, and parents should know what they are putting on their children’s faces. Lead, nickel and pesticides are no part of Halloween fun.

What’s more, at the end of the day, those chemicals are washed down the drain and ultimately must be treated before our tap water is drinkable. Some of those toxins will even find their way into our lakes and oceans. 

So to turn kids into eco-scary little goblins and witches, this mom will be searching her kitchen cupboards for colors that will do the trick. Let the fun begin with a small bit of avocado for green, and ketchup or jam for red. For brown, cream up a little cocoa powder or chocolate sauce. Mixing confectioner’s sugar with water will do for white. A teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in a cup of warm water makes a suitable hair gel.

For homemade paint, try this recipe: 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup lotion
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Food coloring

For natural food colors, use these:

  • Green: spirulina powder or puréed spinach or avocado with a squirt of lemon juice. 
  • Red: cranberry juice or beet powder.
  • Yellow: turmeric.
  • Orange: carrot juice. 
  • Pink: Dragon fruit powder 
  • Purple: seedless blackberry or blueberry jam, or puréed and strained blackberries or blueberries. 
  • Brown: instant coffee or cocoa powder. 


Mash the paint ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Separate this basic white paste into several batches if you need a variety of colors. Mix any of the color ingredients into the paste. After the paste has dried on the skin, dab a little coconut oil on the surface. 

To create scary warts and wounds:

  • 1 ounce of plain unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons of boiling water

Stir and let it sit for three minutes. Next, pour the mixture onto wax paper or a similar surface. Work quickly, shape the gelatin to form your wart or scar. Mix in a few drops of red food coloring for a wound or green for a witch’s wart. You can be creative by adding a bit of corn syrup, oatmeal, coffee grounds or even some paint brush bristles. Once your creations have dried, adhere them with corn syrup — but first let the corn syrup dry. These are best made on the same day that the costume will be worn. Children will have even more enjoyment by learning how to prepare the final touches of their costumes.

Unless your child opts to go trick-or-treating as a ghost with large eye holes cut out of an old sheet, you will most likely have to deal with some  type of makeup. Just as children run down the street with their capes and fancy dresses hemmed so they don’t trip, you’ll want them to be equally safe with the makeup they wear.

Fredrika Syren

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