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Oct 14 2016
by Nancy Canevari

10 DIY Art-Themed Halloween Costumes

By Nancy Canevari - Oct 14 2016
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With Halloween just around the corner, the search to find a costume is more urgent than ever. If you’re looking for a creative, unusual costume idea, look no further than this list: we’ve got you covered with ten outfits based on classic paintings and sculptures that are certain to turn heads at your Halloween party.

1. The Kiss

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: yellow sheet or fabric, fake leaves or flowers, twine, colored cardstock, scissors, fabric glue, markers.

Instructions: Cut the cardstock into pieces, both rectangular and round. Color the rectangular pieces black, white and grey, and the round ones various bright colors. Spread the sheet or fabric out and, using fabric glue, attack the square shapes to one half, and the round ones to the other. Drape the sheet around your body, securing at the shoulder with a safety pin if need be. Wrap the twine around your head and then cut it down to size. Using glue, attach the leaves or flowers to the twine, then secure and place on your head. If you’re able to, go barefoot. If not, sandals are fine.

2. Girl With a Pearl Earring

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: strip of blue fabric, strip of yellow fabric, brown shirt, white shirt, pearl earring, bobby pins, clear hair elastic, hair donut (optional).

Instructions: If you have long hair, secure it in a bun on top of your head. If not, place the hair donut on the crown of your head and secure in place with bobby pins. Drape the edge of the yellow fabric over the bun or hair donut and secure in place with the clear hair elastic. Take the end of the yellow fabric, wrap it twice around the bun or hair donut, securing with pins if need be, and let the rest drape down your back. Wrap the blue fabric around your head like a headband, and secure in place with more pins. Put on the earrings (you can wear just one if you really want to make an impact), and the two shirts, brown on top of white.

3. Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: pink ribbon, bobby pins, gold or brown wire, fake blood, butterfly clips, eyebrow pencil, white shirt with a low neckline, small fake bird, glue.

Instructions: Put on the white shirt. Wrap two coils of wire that fit around your neck and connect them with smaller strips of wire. Add additional, longer pieces of wire to the coils, after placing those coils around your neck. Bend the wire until it settles comfortably around your shoulders. Using a small piece of wire and glue, attach the bird to your the wire so that it hangs on your chest. Take a small amount of fake blood and dab it in small lines around your neck, mimicking small cuts, as if from thorns.

Braid your hair into pigtail braids and pin them onto the top of your head. (If you have short hair, skip this step.) Loop the pink ribbon into a twisted coil, then pin that onto the top of your head, along with the butterfly clips.

Frida Kahlo’s strong, thick eyebrows were a key feature of her appearance. Use the eyebrow pencil to thicken yours.

Note: Frida Kahlo was a famed Mexican painter. If attempting this costume, do not change your skin tone, and know the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation. 

4. Degas Ballerina

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: long white tutu, white cap-sleeved shirt, thin black ribbon, thick dark-colored ribbon, ballet shoes, white tights, floral hair clip.

Instructions: Put on the tutu, skirt, tights and shoes. Tie the thin black ribbon in a bow around your neck and the thick ribbon in a bow around your waist. Fasten your hair in a bun at the back of your head and clip the floral clip onto it.

5. The Mona Lisa

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: concealer, glue stick, dark green long-sleeved shirt, black shawl or fabric, black lace.

Instructions: The Mona Lisa’s most notable feature is her lack of eyebrows. Using the glue stick, smooth your eyebrows down and then cover them with the concealer. Cover your hair with the black lace, put on the green shirt and drape the shawl over your shoulders. Walk around for the entire night with a creepy smile and the look is complete.

6. Mondrian's Composition With Red, Yellow and Blue

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: cardboard, red, yellow and blue cardstock, black markers, duct tape, thick fabric, glue.

Instructions: Take two large pieces of cardboard of equal size. Cut squares from the cardstock (using the painting as a reference), and glue them onto the cardboard. Draw black lines between each box, in varying levels of thickness. Attach two strips of the fabric to one piece of cardboard with the duct tape, then attach them to the other piece of cardboard. Fit your head through the space between the fabric strips, and wear the painting as a sandwich board.

7. Van Gogh’s Self Portrait

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: red face paint, straw hat, blue jacket, white shirt.

Instructions: If you’re lucky enough to have red hair and a red beard, you can skip the first step. But if you aren’t so lucky, then use the red face paint to make a beard and mustache similar to what Van Gogh had. After that, it’s just a simple matter of donning the hat, jacket and shirt.

8. Monet’s Water Lilies

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: blue clothing (dress, shirt and pants or skirt), green felt, fake flowers (preferably in pink or white), fabric glue, scissors.

Instructions: Trace circles of varying sizes on the felt and cut them out. From there, use fabric glue to attach the circles onto the blue clothing, spacing them unevenly. Attach the flowers to each fabric circle, completing the water lily look.

9. Winged Victory of Samothrace

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: white long dress, costume wings or wire and white tights, white felt, strips of stretchy white fabric, needle and thread.

Instructions: If making your own wings, bend the wire into wing-shapes. Cut the legs off of the white tights and then stretch them over the wire frames, and at the bottom of the frames tie a small knot to secure the wing-covers in place. Attach the wings to each other by sewing the wings to a small square of white felt. Take two strips of white fabric and measure them around your torso, then sew them to the white felt that joins the wings together. Put on the long white dress and then place the wings over your arms. If you really want to complete the costume, tuck your arms into the dress and walk around without arms for the night.

10. The Scream

Flickr Creative Commons

Materials needed: white face makeup, black lipstick, a bald cap, a black trenchcoat, eyelash glue, rubber gloves.

Instructions: Paint your face with the white face makeup and apply lipstick to your lips, giving a haunted, skeletal look. Secure your hair underneath the bald cap and put on the trench coat. Use more of the face makeup to paint the rubber gloves a matching shade of white. Apply a small amount of eyelash glue to either side of your face (eyelash glue works for this because it’s meant for skin and won’t be painful when it comes off), and attach the gloves to either side. This way, you won’t spend the entire night holding your hands up to your face.

Regardless of whether or not your party is going to be filled with art fans, these costumes are guaranteed to be unique — and all are very easy and affordable. Happy crafting!

Lead Image Credit: Tim Arterbury via Unsplash

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Nancy Canevari - Smith College

Nancy is a junior editor for Fresh U. She is a sophomore at Smith College and plans on double majoring in secondary education and English, with a concentration in creative writing. She's originally from New Jersey, a place she views with one part love and one part exasperated disgust. She loves dogs and young adult high fantasy novels a bit too much and spends most of her time drinking tea and yelling about politics. Follow her on Instagram @fearlesslynancelot for some solidly mediocre content.

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