At Large  October 20, 2022  Chandra Noyes

10 Art Inspired Halloween Costumes

Artfully Awear (@artfullyawear)

Detail of image posted to Instagram by Artfully Awear (@artfullyawear).

From spooky to sexy and everything in between, Halloween gives us the opportunity to express a side of ourselves we keep under wraps the rest of the year. And if your inner self is a major art lover, Halloween can turn you into a walking work of art. Here are 10 ways to embody art this Halloween.


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Simple, elegant, mysterious, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring is an alluring costume for fans of the Dutch Golden Age. With a makeshift turban, a bold bauble on your ear and an aloof look in your eye, you could be one of art history’s great beauties. The subject of a book, play and movie, the Girl with the Pearl Earring is undeniably popular, and with her look, you will be too.


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Love Surrealism and bobbing for apples? René Magritte’s 1964 The Son of Man may be the costume for you. With just a suit, a bowler hat, and part of fall’s bounty, you can transform yourself into the Belgian surrealist’s most recognizable painting. A self-portrait, The Son of Man is a simple and iconic, if you don’t mind looking at the backside of an apple all night.


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Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain made a splash in the 1917 art world, and dressing as a urinal may still shock some in 2019. One of Duchamp’s readymade works, the cheeky Fountain made a piece of plumbing into a work of art by turning it upside down and signing the pseudonym “R. MUTT.” Paper mache may prove more practical than porcelain, but Fountain will likely be the most avant-garde costume at your party.

Andy Warhol turned to iconic images of Marilyn Monroe for subject matter a number of times. HIs 1962 Marilyn Diptych is one of his most recognizable works, an icon in its own right. In flattening his subject matter and infusing them with bright colors, Warhol elevated the mundane and popular to high art. Warhol’s pink Marilyn has helped turn Monroe from a tragic figure into a pop-culture hero, and this costume takes the standard Marilyn The Seven Year Itch costume to the next level.


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2018’s most talked-about art stunt took a $1.3 million Banksy print and ripped it to shreds. After the gavel fell on the sale of Balloon Girl at Sotheby’s London, an alarm sounded from within the work’s frame, and the piece dropped into a cleverly concealed paper shredder. Left hanging from the frame half-destroyed, Banksy declared the piece a new artwork, titled Love in the Bin. A Love in the Bin Halloween costume won’t set you back $1.3 million, and is a fun way to evoke the most mysterious and trouble-making artist of our times.


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Called the Queen of Polka Dots, Yayoi Kusama lives in her artwork in a way that few others do. She has said that the goal of her dotted canvases was to “obliterate” herself in a world filled with dots. To that end, her polka-dotted outfits serve her well as camouflage in front of her paintings. Don a striking red wig and polka-dotted dress and you can double as the artist and one of her popular works.

Cubism presents a fun challenge for canvas and face painters alike. The genius of Picasso’s Cubist portraits is his ability to change his subjects into something shocking and new, while keeping them familiarly human. Through bold colors and geometric shapes, we’re able to see multiple sides of the same person. With a bit of work, a cubist Picasso portrait could be your perfectly artistic shape-shifting Halloween costume.


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Henri Matisse’s Fauvist 1905 masterpiece Femme au chapeau (Woman with a Hat) was not always so beloved. Fauvism (fauves are wild beasts) was a garish affront to some when Matisse presented it to the salon. Modern critics marvel at the vibrant and tender portrait of his wife Amelie, complete with a hat that is sure to be a conversation-starter.

Like many Pop artists, Roy Lichtenstein took what was regarded as low art and insisted it was worthy of being called Fine Art. His comic book characters are instantly recognizable, their dramatic moments writ large in Ben-day dots (a printing technique to create blended colors). Taking one of  Lichtenstein’s characters off of the canvas into real life is a great way to pay homage to the artist and the popular comics of the past.

Perhaps the most famous painting of all time, the Mona Lisa needs no introduction. After all these centuries, her smile still intrigues, and she remains the embodiment of mystery and beauty. With enough makeup and a simple costume, you can bring her enigmatic presence to your Halloween party.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is the former Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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