WTF Art History

Best Artsy Halloween Costumes

Jimena Escoto 26 October 2023 min Read

It is the time of the year to get spooky. Do you have your Halloween costume ready? The following examples used their creativity to recreate famous artworks—you might get inspired by some of them!

Van Gogh and His Starry Night

Halloween artsy costume: Van Gogh and His Starry Night children costume. Facebook.

Van Gogh and His Starry Night children costume. Facebook.

It is never too early to introduce a child to art. And what better way than to have fun with it through a Halloween costume? These little ones did an excellent job at portraying Vincent van Gogh, one of the most beloved artists in the world, and his masterpiece.

Klimt’s The Kiss

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Viena, Austria. Right: Jeanine Cerundolo, The Kiss costume. Pinterest.

Left: Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Viena, Austria. Right: Jeanine Cerundolo, The Kiss costume. Pinterest.

Couple’s costumes are always fun. This pair chose one of Gustav Klimt’s most beloved and romantic paintings, The Kiss from 1907-1908. They went all in, background and everything.

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Can’t Help Myself

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Can’t Help Myself, 2016-2019. ArtNews. Right: Idigcrystals, Can’t Help Myself costume, 2022. TikTok.

Left: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Can’t Help Myself, 2016-2019. ArtNews. Right: Idigcrystals, Can’t Help Myself costume, 2022. TikTok.

This person showed true commitment with her Halloween costume. TikTok user @idigcrystals recreated Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s installation Can’t Help Myself (2016-2019). The piece was exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale. It consisted of a machine that scraped up the red liquid on the floor. As time went by, it got slower until total exhaustion. And because it is not just a matter of dressing up, but also of performing, she imitated Su and Peng’s work.

Rubens’s St. Sebastian

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Peter Paul Rubens, St. Sebastian, 1614, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany. Right: St. Sebastian costume. Pinterest.

Left: Peter Paul Rubens, St. Sebastian, 1614, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany. Right: St. Sebastian costume. Pinterest.

This person chose to recreate St. Sebastian. This saint is already highly recognizable due to multiple paintings that portray him dying. This man has both the costume and the attitude.

Henri Matisse’s Woman with a Hat

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, USA. Right: Ariel Adkins, Woman with a hat costume, 2017. Instagram.

Left: Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, USA. Right: Ariel Adkins, Woman with a hat costume, 2017. Instagram.

Ariel Adkins (@artfullyawear) posted her costume on Instagram of Henri Matisse’s Woman with a Hat from 1905. The make-up is absolutely stunning and shows great commitment from her.

Magritte’s Son of a Man

Halloween artsy costume: René Magritte, Son of a Man, 1964, private collection. Wikimedia Commons (public domain). Right: Son of a Man costume. Reddit.

René Magritte, Son of a Man, 1964, private collection. Wikimedia Commons (public domain). Right: Son of a Man costume. Reddit.

The enigmatic paintings of René Magritte are a fun inspiration for Halloween costumes. This Reddit user celebrated the fact that many people understood his costume. A suit, a hat, and an apple were enough to recreate Son of a Man from 1964.

Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665-1667, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands. Right: Girl with a Pearl Earring costume. The house that Lars built.

Left: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665-1667, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands. Right: Girl with a Pearl Earring costume. The house that Lars built.

This is one of the most famous paintings and the costumes it inspires are also very popular. Johannes Vermer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is an easy costume for someone who is running out of time.

Wood’s American Gothic

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. Right: American Gothic costume. Seakettle.

Left: Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. Right: American Gothic costume. Seakettle.

Grant Wood’s American Gothic is creepy enough for Halloween. Not for nothing, it is a popular costume for art lovers and couples!

Failed restoration: Ecce Homo (Mono)

Halloween artsy costume: Left: Elías García Martinez, Ecce Homo, ca. 1930, Sanctuary of Mercy Church, Borja, Spain. FAZ. Right: Ecce Homo costume. Reddit.

Left: Elías García Martinez, Ecce Homo, ca. 1930, Sanctuary of Mercy Church, Borja, Spain. FAZ. Right: Ecce Homo costume. Reddit.

This is a true horror story, perfect for Halloween. In 2012, the failed restoration of the fresco Ecce Homo located in a church in Borja, Spain went viral. The original painting was made in 1930 by a local artist Elías García Martínez. Cecilia Giménez, an amateur painter, had no malicious intentions but she still ruined the fresco. There was worldwide indignation for it and became the source of mockery, changing its name to Ecce Mono (monkey). Not surprisingly, people took it as inspiration for their Halloween outfits.

By no means is this an exhaustive list. Every year, people post their wonderful costumes inspired by art history.

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