(Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / October 6, 2011)

Tweens and younger: Keep it lighthearted

Boys are gravitating to comic book heroes such as Captain America and Green Lantern this year. Many of those costumes come with masks, but makeup can be safer and more comfortable and not much more challenging, McKay points out. (Use a nude lip pencil to outline the area of the mask on the face, then fill in with a makeup pencil in the relevant color.)

Also sure to pop off the big screen and onto the streets are Smurfettes (blue makeup can be found at costume stores) and Kung Fu Pandas (just draw oblong shapes in black kohl pencil around the eyes; on the rest of the face, pat whatever white cream you can get your paws on).

At partycity.com, Monster High costumes are among the most-clicked costumes, Tomkiewicz said. To complement the costume with a gloomy complexion, add a dot of black or green liquid eyeliner or eye shadow to a dollop of light foundation on your hand, stir and apply.


Getting the effect

Zombie boy

There's more than one way to create a walker, but here's one that's fairly kid-friendly, says M.A.C. senior trainer Crista Chan:

1. Start with a white or very light foundation, dust with white powder. Include neck and hands if they will be visible. Using a fluffy but compact brush (such as M.A.C. No. 109), start blending inward around eyes and contours of cheeks and neck with a taupe shadow.

2. Choose a reddish eye shadow and buff around outer edges of eye in a circle, in an oblong panda-bear eye shape.

3. Finish with a black shadow over the eyelid and under the eye. Use soft brushes to blend the colors together. For a finishing touch, pucker lips and brush a little black eye shadow across lips for a cracked effect.

Peacock girl

M.A.C. senior artist Louise Zizzo says the key to makeup like this is to pretend you're painting on a piece of paper.

1. Brush a pink blush in middle of cheeks, then use a soft fluffy brush to apply a haze of blue and green eye shadow on temples and down to cheekbones.

2. Sketch a feather design lightly on the face with a nude lip pencil.

3. Paint in design over the nude pencil with brown, turquoise, blue, green and gold cream eye shadows or M.A.C. Pro Chromacakes. For feather details, use a fine-tip brush dipped in the creams or use liquid eyeliners.

4. Add gold or blue glitter to accent the eye of peacock feathers.

5. Line tops of lashes with black liquid eyeliner. Apply mascara.

6. Apply eyelash glue to a set of false lashes. Let glue dry slightly so it's tacky before you place false lash on real lash line. For ideal placement, look down but do not close eyes as you place the false lash on lash line.

7. For more drama, glue a second set of lashes above the first, into the crease of each eye as a visual trick to make the eyes pop. (Zizzo used one set of M.A.C. lash No. 44 on each eye for our model.)

8. Apply pink gloss on lips.

1960s cat-eye

"Pan Am" wannabes can create the look like this, said Kimberly Keys, a prestige manager for ULTA Beauty (ulta.com):

1. Apply eye shadow primer to both eyelids "so that your eye color doesn't crease or fall to the lash line." Use a neutral eye shadow color (white, pale blue, pale green) on eyelids.

2. Line the top rim of the eyelids with a black eyeliner pencil. "Start with a thin line from the inside corner of the eye to the outside and wing out at the outside corner of the eye at an upward angle." Then trace over that line with a liquid eyeliner for a more dramatic look.

3. Apply lip primer, then line the lips with ULTA's Contouring Lip Liner in Beet. For lipstick, she likes ULTA Lip Color Shade No. 203.

4. Add a pair of faux eyelashes, and blend them into your natural lashes with a couple of coats of mascara. "Faux lashes will make any Halloween costume pop," she said, "but I think they really stand out for the Playboy Bunny look, Nicki Minaj, Snooki and any witch's costume."

— W.D.