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10 Spooky Halloween Effects To Add To Your Photos

a person with a face paint

Halloween isn’t just a great time for candy and horror movie lovers. It’s also the perfect chance for photographers to flex their muscles and give their friends a bit of a shiver!

If you’re looking for new ideas for your Instagram portfolio, or you’d like to create a small square photo book revolving around a single occasion, then this is the best day of the year to do so. 

There are several ways you can add a creepy edge to your photos. You can even make your photos look like lost footage from the set of The Exorcist if you want to, but that will depend on whether you choose practical or digital effects. 

Do you want to take a selfie as a full-blown zombie? Or do you want something a little more subtle and sophisticated?

Whatever you want to do, we've compiled ten spooky Halloween effects that you can add to your photos to get the spine tingling. Starting with editing apps…

Editing Apps

  • YouCam Perfect

YouCam Perfect is our number-one photo app this season, perhaps because it’s so simple. All you need to do is download it, tap “effects”, and you’ll have a load of spooky filters to choose from – ranging from “dark and cobwebby” to “wet and blustery”. Don’t expect anything too realistic. This is just a fun app to add some Halloween thrills to your photos.

  • AI Halloween Photo Editor 

Eek, AI! But before you move on in disgust, hang around for a second. Although the question of whether AI will ruin the art of photography is still up in the air, there are several ways it is being used to improve the photography experience. One of these is in the Halloween Photo Editor app, where you can upload photos of yourself and allow AI to generate some spooky avatars.

  • Zombify

The Zombify app is an app that automatically takes a photograph of you at 9:00 AM on a Monday morning, capturing a like-for-like zombie image that looks like it’s been plucked straight out of Dawn Of The Dead... Nah, we're only joking. This is just a fun, easy-to-use app that places a terrifying zombie filter over any selfie that you upload!

  • Camera1 

If you’re not looking for apps that alter your appearance or your surroundings, then we suggest downloading Camera1. This is an app that can edit your photos and make them a little more eerie with a range of black-and-white filters. Sometimes, just a strange, black-and-white image can be enough to get your hair standing on end.

  • Huji 

Huji is another great app for editors who are looking for more subtle filters. In our opinion, photographs that look old often have a slightly unnerving edge, as if they’ve captured ghosts rather than living, breathing subjects. For this reason, we recommend downloading this app and sifting through its vintage filters. Apply it to some of your more atmospheric photographs, or some selfies of you wearing spooky Halloween makeup, and see what happens.


If you’re looking for more of a challenge, there are a few things you can do in the moment that can lend to some creepy Halloween pictures. Find some of them below:

  • Shadows

Duh! Shadows are always creepy, especially if you’re taking pics in a forest or an old part of town. Just make sure you take the photographs around 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM or 3:00 PM – or any time that the sun is directly above you – and you will come away with some gritty, moody, and horrifyingly atmospheric photos!

  • Double Exposure

Sometimes just toggling around with your photography settings can give you some pleasant -- or rather, unpleasant -- surprises. If you adjust your shutter speed, you can apply a double exposure to your photos that will make them a little more blurred, eerie, and unnatural. Perfect if you’re shooting an old cabin in the middle of the woods... Or your partner after telling them they’re on dinner duty tonight.

  • Eyeless

It’s weird, but if you find ways to play around with light and block out a subject’s eyes, you’re always left with a deeply unsettling picture. Maybe that’s because they’re the doors to the soul, and getting rid of them makes the subject look soulless. This is a difficult one, for sure, but it’s not impossible if you’re shooting with shadows or a single source of light to manipulate.

  • Color Manipulation

Speaking of manipulating things, one of the techniques that a lot of filmmakers use is called “color manipulation”. This is when you overindulge in white balance to heighten the colors of a scene, making it look far more vivid and unnerving. We heavily suggest this one if you’re uploading the pictures to our photo book maker, as the glossiness of the page will only make those colors pop even more.

  • No More Rules 

Lastly, if you want to create some scary photographs this Halloween, we suggest you tear up the rulebook. We’re not saying you can’t achieve spooky photos with a rulebook, but following the rules can incite a feeling of harmony and comfort in the viewer. If you stray away from the rules, you’re immediately inciting a feeling of discord. 

Whether that’s through tilting the camera or adding motion blur, this will help you to unnerve the viewer and create a photograph that just feels wrong. That’s what Halloween is all about, after all.


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