Meet the Women Spending Hundreds on Halloween Makeup – Glamour

Four years ago, Lauren Rossmann had a vision. Halloween had always been her favorite holiday—she has “boxes and boxes and boxes” of costumes from years past occupying real estate in her L.A. home’s garage—but after she found the perfect skeleton catsuit, inspiration struck. She wanted to do something different. Something bigger. Something that would blow all her friends away. A white walker. And of course, what are Game of Thrones’s terrifying icy zombies without their makeup? So Rossmann, 42, started googling. “That’s how I found Glamsquad.”

The on-demand hair and makeup service app was still in its infancy then (the company, along with its special FX services, launched in 2013), but Rossmann loved the fact that it meant a makeup artist would come to her and take the daunting task of getting ready out of her hands. “You end up spending an arm and a leg piecemealing costumes together to make them perfect, and it takes so much time,” she says. “It’s just so easy to just have someone come and do your makeup.” The makeup artist, Rebecca, arrived at 8:15 a.m., before Rossmann’s daughter’s school Halloween parade, and ended up staying the whole day to do the entire family’s makeup for a party that night. “It knocked everyone’s socks off,” Rossmann says.

It’s now become a tradition for the Rossmanns. This year, she and her husband went as mummies, fully wrapped in bandages from the drugstore and masterfully contoured with hollowed cheeks, realistic bruises, and colored contacts. Her artist even went out to buy the contacts, something she just factored into the bill. This, of course, isn’t exactly cheap. Rossmann estimates the makeup for her and her husband costs around $350 for one night, while a full-family service including her daughter, 11, and son, 8, can add up to $800.

Lauren Rossmann Halloween

Lauren Rossmann

Two kids dressed up for Halloween as The Ring and Chuckie

Lauren Rossmann

For anyone who’s ever stepped foot inside a Spirit Halloween store, or really, anywhere the week of October 31, it’ll come as no shocker that Halloween is big business. This year alone Americans are projected to spend half a billion dollars on Halloween costumes—and that’s just for our pets. In total, the National Retail Federation anticipates Americans will spend an average of $86 per person on Halloween, which comes out to a massive $8.8 billion on costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards. (The latter accounts for a projected $390 million alone, in case you thought the art of snail mail was dead.)

All signs point to one unsurprising source that’s influencing our Halloween shopping habits: social media. A new study found that 48% of millennials said they bought Halloween items strictly for the ’Gram. #SpookySzn.

Artists who work with service-booking apps like Glamsquad and Priv are now reaping the rewards from the proliferation of pro-level Halloween makeup featured on Instagram. ”Social media changed the beauty game,” says Jenny Connors, a freelance hair and makeup artist in Dallas. “Prior to social media, I don’t think it crossed people’s minds to hire a pro for glam on Halloween. Makeup was considered a luxury service.” The majority of women who have been booking services with her through Priv are first-timers, she says.

“There’s a lot of pressure around Halloween for some reason—I think Instagram has a lot to do with it,” says Caroline Silta, 25, in New York City. “I knew I wanted to be Pennywise from It, but I had no idea how long it would take me to do the makeup. I figured I’d have to keep wiping it off and doing it over.” She uses Glamsquad occasionally for work events, so when she saw the app was offering custom makeup, she baked the $125 (plus tax and tip) into her costume budget this year. (Glamsquad also offers $200 special FX makeup.) “I knew a makeup artist would be able to do it in an hour and a half, and I’d be able to plan out my schedule ahead. It was perfect,” she says. Instead of “scrambling around” to get ready as she had in years past, Silta says, she was able to book an artist two days before her Halloween party this weekend, and on the day of, she got to sit back, drink wine, and plan to take killer photos later that night. It was so worth it to her, she plans to book another artist tonight for her second costume of the week: Chucky from Child’s Play.

According to Glamsquad’s CEO, Amy Shecter, this past Saturday (October 26) was one of the company’s busiest days to date, surpassing the typical volume it usually gets on New Year’s Eve. So far for 2019, customers across its seven operating areas have booked more than $1 million in Halloween services through the app (which also offers Halloween hair and wig styling). “Most people seem to be attending or hosting parties, followed by family trick-or-treating or a night out on the town, but we also get many requests for office parties or intimate gatherings,” says Kelli J. Bartlett, artistic director of Glamsquad.