Scary Paintings to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween is the perfect time to explore dark paintings and scary art. If you want to get in the Halloween spirit, explore these creepy works of art. Get ready to be haunted.

1. The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli (1781)

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli. A demonic creature sits on a sleeping woman's chest.

Fuseli’s painting screams Halloween art. The mixture of horror and sensuality stands out and creates a strong feeling of unease. A demonic creature sits on a sleeping woman’s chest, amplifying the nightmarish and eerie atmosphere, perhaps even a personification of sleep paralysis.

2. Witches’ Sabbath by Francisco Goya (1789)

Witches' Sabbath by Francisco Goya. People encircle a demonic goat.

Goya’s gloomy piece of art depicts a moonlit gathering of women and children encircling a demonic goat. At first glance, this painting might not seem frightening, but take a closer look at the details, you’ll understand why it’s on our Halloween art list.

3. The Death of Sardanapalus by Eugène Delacroix (1827)

The Death of Sardanapalus by Eugène Delacroix. A man orders his officers to destroy his possessions.

This painting uses dramatic colours to depict chaos and despair, perfectly fitting the Halloween holiday. It displays Sardanapalus ordering his officers to destroy and kill all his possessions, including people, as his city was under attack, and he did not want to accept defeat.

4. The Witches Flight by Francisco Goya (1789)

The Witches Flight by Francisco de Goya. Witches and supernatural beings are casting a spell.

Another sombre artwork by Goya shows witches and supernatural beings casting a spell or performing a ritual. The black background of this painting instantly sets a dark atmosphere suited for this time of year.

5. The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch (1490-1510)

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Heaven, earth and hell are side by side.

This three-panel piece of art may not seem gloomy at first glance. However, with a closer look, you will realize that each panel depicts something different. The left panel is heaven, the centre panel is earth, and the right one is hell. Hell stands out with frightening depictions.

6. The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse (1886)

The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse. A witch stands next to a cauldron, holding a stick.

Waterhouse’s scary painting depicts a witch crafting a potion in a cauldron over a fire. In her hand, you can see a long wand or stick. Surrounding the woman, you can see crows, often a symbol of death, danger or misfortune.

We hope this has given you Halloween painting ideas! Try creating your own piece of Halloween art and tag us on Instagram
Want to read something even more frightening? Check out our blog on The Dark Side of Art.

Written by Jillian Simpson