How to Do Halloween Makeup Like an Oscar-Winning Makeup Artist

NYX Professional Makeup - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of NYX Professional Makeup

'The Hunger Games' makeup artist Ve Neill is teaming with NYX Professional Makeup for six looks: "I've always been enthralled about being able to alter the human being."

Makeup artist Ve Neill has long drawn inspiration from Universal’s classic movie monsters when developing her Oscar-winning beauty techniques. The beauty expert behind The Hunger Games and A Star Is Born is now hoping to help fans up their Halloween game with a series of spooky costume looks that she developed with NYX Professional Makeup, announced Tuesday and set to debut Oct. 1.

“I’ve always been enthralled about being able to alter the human being,” Neill tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I like my monsters. I grew up watching the old black-and-white Universal horror movies. ... I just always loved being able to transform the human being into something else.”

She’s been working with NYX products for years, including on the set of Welcome to Marwen, where she turned Leslie Mann and Janelle Monáe into doll characters (transformed with the help of CGI, too), and The Hunger Games, for which Neill had about 50 makeup artists working around the clock.

Her project with NYX to develop six glow-in-the-dark Halloween beauty looks was “very similar” to the process of designing makeup for the Capitol citizens of the Jennifer Lawrence starrer.

“We had to do a lot of quirky things like that, where we mixed powders and creams and all different kinds,” says Neill. “When you’re creating those fun characters, you can use all kinds of stuff on the face that you wouldn’t normally use.” She explains that her team cut out little pieces of paper and glued them on, along with feathers, glitter and stones.

Using the Alice in Wonderland theme as her starting point, Neill crafted the “Wonderland After Dark” NYX lookbook: a Zombie Alice named Alex; a cutesy Bunni; the mischievous, grinning Kitty Kat; the colored skull-face called Topsy Turvy; a vampiric Queen of hearts; and the Ace + Spade card face character.

“We have kind of like a real twisted, fun, spooky dark side of Alice,” she says. Neill wanted the tutorials to be colorful yet re-creatable by amateurs (she spent about three hours applying the Alex and Bunni makeup for the campaign photoshoot).

“Halloween has always been really close to my heart. I used to give these huge Halloween parties,” says Neill. “I burnt out a few years ago because it would take me probably months to put them together.” Even now, she tries not to do makeup requests on Halloween — “because then I’d get inundated.” In fact, Neill is trying to retire altogether, “but they won’t let me,” she jokes.

Neill is currently in talks to do makeup for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, starring Bradley Cooper and Toni Collette. She says she'd enjoy a reunion with Cooper after working with the actor on A Star Is Born: “He’s fabulous, he’s kind, he’s really smart, very extremely talented. … He knows exactly what he wants, and he’s really good with all the people that he works with. So you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Neill also admires Del Toro, a former makeup artist himself. “He's done so many iconic, cool — I don’t wanna say horror-type films, but he is within that genre,” she says. “He’s a true proponent of having organic makeup. In other words, he has brought it back to, as opposed to doing CGI makeup, he wants to have actors in makeup, which for me is great.” 

Learn how to get the Halloween costumes below.