Arty Halloween How-To: Terrify With Existential Angst as Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”

This installation of our arty Halloween costume guide is particularly timely as today also marks the opening of MoMA‘s special exhibition centered around the auction record-setting pastel version of Edvard Munch‘s iconic “The Scream,” on loan from recent buyer Leon Black through April 29, 2013. While assembling this costume is relatively simple, it demands much more of a performance than, say, “The Andy Monument” or “Levitated Mass.” Let’s get started.

Firstly, to get that weird, wavy, wispy figure, we recommend either an extra-long blue t-shirt or, better yet, a True Blue Snuggie ®. Just remember to remove the “Snuggie” tag from the sleeve; those didn’t exist in late-19th century Norway, and if they had there would have been no existential angst to portray in such a stunning image. In summation, this is your one and only chance to buy a Snuggie with impunity: seize it.

Also essential to the “Scream” figure’s terrorized look is his skull-like head, which you’ll need a bald wig. The Leon Black version of the artwork has the additional and odd distinction of boasting different colored nostrils — one red, one blue. If you’re really feeling like a perfectionist, trace the outer edges of your nostrils with the appropriate costume makeup colors. The truly tone-obsessed might opt to add mime makeup for that sickly pale look.

Lastly, the hands: Keeping them lifted to your ears all night could be exhausting — and we’re not going to recommend that you glue them in place, as Carlton Banks did unwittingly in an especially memorable episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” — but a pair of prop arms can come in handy. Sew one end into your Snuggie sleeve and tuck the other end into your skin cap, and voila, now you can carry your candy and/or booze under your Snuggie.

Difficulty Level: 5

Sexy Option: Short of telling you to wear nothing under your Snuggie/extra-long t-shirt and go around flashing people — which, though it would undoubtedly make them scream, seems inappropriate and irresponsible — one of this costume’s major shortcomings seems to be its profound unsexiness.

PS: We should point out that although online costume shops offer many things called a “Scream Costume,” inexplicably none of them looks anything like Munch’s “The Scream.”

Find all of ARTINFO’s arty Halloween costume guides here.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Detail of Edvard Munch‘s “The Scream,” 1895. © 2012 The Munch Museum/The Munch-Ellingsen Group/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)