Your Last-Minute Black Cat Costume Doesn't Have To LOOK Last-Minute

Amazing makeup! Birthday card ears! A bendy tail! Because last-minute doesn't mean you don't care.
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Amazing makeup! Birthday card ears! A bendy tail! Because last-minute doesn't mean you don't care.

OK, guys. It’s the last minute. You didn’t really have Halloween plans. And then suddenly... you’re invited somewhere.

And you don’t have a costume. Oh, crap.

Don’t worry! Let’s talk about my favourite last-minute costume: The Black Cat.

Meow.

Meow.

The best thing is, you probably have everything you need to make this costume already. Or at least you can buy it at CVS.

MAKEUP

Remember how I told you that getting creative with makeup is pretty much the easiest way to make a great Halloween costume? That’s what we’re going to rely on here. And even though the end result is mega-high-impact, it isn’t really that hard to do.

You will need:

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  • Foundation, concealer and powder in your colour
  • A contour shade (as always, I am using MAC Eye Shadow in Wedge) 
  • Highlighter. Mine is Mac Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk. 
  • Dark brown matte eyeshadow
  • Shimmery light eyeshadow to highlight. Exact shade depends on your skin tone; I use white because I’m fair.
  • Whatever you use to define your brows. For me, it's a dark brown shadow and an angled brush.
  • Matte black eyeshadow
  • Black liquid liner
  • Black pencil liner
  • White pencil liner
  • Mascara (and false lashes, if you’re going to wear them)
  • Your favourite lipstick. Mine is Schiapp by Nars.

Amount of time required: 20 minutes, 30 at the outside.

Start by prepping your skin with foundation, concealing any blemishes and setting the whole thing with powder.

My collar is a giant necklace I had lying around, and the tag is a shiny earring I forgot that I had. I popped the hook over the thread of the necklace. SO EASY.

My collar is a giant necklace I had lying around, and the tag is a shiny earring I forgot that I had. I popped the hook over the thread of the necklace. SO EASY.

Now, the contouring. In my past articles, when we’ve contoured, we’ve done the Nike swoosh shape underneath the cheekbone and under the apple of the cheek. This time, we’re going to extend that up our smile-lines on to the side of the nostril.

Make sure you blend this really well--as always, not so much that you lose all definition, but you don’t want any harsh lines. Here’s how it looks when it’s blended.

Looks kinda weird right now.

Looks kinda weird right now.

You guys know I’m all about highlighting, and this is no exception. Using my shimmery powder highlighter, I highlighted the apples of my cheeks above the contour and down the bridge of my nose.

You can brush this slightly down onto the contour if you feel like maybe you didn't do the best job of blending.

You can brush this slightly down onto the contour if you feel like maybe you didn't do the best job of blending.

Now we start the eyes. I hope you’re excited.

We start, oddly, with black liquid liner. Line your top lash line from the very inner corner all the way to the outer edge and wing it out as dramatically as you want to go. This is going to be your guide for everything that comes next.

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Take your matte dark brown eyeshadow and apply it all over your lid, blending it up high enough so that you can see it when your eyes are closed. Use the “tail” of your liquid liner as a guide for how far you should blend it outward.

BLEND WELL.

BLEND WELL.

Now we are going to extend the liquid liner in your innermost corner down and out along your nose. Then, imagining you’re drawing a little triangle, join this point up with your lower lashline. Line you lower lashline closely, stopping before you get to the very end.

Starting to look a little more feline!

Starting to look a little more feline!

If you want to join this lower line to your upper wing, you can--it’s how I did my Morticia makeup. But to differentiate it for this look, I’m going to instead draw a line straight down for a double cat-eye.

Dramatic!

Dramatic!

And now I’m going to use my black eyeshadow to make my lower lashline a little smokier, and also extend the second wing out a little so that it “matches” the one on top in length.

Smoking out the lower liner also hides any uneveness, as well as making everything look more dramatic. I also flicked the top wing out a tiny bit with the black shadow, which is minor, but I liked how it looked.

Smoking out the lower liner also hides any uneveness, as well as making everything look more dramatic. I also flicked the top wing out a tiny bit with the black shadow, which is minor, but I liked how it looked.

I’m skipping fake lashes because my eyes have been sore from not-crying lately, but if you want to apply them, now is the time.

Instead, I curled my natural lashes, applied two coats of mascara (top and bottom), lined my bottom waterline with white liner and defined my brows with an angled brush and matte brown eyeshadow. All done!

You can also fill in the little corner triange with some white liner, if you like.

You can also fill in the little corner triange with some white liner, if you like.

OK, now we’re doing the kitty nose. Obviously after putting so much into glamourous cat eyes, we’re not going to draw a triangle on the tip of our noses and call it a day. I found it looked way cooler to use black eyeliner to draw a shape UNDER your nose, then bring that shape up a little onto the tip.

Follow the contours of your nostrils, making sure you keep the “dip” in the middle. When that’s done, draw a thin line down to meet your lips.

Set it with a little powder so that it doesn't smudge.

Set it with a little powder so that it doesn't smudge.

Now apply whatever lip colour you want to wear. I’m wearing Schiapp by NARS, because I wanted a bright colour to go with the bright blue heart on my “collar.” There are no rules here; just make sure the line is really neat.

You could also do black lips or dark red, and it would look awesome.

You could also do black lips or dark red, and it would look awesome.

Finally, instead of trying to glue whiskers onto our faces, we’re going to draw a few little dots on either side of the thin black line. More of an evocation of whiskers than anything else.

