Halloween nail designs: 21 spooky manicures to inspire you this October

Looking for Halloween nail designs? We've got you covered with seasonal colors and creepy nail art designs for all skill levels

a woman's hands wearing halloween nail designs on black background with pumpkins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Halloween nail designs can be anything from all-out artistic creations, complete with spider webs, blood drips, and generally witchy vibes, or simple color schemes involving one or two shades. There really are no rules, it’s all about choosing something that suits you – whether you’re dressing up or down to celebrate all things scary

If you’re struggling to settle on just one look, we've asked the experts for their favorite nail designs for the spooky season. "My favorite nail looks for Halloween definitely use nude as a base color with art on top," says nail artist and Nails-Luxe founder Isabel Surtees (opens in new tab). "This keeps it chic and wearable, but also on-trend with cute spider webs or spooky blood drips.” Celebrity manicurist Jenni Draper (opens in new tab) agrees, "Nice and simple with a nod to Halloween – a blood drip on the cuticle cuff or at the tip – are my go-to Halloween nail designs."

If nail art’s not your thing, no stress. Celebrity manicurist Michelle Humphrey (opens in new tab) suggests you could, "Ditch themed nails for something more sophisticated. Wear a longer nail in an almond or stiletto shape and choose dark colors for an ode to Morticia Addams – think burgundy, blood red or black." Whatever your preference, our selection of Halloween nail designs will inspire your seasonal manicure.

21 Halloween nail designs to inspire a spooky mani

1. Ghost nails

A nude-toned base is key here, then you should be able to use the accompanying brush of white polish to get the ghost's silhouette. A good quality polish will give you the opaque finish you need, then, once dry, finish each one off with two teeny dots of black polish. 

2. Candy corn

It wouldn't be Halloween without candy corn, so these ombré nails couldn't be more seasonally-appropriate. To recreate this design, you'll need to work quickly and use a small sponge to blend the edges of the three colors together seamlessly. 

3. Glossy black nails

If in doubt, go for black nail polish with a glossy finish. Square-shaped nails, like this design, are very on-trend, but block color works with any nail length or shape, from round to squoval nails. Truly an option you can rely on!

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

This Tim Burton-inspired manicure is bold, eye-catching, and above all, spooky. The individual nail designs are rather intricate so, unless you're a dab hand at painting freehand with a thin brush, a salon specializing in nail art is probably the safest bet. 

5. Spider webs

We love the way that spider webs are interspersed with black nail polish here for an understated take on Halloween nail art – stickers will make this design easier to create if detailing isn't your strong suit.

6. Beetlejuice inspired

Beetlejuice is a timeless Halloween costume, and so these nails will pair perfectly with either an all-black outfit or fancy dress. For the black and white nails, you'll need a steady hand and an ultra-fine brush to perfect those straight fine lines, but the green and purple glitter polishes are easy to get right if you follow our guide on how to paint your nails at home. 

7. Starry sky nails

Elevate a black manicure with celestial stickers for a sophisticated Halloween manicure. If you don't have long natural nails and aren't a fan of extensions, this design would still suit shorter nails very nicely as it doesn't require a whole lot of space to look chic.

8. Blood drip nails

Blood drip nails manage to be both an understated and chic design and on brand for Halloween. Once you've painted a nude base color and allowed it to dry, paint a very fine red tip. Then, use a dotting tool to place the rounded bottom of each 'drip' before joining them up to the top part of your nails like the above design.

9. Burgundy nails

If you'd like to keep your Halloween-ready nails on the understated side, you can't go wrong with a classic burgundy shade at this time of year – it's one of the top fall nail designs and colors as well as being Halloween-appropriate. Win-win.

10. Moon and stars

Keeping things simple with a barely-there base color once again, this celestial-inspired manicure has just the right amount of "Halloween" for those who don't want to go all-out. Although a longer nail gives you more of a canvas to work with, this would still work on nails at a much shorter length, too. 

11. Bespoke Halloween nail art

If you'd prefer to put the fate of your Halloween nail designs in the hands of a professional, a nail art salon can create a beautiful bespoke look like this. The more technical the design, the more you'll pay for your mani, but they can create eye-catching art like the above.  

12. Spider webs with purple tips

These classic spider web nails with a nude base have been taken to the next level and made party season ready with the glitzy addition of purple French tip nails. Creepy and eye-catching!

13. Pumpkin gradient nails

Gradient nails look impressive, but all that's involved is painting each nail a different color, so it's a great option if your nail art skills are limited. And it doesn't get much more Halloween-ready than a pumpkin color scheme. 

14. Lightning bolts

These ombré nails are made all Halloween-y with lightning bolt embellishment. Whether you try to paint them freehand or use stickers is up to you – though the length of the bolts does lend itself better to a longer nail in a stiletto or similar shape.

15. Blood red nails

For our single-color fans, blood red nails are both super wearable and blend in with the Halloween crowd – though they'll look chic long after you've been to any fancy dress parties. 

16. Acid green tips

By no means understated but very much on-trend, neon or acid green tips are a fun way to incorporate this ghoulish shade without committing to all-over color. They're certainly eye-catching. 

17. Jack O' Lantern

There are understated Halloween designs, and then there are bolder creations like these lengthy Jack o' Lantern-inspired orange nails – although this design could be shrunk to work as a nail design for shorter nails too if you prefer less length. 

18. Mix & match

Can't decide between spider webs, blood drips, or ghost nails? You could incorporate them all into one mix-and-match design. We love the pink color scheme – clearly, Halloween-themed when you get a closer look, yet still simple and chic. 

19. Single ghost on black nails

A single Halloween motif on just the one statement nail is a fun way to make your regular mani party ready – and the good news is that this would work with just about any color on your remaining nails. 

20. Scream and spatters nails

This is one of the more 'out there' Halloween nail designs we've seen, but it's certainly spooky. It could be adapted to suit all nail shapes, though the ghoul will be most effective on a longer nail – don't forget to use an ultra-fine brush for drizzling that red shade. 

21. Single blood drip

You'd be forgiven for almost thinking this is a plane nude mani, but the addition of blood drops on a single nail makes it Halloween-ready. Plus, only having to add the drips to one nail makes it even quicker to create – wise up on how to make nail polish dry fast to speed up the process even further. 


What color nails should I get for Halloween?

Blood and wine-red shades are very Halloween-appropriate. "I’m a huge fan of the shades Bordeaux and Wicked by Essie with a gloss finish," says Humphrey. You also can't go wrong with a gothic black, and Draper recommends the super glossy Black Shadow by Morgan Taylor.

For the more adventurous, ghoulish greens and pumpkin oranges are great statement colors – depending on your outfit of choice, of course!

Our experts recommend...

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Essie Nail Polish in Wicked | RRP: $10/£7.99

Deepest darkest rouge noir – the perfect vampy shade. 

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Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer in Black Shadow | RRP $9.50/£9 

A rich glossy black shade that's ideal for spooky season. 

What are drip nails?

As their name suggests, drip nails are a design whereby colored polish “drips” down from the tip of the nail. It’s a look that lends itself particularly well to Halloween because, if you use red, it of course looks rather like blood – an understated base shade will really help the red stand out.

What's the best nail shape for Halloween?

Shape doesn't necessarily matter for Halloween nail designs unless you are working with a specific design that lends it well to, for example, coffin nails. However, the more length you have, the more space you'll have to create your design of choice.

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.