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.
Publish date:
October 31, 2013
halloween, cats, DIY, cat eyes, arts and crafts, ears, tail

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.

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


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:

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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


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:

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!


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

  • 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.

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.”

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.

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.

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

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?


People will swear you spent WEEKS putting this together!

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?