Still in Search of a Halloween Costume? Here are 10 Easy, Classical Music-Themed DIY Ideas

By Becky Nystedt |

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Halloween is almost here, which means that it might time to start thinking about a costume. If you've been putting off that task, here are some easy, clever classical music-themed costume ideas to get you in the spooky spirit!


1. Danseur Macabre


About the music:

Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse macabre is based off an old French superstition: legend says that every year on Halloween, Death plays the fiddle and the dead rise from their graves and dance until the break of dawn. Sounds like quite the party!



What you'll need:

Skeleton costume (or an all black outfit with a skeleton painted on); a fiddle



2. The Queen of the Night


About the music:

"Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen!" "Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart," sings the Queen of the Night. This spectacular, widely known soprano coloratura aria is heard in the second act of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The Queen is the last person you would want to cross!



What you'll need:

A crown; (a lot of) glitter; printed out stars



3. A Tourist on the Isle of the Dead


About the music:

Inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s eerie painting, Sergei Rachmaninoff composed the symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead. Rachmaninoff paints the picture of oars rowing, hitting the water, towards the Isle of the Dead. The Dies Irae chant is heard within the piece, is the grim suggestion of death. Not the hottest getaway destination — talk about a permanent vacation!



What you'll need:

Floral shirt; spooky mask



4. A Falla Firedancer


About the music:

Manuel de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo consists an unlucky 13 movements, the eighth being the Danza ritual del fuego, or Ritual Fire Dance. This movement was influenced by the traditional ceremony of a fire dance, where people would jump through flames to appease the fire god. Why play with fire when you can dance *like* fire?



What you'll need:

Dancin' shoes; flame shirt



5. Orpheus


About the music:

In the famous Greek myth, the poet and lyre player Orpheus traveled to the underworld to retrieve his lost love, Eurydice. Through his beautiful, mournful music, Orpheus convinced Hades and his wife Persephone to let him bring his wife back to life. The tragic legend has been adapted numerous times, most famously in Glück's opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Here's hoping your Halloween has a more favorable outcome!



What you'll need:

Bedsheet (to make Greek robes); a lyre



6. Lacri-Mozart


About the music:

Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor was unfinished prior to his death. Shortly after, Mozart’s musical pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr was commissioned to complete the Requiem in commemoration of the death of Count Franz von Walsegg’s wife. The Lacrimosa die illa (“This tearful day”) selection may be the most recognizable — It’s my Halloween party, and I’ll cry if I want to!



What you'll need:

Wig; fancy coat or classical clothing; tube socks to achieve the culotte effect; blue face-paint for tears



7. A Graceful Ghost


About the music:

The Graceful Ghost is the first rag in William Bolcom’s 3 Ghost Rags. We’ve seen Caspers, Ghostbusters, and all around s-c-a-r-y ghost costumes, so why not an elegant, peaceful, graceful ghost?



What you'll need:

A flowy bedsheet; scissors; ballet shoes.



8. Catacomb Pictures at an Exhibition


About the music:

In memory of his friend Viktor Hartmann, Modest Mussorgsky composed a ten-piece suite titled Pictures at an Exhibition. One of the movement depicts the cold and stillness of a catacombs. Mussorgsky even noted in Latin in the manuscript “With the dead in a dead language.”



What you'll need:

A picture frame (or a cardboard cutout); picture of a catacomb



9. Baroque-n Bone Bach


About the music:

Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach's famous organ work Toccata and Fugue in D Minor may be one of his most recognizable pieces of music. It’s been widely used to terrifying effects in film, television, and generally pop culture. As the phrase goes, if it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!



What you'll need:

Wig; fancy coat or classical clothing; tube socks; sling or cast



10. DUN-DUN (a costume for two)


About the music:

This may be two of the most chilling, memorable notes in film music history! The main shark theme from JAWS, composed by John Williams, is a repetitive, yet suspenseful musical pattern. This uneasy theme creates the feeling that something is lurking within the depths of the sea. (Shark) Attack this simple costume idea with a friend!



What you'll need:

Printed-out musical notes