Halloween isn’t a holiday–it’s a season.
The first day of October, I broke out my Halloween nail stamping plates and covered my nails in spiderwebs, ravens, and portraits of Edgar Allen Poe. There’s no way I’m going to contain my Halloween excitement to one day or even one week. The whole month of October is filled with horror movies, apple cider, pumpkins, and fake spiderwebs clogging the doorways.
Nail art is a more subtle way to indulge in your celebration of the season instead of wearing your costume a few weeks early. With the tools out today, you can create nail art so professional-looking that folks can mistake your at-home manicures for from a salon. There are lots of different types of nail art application. Which is best for you depends on how much practice you’re willing to put in.
Nail decals are the easiest to work with and are generally as simple as slapping them on your fingernails like a sticker. They’re fast and colorful and I like that.
Nail charms are very popular at the moment. These are 3D charms that you glue onto your nails once your manicure is otherwise done for a multidimensional look. They’re pretty easy to apply, but some people find them chunky to wear. For non-gel nails, you can use a high quality craft glue and for gel nails, you’ll want a UV light resin.
Stencils can be a little trickier because you’re working with actual nail polish. These are stickers you place on your nail, paint over them, and then remove them while the polish is still wet. The best stencils are thick and vinyl so they resist ripping while you’re working with them. The only issue with stencils is that they’re not reusable. Tweezers will be your best friend here.
Nail stamping is my favorite method of adding complex images to my nails. It’s also probably the most finicky. It takes some practice to get the hang of. The first time I tried stamping, I wanted to throw the thing across the room. That’s normal. That will pass. Stamping allows you to transfer nail polish images from the ones etched into your plates onto your nails in any color combination you can think of. It’s well worth the first few hours of frustration with the endless options you have once you get your technique down. And you can use these plates forever, unlike the other nail art methods. For stamping, you’ll need a stamper, a plate, and any opaque nail polish. I have the Born Pretty Nail Stamper Set (bought with my own money) and I’m very happy with it.
For other tools and nail art tricks, check out my guide to the best nail art tools every nail polish lover needs.
Now, let’s get those nails looking spooky.
1. Whats Up Nails 2 Pack Halloween Nail Stamping Plates
This set of two Halloween plates from Whats Up Nails is perfect for Halloween. One plate has more individual images for when you want one big spider or skeleton. The other plate has more patterns like candy corn or bats which you don’t need to worry as much about centering them on your nails. It just depends what kind of mood you’re in. I love having a manicure with a pattern and a unique picture as an accent nail. The etching is clean and well done so your images will stamp crisp and clear.
Price: $16.99 (12 percent off MSRP)
2. So Beauty Silver Skeleton Hand Nail Charms
For a manicure truly in the holiday spirit, these creepy skeleton hand charms make a great addition to your next Halloween manicure. In this set, you get 10 pieces, enough for one on each finger. They’re a little tall so you may only want to use them as an accent and not on your entire hand. There are three sparkling white rhinestones on the wrist of each hand to give you that glint as you turn your hand in the light.
3. Born Pretty Halloween Stamping Plate
This Born Pretty Stamping Plate has a combination of patterns and individual images to choose from all in one plate. The rounded section at the bottom lets you create a French manicure effect by mirroring the curve of your nail edge. This plate also has a nice balance of creepy spiders and realistic skull images as well as adorable ghosts and black cats. You have options depending on if you’re in more of a Nightmare on Elm Street mood or more of a Hocus Pocus kick. I have several Born Pretty plates (bought with my own money) and I’ve always been very pleased with them.
Price: $2.99 (50 percent off MSRP)
4. Halloween Nail Stencil Variety Pack by Whats Up Nails
This stencil variety pack comes with spooky cats, jack-o’-lanterns, bones, and dripping blood for a total of 88 stencils. The cat sheet allows you to use both the stencil portion as an outline of a cat as well as the center cat-shaped bit you removed as a sticker that you can place on your nail and paint over for the opposite effect. The pumpkin sheet comes with four different jack-o’-lantern faces to choose from. These stencils from Whats Up Nails are made in the USA and are a good, thick vinyl so they’re easy to work with.
5. Born Pretty Jack-O’-Lantern Stamping Plate
If you’re looking for lots of individual images for your stamping, like a different spooky pumpkin on each nail, this plate from Born Pretty is a good choice. It has lots of small images as well as a few big ones that you can crop and pick sections of to create unique stamps. Individual images can be a little more challenging so if you’re just starting out at stamping, you might want to pick up a set with more pattern options while you get your stamping legs under you. Like all Born Pretty plates, the etching is deep and clear for crisp images.
Price: $2.99 (50 percent off MSRP)
6. Nicole Diary Holographic Halloween Nail Art Transfer Stickers
Meant specifically for gel or acrylic nails, these holographic transfer stickers are filled with images of skulls, skeletons, and other Halloween-y things. The hologram paper give them a rainbow quality that shifts colors when moved in the light. They’re called stickers, but they don’t really stick. The hologram paper is clear, so you cut out which image you want, place it on top of your cured nail polish, and then seal it in place with a top coat. This comes with two rolls of these stickers so you’ll have plenty to work with. If you’re interested in doing your own gel nails at home, check out my guides to the best UV and LED nail lamps and the best gel nail polish brands.
Price: $2.59 (48 percent off MSRP)
7. Glow In The Dark Halloween Nail Decals
To me, there’s not a whole lot else more in the Halloween spirit as glow in the dark paints. This set comes with four sheets of individual image stickers (about 40 images per sheet) and four sets of full manicure nail wraps. The nail wraps are the ones that glow in the dark which has me very interested. These decals are very straight forward to apply. You simply remove the image you want from the backing with tweezers and then stick it to your nails just like you would a sticker. A good top coat will make them last longer. See my guide to the best top coats for long lasting nail polish for suggestions.
Price: $10.99 (45 percent off MSRP)
8. Winstonia Nail Art 3 Plate Bundle: Spooktacular, Horror Night, & Hallo-scream
I recently got a forest plate from Wistonia and while I was surprised at how small the plates are, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the images I could get from this brand. The three plates in this set have a good mix of individual images and patterns as well as of scary designs and cuter ones. I love all the different jack-o’-lantern faces to choose from and the candy corn patterns.
Price: $9.95 (29 percent off MSRP)
9. NAILDROBE 6 Halloween Nail Charms
This nail charm set comes with 6 different metal charms that you can play with for your next Halloween manicure. You get a gold-toned pumpkin, gold-toned spiderweb with rhinestone, gold-toned skeleton hand with three rhinestones, gold-toned skull with rhinestone bow, a white and black screaming face, and an orange and black jack-o’-lantern. This assortment lets you try out a few different looks and have something new and interesting on each finger.
10. Halloween 9 Pack Water Decals by Whats Up Nails
Whats Up Nails’ decal pack comes with eight sets of full manicure nail wraps and one sheet of individual images. Water decals are only a little more complicated than slapping a sticker on your fingernails and being done with it. With water decals, you cut out your image and soak it in water for a moment which loosens the decal, allowing you to slide the image off the backing and onto your fingernail. I really like this set of decals because they focus on the cuter side of Halloween for a change with bright colors, cats, and mushrooms wearing witch hats (of course.)