Halloween Art History – The Scream for Kids!

It's a day full of spooky images and frightful tales... why not include a little art history activity that will make your kids scream (with delight!)?

Halloween art activity for kids Edvard Munchs The Scream.jpg

The Scream is Edvard Munch's most famous painting, and you see it all over the place. But have you ever stopped to really look closely at it? Today might be a fun day to print it out, or call your kids over to the computer as you spend a few minutes together observing all of the emotion and expression in this deceptively simple piece of art.

You can talk about things like:

  • Why is this person screaming?
  • When is the last time you felt this way?
  • How do the gestural brushstrokes make this painting feel?
  • What about Munch's choice of color? (Blue and orange are complimentary and they vibrate off of each other in this painting.)
  • Look at the bold diagonal line of the railing. What does that add to the art?
  • What else do your kids see? How do they feel as they look at this art?
I was walking along the road with two friends – Then the sun went down – The sky suddenly turned to blood and I felt a great scream in nature.
— Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893

(This is how I feel when I look at all of the sugar my kids come home with on Halloween night!)

Now, it's time for the real fun to begin!

Invite your kids to create a piece of art inspired by The Scream. But... instead of this person, they can paint themselves wearing their halloween costume for this year. And their expression doesn't have to be a scream. It can be whatever emotion goes along with their character. 

Maybe you have a mermaid whose expression is happiness. Or curiosity.

Or a superhero whose expression is confidence. Or courage.

Or a monster whose expression is... whatever your kids think it should be. You get the picture!

They can change the background, use different colors, and stray from the original art in any other way they'd like to make their art an expression of their "halloween personality." 

Have fun, and be sure to post your art on Instagram with our hashtag – #arthistorykids – so we can all see your kids self portraits as their characters!