How Do Artists Celebrate Halloween? Michael Stipe, B. Wurtz, and 20 More Share Costume Ideas

Ramiro Gomez is going as Pablo Picasso’s Guernica for Halloween.


Art and artists have long provided fodder for Halloween costumes for the ages. A spot-on Roy Lichtenstein tribute can cause a double-take, and donning a striped shirt, pipe, and newsboy hat à la Pablo Picasso can be a fast pass to a sophisticated disguise. And let us never forget the genius that was Beyoncé and Jay-Z dressing up as Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat back in 2014.

While artists make for inspiration, they are also often more than a little inspired themselves. To see what kinds of ideas they might have in store, ARTnews reached out to some of our favorite artists to inquire about their Halloween costumes for this year.

Ramiro Gomez I usually do several pop culture costumes depending on friends, but this year I’m going as Picasso’s Guernica. I painted it on a dress a few years ago, and I love to bring it out and talk with people about it.

Walter Robinson On Halloween I believe I’ll be going out dressed as a model for Lands’ End Comfort Waist No Iron Chino Pants. My wife Lisa is going of course as Mary Boone on early release.

Man Bartlett Flava Flavin! A Dan Flavin and Flava Fav mashup (sub the large clock necklace with large fluorescent light necklace).

C. Spencer Yeh Rue Bennett from the TV show Euphoria: oversized tie-dye T-shirt, maroon hoodie, yoga/bike shorts, Chuck hi-tops, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, glitter, other Rue stuff TBD.

Miles Huston Jenna [Rosenberg] and I are trying this: “Harpo Marx – Harp Playing” (1945). She is Harpo … and I will be the harp. Hopefully.

Ondine Vinao Billie Eilish—I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on it.

Michael Stipe I’ll be a green parrot. It’s a costume Douglas Coupland made for me in 2005 when he visited for Halloween, but our apartment caught on fire that night and I never got to wear it. This year I get to since Doug’s visiting again.

Douglas Coupland White trash: white hazmat suit with spray paint and actual trash attached.

Thomas Dozol My usual Halloween is hyper-French but with a bright-color acrylic wig on top. The only time I had a proper costume, I dressed up as a cartoon cliche of a French person—beret and baguette included.

Gina Beavers I planned to go as Keith (my husband), and then he would don a red jumpsuit splattered with blood, have gold scissors in hand, and go as himself in the underworld-tunnel version of himself from the movie Us. But it turns out we’re going to an ’80s theme party, so I will be Gertie from E.T. and Keith will be Elliott with E.T. in a bike basket around his waist. People have always said my celebrity look-alike is Drew Barrymore. 

Jamian Juliano-Villani as a reptile tennis player.


Jamian Juliano-Villani Amy Winehouse. Last year I was a reptilian tennis player.

Rachel Rossin Gandalf (the Grey, duh!).

Brad Phillips Late-years Howard Hughes.

B. Wurtz I will be in Los Angeles this Halloween, and I think I will take my trusty blond wig with me. That is probably my favorite costume, a wig. So much can happen with such a simple item. And for me, being bald, it’s quite a transformation. Plus the great thing about a wig is that everyone else I’m with can try it on too. So fun.

Meriem Bennani Thinking of being a crocodile.

Emily Mae Smith I don’t have one for myself, but my dog has two: the classic hotdog and a lobster.

Hein Koh My friend is throwing an ’80s-themed Halloween party, so as a last-minute costume I am going as an ’80s fitness instructor. I got a bunch of stuff on Amazon—an MTV T-shirt, which I will cut and crop, spandex leotard, running shorts, fluorescent green leg warmers, pink tights, and a fanny pack. Not sure yet if I will wear all or just a few of these things. I’m also making a headband and scrunchy from spandex in my studio, and will be styling big hair and a side pony. It’s all in the details.

Matt Kleberg I’m going as Axl Rose, and it isn’t the first time.

Nicholas Galanin Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau approving pipelines across unceded Indigenous lands with his Indigenous-inspired tattoo. This is also based off of my collaborative performance Re-Move.

Danni O’Brien I’m dressing up as Mary Katherine Gallagher. If you haven’t yet seen the cinematic masterpiece Superstar or Saturday Night Live in the ’90s, Mary Katherine Gallagher is an awkward, dorky Catholic school girl who dreams of becoming a superstar. When she gets nervous, she crosses her arms and shoves her hands in her armpits then pulls them out to sniff them vigorously! As a reformed Catholic school girl and graceless, self-conscious child, I relate enormously. For my costume, I’ll be wearing cat-eye glasses, a headband, a Peter Pan collared blouse under a sweater vest, my old plaid skirt from my sixth-grade uniform, and, most certainly, no deodorant.

Lola Flash I dressed up like a girl last year. This year, a sailor.

Star Montana I love Halloween and I try to dress up every year. I do couple costumes with my boyfriend. We try to hit famous spooky couples, since I love all the old horror shows and what they stand for. This year, he’s going as Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and I’ll be Vampira from Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space.

© 2019 ARTnews Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. ARTnews® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.