DIY Scary Mermaid Costume & Makeup Tutorial

by |October 28, 2015

DIY Scary Mermaid


Think about mermaids for a moment. Are you picturing a shy-but-friendly woman/fish-hybrid right out of Splash or The Little Mermaid? Or maybe even that string of direct-to-video movies starring Barbie? (Which begs the question: can a doll truly “star” in a movie?) If so, you’re not alone, because these mythical creatures are often portrayed as mysterious but ultimately good at heart. But this hasn’t always been the case! For much of history, “mermaids” were seen as terrifying creatures, having been blamed for luring sailors to their watery deaths or the disappearance of entire ships! Now if that’s the type of scary mermaid you’d like to dress as for Halloween or Cosplay, keep reading to see how we did it! And stick around for tips on what to do (if anything) if you have a broken bone or other injury at Halloween.



Scary Mermaid Art

Image by Olivier Ponsonnet



Of course, not every modern portrayal of mermaids is friendly or harmless. This digital painting by Olivier Ponsonnet is a great example of the Scary Mermaid art that’s out there, and is similar to what we were going for!



DIY Scary Mermaid Costume

Finished photo of our DIY Scary Mermaid


Our model quite obviously had a cast on during this photoshoot. We had considered covering it up–we’ll get into those options later–but we figured that the cast fit both the color scheme (black) and general subject (scary mermaid) of the costume.


Products Used

Makeup Products Used


Makeup Prosthetics Bullet Wounds        Vampire Bite Makeup Set        Cut Throat FX Transfer       

Zombie Rot Temporary 3-D Tattoo Kit        Zombie Makeup Kit        Face Painting Kit


Black Skeleton Mermaid Costume    

Black Fence Net Pantyhose        Chain Link Rope Accessory


These are the prosthetics, makeup, and clothing we used for this tutorial. Depending on your skill level and what you’re going for, you may not need all of it. We’ll go in-depth in the tutorial below.



Scary Mermaid Makeup Tutorial

Closeup photo of our DIY Scary Mermaid

Makeup Tips:

  • We went with a two-step process involving prosthetics and makeup. For most of the fake wounds, we found that mixing and matching prosthetic bullet wounds, vampire bites, cut throats, and zombie rot, gave us a realistic and scary foundation.
  • Our gills were made by cutting the edges of prosthetics and layering them, though the “3-D Gel” in our zombie makeup kit can give a similar effect.
  • The skin makeup is mostly green and yellow blended tones for the foundation, with patches of bruising and blood.
  • To pull off a great fake bruise, start with a dab of purple makeup and spread it around in a rough two-inch circle, then blend brown and yellow over that.
  • For fresher fake wounds, apply red makeup (and maybe a little purple) with a heavily-textured sponge or cloth so that the texture “prints” on the skin. Be careful not to smudge the texture.


Wardrobe Tips:

  • The clothes were the top from our Pirate Noir Costume–remember to remove the lace and straps–and the bottom from our High Society Dress.
  • If you’ll be walking around, flare out the sides of the dress with a coat hanger or some other stiff but bendable material. (Please be careful. And consider getting that tetanus booster, mkay?)
  • The “glove” was actually a single Black Fence Net Pantyhose legging, with some selective holes cut into the netting.
  • We completed the picture with Chain Link Rope.


Tips on Incorporating an Injury:

  • As you can tell, our model had a cast for the photoshoot. Some costumes allow you to cover an injury with flowing sleeves or a robe. Others might be inflatable or feature a shield.
  • You could also design a costume around an injury, like being “accident prone.” We decided to leave the cast as-is, because, well, she’s a scary mermaid that’s covered with injuries.


Did you like our Scary Mermaid? Have you thought about dressing up as this or a similar scary supernatural creature? Or have you actually done this yourself? Tell us about your experiences with scary Halloween makeup and costumes in the comments below!

Wyatt Edwards
Wyatt Edwards

Wyatt Edwards is the Internet Wizard at, where he is lead editor and writes about superheroes and pop culture. He has been interviewed about costume trends by numerous entertainment and news outlets.

His past costumes include a rocket surgeon, Wikipedia, Optimus Prime, and a picnic. Yes, a picnic. Wyatt also plays Dungeons & Dragons but doesn't put on fancy costumes for that. You can find him on Twitter @whatandwyatt.