When it comes to Halloween aesthetics, some go scary, some go sexy, and some go comfy (gender-neutral bat fleece from Old Navy, anyone?) — and some spooky season enthusiasts go all-in on nail art. With new advances in the world of gels and acrylics, nails are more sculptural and artistic than ever these days, and in the case of this line-up of Halloween nail sets, they are also much, much more horrific.
The Artists Behind the Nightmares
“I have a passion for making nail art nobody’s ever seen before, and pushing the boundaries of the nail industry to inspire others,” nail artist Kat Tagai, who runs Nailz by Kat, told Hyperallergic.
On any other day of the year, that might look like a dimensional salute to Cheetos or a luminous half-shell take on mermaid nails, but around Halloween, some of Tagai’s creepiest and most impressive designs claw their way out of her head and into our nightmares.
Elevating Halloween Nails to Another Dimension
Kat Tagai and some fellow artists, many of whom collaborate with or are inspired by the Nails by Dev shop, are taking nail art to another dimension. Even when inspired by mainstream horror movies, they go beyond straightforward portraiture, adding dimensional elements like set pieces or bleeding slashes to the nail face.
The Bone-Chilling “Skeleton Nails”
Devin Strebler, the artist behind Nails by Dev, presents a set that asks the tough, spooky questions, such as: What are nails, really? Are they just bones that grow out of our fingers? Science tells us, no. But nail art tells us YES.
Wearable or Just for Show?
Is nail art of this magnitude even wearable? One imagines it brings a level of horror to daily tasks like typing on your phone, adjusting your sunglasses, or shudder using the bathroom. To hear Tagai tell it, though, many of these looks are wearable and out stalking the streets looking for their next fashion victim.
“Sets like the Jeepers Creepers and body parts are both functional and fashionable,” said Tagai. “On the other hand, there are more elaborate and advanced sets made just for show or for photoshoots to showcase the skills and talents we have as nail artists.”
A Glimpse into the Macabre
For example, Tagai’s Freak Show: American Horror Story-themed set includes a miniature Down-the-Clown carnival game, some scattered teeth, and the worst thing to wear clown makeup this side of the It reboot.
Or there’s the Exorcist-themed set that features a padded bed with mini-Regan floating above it — hard to imagine an occasion for which it would be appropriate (although fun for a first date, when your date has a dark sense of humor!).
And hey, we get it, sometimes you just want to look pretty. So get your eye on the prize with a nice simple flower tutorial!
Finally, if you’re trying to keep it spooky-basic this All Hallows’, ugh, fine — here’s a “French bat” tutorial. But I gotta warn you, that look is not Final Girl material.
This Halloween, as you embark on your quest for the perfect spooky aesthetic, don’t forget to consider the terrifyingly creative world of Halloween nail art. From the bone-chilling “skeleton nails” to nightmarish clown carnivals, these artists have taken nail art to a new level, one that’s both wearable and ready to haunt your nightmares. Happy Halloween!