Halloween nail art tutorial

Jack o' lantern Halloween nail art.

Ahhhhhh, Halloween. It's my very favorite holiday. Crisp autumn air, pumpkin everything, and skulls & witches & black cats all over the place. Oh yeah, this is my time of year.

One of my Halloween traditions (now that I can finally wear nail polish again, after eight years of working in coffee shops where it's banned) is to decorate my fingernails with some kind of holiday-themed nail art. If I don't have time to get craftsy, I'll opt for some nail wraps like these bats or these Tim Burton-esque swirls from local nerd girl heaven Espionage Cosmetics. But when I do have the time to spend a couple of hours on pampering, I love to do hand-drawn nail art.

And what better art for Halloween than jack o' lantern faces? Let me show you how I do it!

Halloween nail art tutorial

I start with a base and then a couple coats of pumpkin orange nail polish. I used Orly's Gel FX polish in "Melt Your Popsicle" (it has a secret superpower you'll see at the end!) but you can do this with traditional air-dry polish too. If you're using traditional polish, make sure you let it dry completely before moving to the next step. If you're using UV gel polish, you'll want to wipe your nails down at this point to remove the sticky coating.

Next, grab a gel pen and draw on those jack o' lantern faces! (It's got to be a gel pen; Sharpies won't work for this.) Since this step involves drawing, you might want to find a friend with a steady hand so you can each do the other's art. Unless you're ambidextrous it'll be easier than trying to draw on your non-dominant hand. Don't worry too much if something gets smudged, though. Just wipe it off with some rubbing alcohol and try again.

Halloween art being drawn onto fingernails.

Do be careful with this step. Gel ink does not dry quickly, and you don't want to smudge your work before you've sealed it with topcoat. This is another reason why getting someone else to do the drawing is a good idea. Using UV gel polish is also an advantage here because you can seal each nail one by one as you finish the art.

Once the ink of the faces is dry, gently dot some topcoat over the surface of your nail. (Try not to sweep the brush. You risk streaks if the ink isn't 100% dry.) That's it! You're done!

But I promised a secret superpower surprise, didn't I? Well, here it is: the reason I love Gel FX's "Melt Your Popsicle" color so much is because it glows under blacklight! Check out these pumpkins!

Halloween jack o' lantern fingernail art that glows bright orange under UV light.

How cool is that?! Maybe it's just because I'm such a fiend for nightclubs, but I love that my fingernails can light up a dark room.

What's your favorite style of Halloween nail art? Comment below and tell me all about it!