Canvas of horror!
Love Halloween? Love art? Throw those two passions together with frightening results via our list of five classic artworks that double up as truly scary Halloween outfits. From Francis Bacon’s creepy Pope to Grant Wood’s deadly sweet American Gothic couple, with looks this artful, you won’t know whether to hit up the Tate or the cemetery.
A notoriously parodied dynamic duo of the American Midwest, Wood’s farmhouse pair are a go-to couple’s costume. Ladies, think Wednesday Adams in 30 years time (minus the plaits) and gents go in search of a pitchfork, some dungarees, and a suit jacket. A well-practised vacant stare is a non-negotiable accessory for both parties in this reimagining of the gothic.
American Gothic by Grant Wood, 1930
Nothing quite literally screams Halloween like Munch’s most iconic expressionist piece. Now a face synonymous with the holiday thanks to the meta slasher movie franchise of the same name, it should be pretty easy to get your hands on a ghoulish mask at your local fancy dress shop. If you’re feeling fancy, have a rummage through the cupboards for a black bed sheet to complete the look – don’t let anyone tell you you haven’t tried, it’s an age-old classic.
The Scream by Edvar Munch, 1893
Dark and visceral, the rich colour palette of Francis Bacon’s screaming Pope wouldn’t look out of place in a Lynchian nightmare. While a caged Pope might be on the tricky side to pull off, as the most well-known piece in a series of re-interpretations of canonical western visual art, take a leaf out of Bacon’s book and reimagine a recognisable, cultural figure with a sinister, soul-sucking edge.
Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X by Francis Bacon, 1953
A movement rooted in the unconventional and otherworldly, it would be rude not to include a surrealist piece in this lineup. Dalí’s The Face of War offers the perfect playground of inspiration for the Halloween treatment, be it a disembodied head, serpent attack, or the infinite corpse heads repeated in the eye and mouth sockets. You could even play on the faces’ resemblance to Hannibal Lecter’s mask in Silence of the Lambs (1991) and don the cannibal’s signature headgear with a surrealist twist.
The Face of War by Salvador Dalí, 1940
Not in the mood to cause a fright? Lichenstein’s 60s comic strip-esque pop art offers a wealth of inspiration for your Hallow’s Eve look. Get some face paint and everyday props to recreate his classic Ben Day dot style and cartoon-like features – a coloured wig wouldn’t go amiss either. After all, modern society is fucking scary enough.
In the Car by Roy Lichenstein, 1963