Halloween DIY Dia de los Muertos Costume

dia de los muertos DIY costume


For the last few years, sugar skull makeup and Dia de los Muertos-inspired costumes have been all the rage in Halloween trends on Pinterest and with fashion bloggers – but here in Austin, that’s just tradition!

With less than $5 and about an hour of shopping at the Goodwill Outlet, plus another hour of crafting at home, I put together this authentic costume, including DIY flower crown AND homemade makeup from pantry staples. The best part is you can wear the flower crown, dress, and scarf again for Austin City Limits, Fun Fun Fun Fest or Eeyore’s Birthday – or just wear the dress and some fake blood to put together a Carrie costume, a classic Halloween creeper of a movie character!

Use the cheap & easy DIY recipe below to create your authentic sugar skull makeup, or to save time check out the selection of readymade face paint available for purchase in the Halloween Headquarters section of each of our Goodwill Stores.

costume supplies


For the costume:
  • White dress
  • Black lace (or white lace dyed with RIT): scarf or window textile from home section
  • 5 or 6 silk flowers (preferably ones with a flat base)
  • Headband
  • Glue gun


Using a hot glue gun, apply a nickel-size amount of glue stick to your headband, starting a thumb’s length from the bottom on one side, and press the base of your silk flower firmly in place. Repeat until all flowers are in place, each a thumb’s length apart, to create a crown.flower crown supplies

If you’re using silk flowers with removable bases, separate the flowers one by one and drape your silk scarf over the tack base, then put the flower back on top.

Repeat until your scarf is secured to your flower crown. If you don’t have silk flowers with removable bases, draw a thick line of hot glue across the back of your headband (behind the silk flowers) and press your scarf firmly in place, repeating in sections.

picture of make-up
For the makeup:
  • Cold cream
  • Cornstarch
  • Food coloring
  • Flat makeup brush or small paintbrush

In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 teaspoon of cold cream and one teaspoon of cold water, then add food coloring. Whisk immediately using a small knife or spoon, taking care not to let the cornstarch sit in the wet ingredients for more than a few seconds or it will clump. Once combined, add additional drops of food coloring until desired color is reached, then apply.

picture of face with make-up

Wash your face and any area to which you'll be applying makeup, then dry thoroughly. Apply a thin coat of cold cream to your entire face. Using a cotton ball, gently pat cornstarch over the cold cream, taking care not to let any pieces of cotton stick (or use your fingers). With the flat makeup brush or paintbrush, apply a thin layer in long strokes and let dry completely. Pat with cornstarch and repeat, as many times as necessary, to get the smooth, even look you desire.

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to get that authentic design, check out this 5-minute sugar skull makeup video tutorial from beauty blogger Amanda Ensing.

- Melissa


Halloween, Shop


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