Jessie Snyder’s kit of supplies for face painting at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jessie Snyder’s kit of supplies for face painting at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Face painting pro shares Halloween tips

Practice makes perfect and other advice

If your Halloween costume requires facepainting, Jessie Snyder says don’t wait for the big night to brush up on your design.

Snyder, a Juneau face painter who owns and operates Sunny Days Body Art, said practice makes perfect, especially for folks who might not paint faces regularly.

“Don’t make your dress rehearsal your final performance,” Snyder said. “The biggest thing is to practice beforehand.”

For the past several years, Snyder has helped put the finishing touches to Halloween costumes by painting faces in a flurry of activity she calls a painting-palooza.

She shared some wisdom she’s accumulated along the way with the Capital City Weekly, while applying cat makeup to her face and drawing feathers to complete a white swan costume for her 10-year-old daughter, Claire.

Know what you want

“When someone asks me to do a Halloween paint, I ask them to send me a reference photo ,” Snyder said.

She said having a specific design in mind helps make achieving the desired end result easier.

Without seeing what someone said, Snyder said it’s difficult to guess what they’re picturing.

Don’t go cheap

“You don’t want to get the cheap packs of Halloween makeup,” Snyder said.

She said the bundles of green, red and white paint and sponges that show up in stores this time of year don’t allow for subtle looks or much control.

“If you’re going for a gory zombie, it’s OK,” Snyder said.

She recommend using some sort of brush as an applicator instead of sponges, too.

The internet is your friend

Snyder said Pinterest and similar websites are great place to go for inspiration, and YouTube is a great resource for tutorials.

“I’ve spent years watching YouTube videos,” Snyder said.

Plus, Snyder said she orders most of her quality paints and equipment online

Snyder also provided two-step instructions for a simple black cat costume almost any copy cat can follow.

“Any woman can do a basic cat face,” Snyder said, before grabbing black eyeliner and showing the process.

She said the simple look can be done with a bare face or after being fully madeup.

Step one: Draw a nose.

“You just draw a triangle on your nose, and then you fill it in,” Snyder said.

Step two: Draw whiskers on your cheeks.

“Ta-da, you’re a cat,” Snyder said.

But she did provide some advice for drawing whiskers.

“I always do sets of three or five or seven,” Snyder said. “Always do odd.”

Optional steps: Add emphasis to whiskers, add whisker spots and draw a line.

Those who want a slightly more complex cat face can faintly underline their whiskers using white eyeliner, Snyder said.

Additionally, they can add whisker spots in odd-number clusters to their cheeks and may decide to draw a line from the base of their nose to the top of their cupid’s bow.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Claire Snyder, 10, strikes a pose as her mother gives tips on face painting for Halloween at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Claire Snyder, 10, strikes a pose as her mother gives tips on face painting for Halloween at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jessie Snyder gives a primer on face painting for Halloween at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jessie Snyder gives a primer on face painting for Halloween at her Mendenhall Valley home on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

Tone and Charles Deehr in Fairbanks, October 2021. Both photos courtesy Charles Deehr. 3. (Courtesy Photo / Charles Deehr)
Alaska Science Forum: Red aurora rare enough to be special

In decades of sky-watching in the north, he has seen a few red auroras, but not many.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Thursday, Oct. 14

The most recent state and local figures

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Oct. 15, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Juneau Police Department will hold a drug take-back day on Oct. 23, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., said the police in a news release. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Police to hold drug take-back day on Oct. 23

Last take-back event, the DEA collected 420 tons of unused or unwanted prescription medication.

Then-Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho, left, and former Juneau Representative Bill Hudson, right, speak with John Torgerson, chairman of the Alaska Redistricting Board during a break in hearing public testimony at the Capitol Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  Alaska’s state flags were lowered Thursday for longtime Alaska lawmaker, Hudson, who died Oct. 11. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
‘A large legacy’: Hudson remembered for dedication to Juneau and the state

Alaska’s state flags were lowered Thursday for longtime Alaska lawmaker Bill Hudson.

The author photographs one of the numerous bull moose he and his wife saw on an elk hunt in Wyoming. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Desired vs. realized success

No elk taken, but it’s nothing to grouse about.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This photo shows gray currents, also called stink currants, Vivian Mork photographer. (Vivian Mork Yeilk’ / For the Capital City Weekly)
Planet Alaska: Picking currants and riding currents

We give respect and thanks to the berries and the birds as we harvest the last of the berries.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File
A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk, like the one shown in this June photo, rescued a man from a stricken vessel in the Gulf of Alaska on Oct. 11, 2021.
Coast Guard rescues man from disabled vessel

The sailboat was southbound in the Gulf of Alaska

Most Read