I did three dots because I liked how it looked.

I did three dots because I liked how it looked.

And now your makeup is done! Meow! Paint your nails black or red, and you’re ready to knock ‘em dead.

Meow!

Meow!

EARS

My criteria for cat ears are pretty simple: They have to look good, be easy to make, allow me to wear my hair however I want--obvs in this instance that means curled and teased out--and NOT give me a headache. The latter is why I avoid headbands, because there's nothing less Halloweeny than a tension headache.

This is what I came up with, and it's super-simple. Here’s all you need:

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  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • An old card. Birthday, graduation, whatever.
  • A piece of paper
  • A black marker or acrylic paint
  • Clear tape
  • Two bobby pins

Amount of time required: Five minutes. Ten if you're using acrylic paint.

First, decide how big you want your ears to be. They can’t be longer at the base than your bobby pin, so use that as your guide. Sketch this out on your paper, making sure you keep a small rectangle at the bottom--you’ll need this.

Smileys and hearts optional. I can't NOT doodle on stuff, guys. It can't happen.

Smileys and hearts optional. I can't NOT doodle on stuff, guys. It can't happen.

Once you’re happy with your ear-shape, use the paper as a stencil and cut two copies out of the card. Then either paint or marker the shapes up so that they’re black, rather than Happy Birthday coloured.

Tah-dah! Easy!

Tah-dah! Easy!

Here’s the tricky bit and it isn’t even that tricky: Fold a line along the base of the triangle so that the little rectangle part is sticking up. Then fold that rectangle in half again so that there’s a little tube at the base of your cat ear--this is where we’ll run the bobby pin through.

It's way easier if you score the line before you fold it, which means you CAREFULLY run the blade of your scissors along it. I used my pencil as a ruler for this so I didn't slip and cut my hand, because I am clumsy.

It's way easier if you score the line before you fold it, which means you CAREFULLY run the blade of your scissors along it. I used my pencil as a ruler for this so I didn't slip and cut my hand, because I am clumsy.

Now tape it all up. Make sure your tube is gonna stay put! I found it looks best to tape the entire back “face” of the ear and then trim around the edges. That way you don’t have any gross visible lines where the tape stops.

Rub the taped surface with something hard (like the handle of your scissors) to get rid of any bubbles under the tape.

Rub the taped surface with something hard (like the handle of your scissors) to get rid of any bubbles under the tape.

Now pop your bobby pin through the little tube--bumpy side down works best, I find--and you’re done!

SO EASY

SO EASY

Pin them in your hair and you’ve got adorable ears that won’t give you a headache, and will let you wear your hair however you want!

If I made these bigger, I could dress up as my dog.

If I made these bigger, I could dress up as my dog.

TAIL

Again, really easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A pair of black tights you no longer wear. These ones I destroyed for my Zombie Holly Golightly costume.
  • A needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Wire and wire cutters. If you don’t have thin floral wire lying around, unbend a thin wire hanger and use that.
  • Something to attach the tail to and tie around your waist. I'm using a fabric belt from a dress I don't wear.

Amount of time required: Ten minutes, depending on how good you are at sewing.

First, decide how long you want your tail to be. I found that short is better--the longer tails get, the more unwieldy they become. Trim your tights accordingly.

Then measure out a length of wire long enough to run all the way down your tail and come up again, with some left over. Make loops at both ends of the wire so that you don’t poke yourself.

If you've unbent a coathanger, please be careful with this step. Those ends are sharp!

If you've unbent a coathanger, please be careful with this step. Those ends are sharp!

Now you’re going to make a tail-burrito, kind of. The tight-leg at the very bottom will be the tortilla and end up on the outside; the second tight-leg and the wire will be the delicious meat and rice.

Using one now-detached leg as stuffing, and laying the wire down the middle, roll up your tights longwise until you have a a long, relatively thin “tube.”

If your tail looks a little thin, roll some tissues up into long cigar shapes and stick them INSIDE the tight-stuffing. That way you won’t be able to see the white through the nylon.

If your tail looks a little thin, roll some tissues up into long cigar shapes and stick them INSIDE the tight-stuffing. That way you won’t be able to see the white through the nylon.

And, with some long stitches, we sew it up along the open edge and along the bottom! I’m using red thread so you can see how I did this, but you should definitely use black.

This goes underneath, so don't worry if your stitches are a little messy.

This goes underneath, so don't worry if your stitches are a little messy.

Finally, fold over the open “top” end and sew it onto the elastic headband, or whatever you’re using as a tie around your waist. You can also hook the wire around this before you stitch for extra strength.

DAMN. Was I drunk when I did this? I'm so glad this is facing in towards my body, I'd be mortified if people could see this.

DAMN. Was I drunk when I did this? I'm so glad this is facing in towards my body, I'd be mortified if people could see this.

Now pop it around your waist, bend your tail into the shape you want--the wire will hold the shape--and you’re done!

Adorable!

Adorable!

I would wear this with a short black dress and black boots, probably covering the fabric tie with a black belt, but you can do whatever you like for your outfit. The beauty of the cat costume is that ANYTHING black in your wardrobe will work!

OK, are you ready to see the entire look?

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Meow!

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People will swear you spent WEEKS putting this together!

Hiss!

Hiss!

What do you think, guys? What is YOUR go-to last minute costume? And maybe even more importantly, did my tail description make anyone else really hungry for a burrito?