Professional Practice

I’ve Got Your Halloween Costume!

I don’t know if it’s because I’m an art teacher, or because I have a love of all things silly, but I get positively giddy about dressing up for Halloween. My husband may have a different take, since my costume craziness has led to him donning outfits including Napoleon Dynamite, Mr. Mint from Candy Land, and a dinosaur.  Despite these choices, I’m confident he would admit that he had fun.

Today I want to share how to dress up as three famous artists using things you may already have around your house.

Men, don’t feel left out. I’ve even got a costume for you. Let’s get started.

1. Frida Kahlo

First up is the beloved Frida. Who could resist sporting that spectacular unibrow? Not me.

For this costume you will need:

  • thick ribbon
  • a few fake flowers
  • bobby pins
  • an eyeliner or brow pencil
  • a colorful shawl or scarf
  • a loose-fitting top
  • a full skirt
  • Large earrings (optional)
  • A stuffed bird or money for your shoulder (optional)

One of the most iconic features of Frida is the braided hairstyle she often wore. Although it looks complicated, the process is fairly simple.

1. Part your hair down the middle and make two pigtails.

2. Tie a piece of ribbon around each pigtail and braid it into your hair.

3. Using bobby pins, pin the braids to your head.

4. Snip the flowers off of the stem and insert near the top of your head

If your hair isn’t long enough for this style, or you’d like to keep things simpler, you can also get a large headband and hot glue the fake flowers to it.

After that, it’s just a matter of penciling in your unibrow and mustache and throwing on your skirt and top. Finish it off with your wrap and any optional accessories and you’re done!

Since I borrowed the skirt from my mom, this outfit cost me a whopping $5. I bought the eyebrow pencil for three dollars and the ribbon for two.

2. Jackson Pollock

OK guys, here’s one for you. Nothing could be simpler than dressing up like the iconic artist Jackson Pollock.

For this costume you will need:

  • a white t-shirt
  • a pair of old jeans rolled at the ankles
  • an old paint can with drips
  • a stick splattered with paint
  • a fake cigarette of some kind (optional)
  • a ribbon (optional)

Throw on your t-shirt and jeans. If your jeans are old and you want to splatter some paint on them, even better. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, splatter your hands with some paint, too. Yes, that will be awesome.

Next, stick your fake cigarette in your mouth and pick up your paint can and stick. If you want to get extra fancy, attach a ribbon to the stick and pretend to drip paint wherever you go. Don’t forget Pollock had quite a strong personality. Have fun with it.

This costume cost me $2, which I spent on the ribbon at my local craft store.

3. Georgia O’Keeffe

Growing up in Wisconsin might make me partial to Georgia, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a great person to dress up as for Halloween.

For this costume you will need:

  • a large, white menswear-inspired shirt
  • bobby pins
  • a long skirt or loose jeans
  • a black blazer or wrap sweater
  • a painting of a giant flower
  • southwest jewelry (optional)

Although some say that Georgia O’Keeffe wasn’t so stark in real life, this iconic portrayal of her should help your non-art friends “get” your costume. Well, that and the giant flower painting.

Sometime before Halloween, have some fun creating a painting inspired by O’Keeffe. Layer your large shirt over your skirt or jeans and top it off with your black blazer. Throw your hair back into a bun and secure with bobby pins. To top of your outfit, wear some silver southwestern jewelry. Pick up your painting and you’re ready to go!

This costume cost me $4 for the white shirt I found at my local thrift store.

I hope I’ve inspired you to get creative this Halloween season. You could also pull out these costumes when teaching. How fun would it be for your students to learn action painting from Pollock himself?

 Tell us, what was your best homemade costume?

Have you ever dressed up like an artist before? We’d love to hear about it.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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