Face Painting

By: Heather Desmond O’Neill

“Mama, can I get my face painted?”

What’s better than being a kid with your face painted?

Apparently, in my boys’ opinion, not much.

This summer we experimented a lot with face painting.  At a few festivals we attended, the boys have wanted to wait in the line and get something painted onto their faces that would magically transform them into some sort of creature and give them the go ahead to roar or growl at anyone who walked by. Awesome.

At one family fun day we attended, the girls doing the face painting were a couple of high school girls with not very much artistic talent.  Jameson sat down and asked to be a bear.  The girl almost fell over.  She had been used to painting stars or hearts or rainbows on the cheeks of adorable little girls – and then Jameson sat down.  She started by outlining his face with black paint – which was OK, but looked nothing like a bear.  Then she covered his entire face with brown paint, which he loved because his favorite color is brown (because it’s the color of chocolate …. Yes, he is my son).  She painted his nose pink and told him he was done.  It was, by far, the worst rendition of a bear I have ever seen, but he didn’t care.  Thankfully, there weren’t any mirrors so he could not see the atrocity on his face – but he worked that bear like it was his job.  He roared and growled at anyone and everyone that crossed his path.  As bad as he looked, it was quite comical to see him really become “the bear.”


Captain America

This summer our family traveled up to Storyland. The boys and their cousin Mackenzie saw multiple kids throughout the day with painted faces. They kept asking to have their faces painted too. How could we pass this up? They had a few boards set up outside of the face painting area, and you were supposed to find the “face” you wanted and then tell the painters. The kids were ecstatic. Mackenzie chose the “Rock Princess” and posed like a supermodel as she sat and had her face painted with beautiful pinks, whites and sparkles. Jameson chose a red, white and blue swoosh that reminded him of Captain America.  (I think he may have been a little scarred from his previous bear experience and didn’t want to have his entire face painted. Instead, he opted for the simple swoosh around his eyes.) And then Jackson chose the face he wanted. My husband and I tried to sway him towards a pirate or the rocker, who had simple designs around the eyes and mouth, but he had other plans. He chose the “Tiger” – a face full of orange ad black paint – and would not budge. He was insistent. It was quite comical how firm he was on his decision. I never thought for a second that he would sit long enough to have his entire face covered, but he was a pro.



The girl told him to “scootch” back in the seat and he wiggled back in the chair, set his arms out and tilted his chin up, awaiting the first application of the paint. You would have thought he was going on the movie set. He stayed still and loved every minute of it.  When she was done and he got to look in the mirror, the pure joy and amazement on his face was priceless. When the realization hit that it was him under the make up, he jumped right into character. He roared at everyone in the park that afternoon. He ran up to random people and said, “I’m a tiger! Rooooooaaarrr!” Thankfully, most were parents with children close to his age and laughed. At the end of the day we had dinner with the characters in the park and he proceeded to roar at each one and in each picture we took with them. I can’t tell you the last time he was this happy.


The tiger



Taking off the paint is never fun, but it’s amazing what baby wipes can do! Just a few swipes and the paint was gone for good. We made sure to look in the mirror and say goodbye to the Tiger and Captain America, which made the cleaning a little easier.

I’m looking forward to the next place we go where the kids can get their faces painted. I may have had just as much fun watching them become their “characters” as they did acting out their roles!

What characters have your kids become?

3 thoughts on “Face Painting

  1. There’s nothing quite like a summer time pirate. Shirtless with a little vest, black curly chest hairs painted on, facial stubble and some ‘manly’ scars. (Chicks apparently dig scars) My son is way past this age now, but he loved every face painting opportunity at that age, too.

  2. 🙂 that was my daughter that painted your little tiers face 🙂 happened to be searching to see if there were any images of her doing her job this past summer…that’s how I came across this!

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