If your house is like ours, the kids have been planning (and changing their minds) for their Halloween costumes for the past six months. Just like their birthday party ideas and Christmas lists, a LOT of thought has gone into what they want to be. It's fun for grownups too, and we managed a family theme on more than one occasion over the years. But even with all that planning, you can forget to plan for the cleanup. And when everyone is exhausted and forlorn after the sugar high comes crashing down, you don't want to discover that you can't get the face paint cleaned off before bed. We've tried a lot of things over the years, and thought we'd share a few ideas to keep the zombie blood off of your pillow cases.
1. Know Your Face Paint (Shop Natural / Organic)
The first step is choosing the right face paint kit. They can have different bases (water or oil), a variety of pigment types (synthetic vs natural), may contain preservatives, lead, and who knows what else. Start by reading labels to better understand what your paint contains and ask yourself if you really want to put that on your children's skin. Some products like Earth Paint are very transparent about their contents. Make sure you choose something that you are comfortable with, and the label should help you figure out if it is water or oil based - that gives you the clue to how to clean it up.
2. Power Up with Q-tips, Cotton Balls, and Microfiber
You'll want some power ups to give you super hero cleaning strength. Some face paint gets awfully stubborn, especially around the ears and nose and eyebrows, and well....just about everywhere! You'll want to set aside a fist full of q-tips for those tough spots. Cotton balls or pads can help transform elbow grease into cleaning efficiency. A microfiber washcloth adds modern technology to skin care, rinses easily, and is reusable.
3. Clean and Remove Face Paint
Now that you know what is in your face paint, and have your tools laid out, cleanup should be easier than eating all of that candy in one sitting and managing to sit still after eating all of that candy. Ok, so there is no way around it, cleanup will not be easy. But at least you have a plan.
If your paint is water based, congrats! You get to use old fashioned soap and water! We prefer an organic castile soap because it is gentle and works well, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
If you have an oil or grease based paint, you will get the most success with using a oil based cleaning agent. A good quality coconut or jojoba oil will do the trick, and it will treat your skin with the moisturizing properties that make it great any time of year. Just pour or dab some on your cotton pads and the face paint should clean right up. You will want to have plenty of pads if you don't have a microfiber cloth, so don't skimp on the supplies!
If there is anymore residue left, you can use a few other tricks like scrubbing with some shaving cream or a baby wipe. Baby wipes are a time tested trick taught at Army Ranger School to remove camouflage paint. If its tough enough for them, it should be tough enough for you too! And in case your daughter is tired of being a princess for Halloween, tell her that she is tough enough to be an Army Ranger (two women just passed the course this summer).
4. Don't Forget to Clean Your Costumes Too!
Don't let the costumes or other clothing sit, because those stains could set. Consider soaking things over night if you don't want to go through the trouble of running an entire load of laundry. Follow the care instructions, since Halloween costumes are not always made from the most durable materials. Lets face it, most are cheap. But if you take care of them, your kids can have bins full of costumes to dress up throughout the year. Use natural detergents to continue to minimize the impact on our environment. We don't need synthetic chemicals in our clothes or our waterways creating zombie fish!