7 Funny Face Paint Ideas for Little Kids

Face paint is a Halloween staple, sure, but don't hide it away the rest of the year.

by Alicia Kort
Originally Published: 
cartoon of a girl in funny spotted dog face paint - against a yellow backdrop

The face paint comes out every Halloween and under a skilled hand transforms human children into creatures both sweet and scary. It’s powerful stuff — with ancient roots, after all — that’s perfectly attuned to the season of mischief and disguise, but there’s no reason it should live in the dark the other 364 days of the year. Face paint, like dinosaurs and Legos, is a staple of childhood that can engage, entertain, and amuse kids in any season, indoors or out. Face paint is also a great way to make Zoom birthdays and family gatherings more engaging and fun for kids.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of face paint, don’t be. All it takes is a steady hand, a willing child, and a strong, basic design. We’ve taken care of that last part with this Fatherly list of easy face-paint designs. You’ll soon be a master of the art and be branching out from basic dragons to advanced Fortnite.

1. Puppy

What kid doesn’t dream of being a dog for a day? They get to nap, eat and play. It’s a great life (that sounds a lot like a kid’s life). The key to this puppy design is the tongue. You want to make sure it looks attached to the child’s mouth and that it’s at the right angle. You don’t need to paint your kid’s whole face for this, only around their nose, mouth and eyes, but go all in if you’re inspired.

2. Minion

These little henchmen roam our world, upsetting world order with their ridiculous antics and nonsense language. Ah, but do we refer to the kids or the Minions? See… that’s the beauty of this thin disguise. Kids have found their kindred spirits Stuart, Kevin and Bob. You’ll need yellow, white, blue, brown and black face paint for this one. It’s easiest to paint them peeking over your child’s forehead, so you don’t have to draw the entire Minion.

3. Snake

The great thing about this one is it can skew full cobra scary or just plain funny (and, honestly, you may not be able to control which direction it takes). Either way, kids are happy if they have a snake drawn on their face. Draw the snake’s mouth over your child’s mouth, so your kid can pretend that he or she is a venomous viper. Be prepared to hear a lot of hissing in your house. It might be easier to draw the snake’s head first, so the snake’s tail doesn’t end up too far away from its mouth.

4. Dragon

Much like the snake design, above, dragons can land on the truly terrifying or the endearingly silly — whatever fantastical creature takes shape, it’ll be your kid’s own signature dragon, and they’ll love it. You can work together to include all the features your child likes to see in a dragon — keep it loose and feel free to experiment. One tip: It’s easier to draw the dragon up the side of your child’s face to avoid the eye area. Have your child pick a color and channel J.R.R. Tolkien. There is also a dragon stencil in this face-paint kit if you’re not quite ready to free solo.

5. Bat

Bats are iconic of Halloween, and this design is more of a jumping-off place — toward more bats, Batman, Batwoman, you and the child can decide. The night sky is your limit. The key to this design is to draw the outline very carefully first, so you can adjust if it doesn’t quite look right. You can also leave some space around your child’s eyes. There’s no need to make it more difficult or make them uncomfortable with face paint on their eyelids.

6. Monster with Horns

This is really the pièce de résistance: You and your child can hit the drawing board together first and come up with a feasible but sufficiently scary or cute monster design. If you’re short on time or feeling stumped, you can’t go wrong with a simple set of horns. Your child’s inner monster will take care of the rest. Make sure to add some details in black to the white horns, so they look a little more defined, and parents aren’t asking you what’s on your kid’s forehead.

7. Spider's Web

Gaahhh! There’s a huge spider on your face! This is a classically spooky design with great dad-joke potential. Any weblike, mostly symmetrical design featuring a giant spider will do the trick.

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