Halloween Costume Ideas, DC Style

Photo courtesy of
‘Jack-O-Lantern wall’
courtesy of ‘E V Peters’

There’s one thing on everyone’s mind in DC this week. Health care, taxi cab fraud, economic recession…they’re all taking a back seat for now. I mean, they’re important and stuff. But the one and only thing you should be worried about right now is what you’re going to be for Halloween! You have exactly 8 days to come up with something extremely clever and amazing, figure out what you need to make it happen and then find a way to actually pull it off. We in DC hold each other to a higher standard when it comes to dressing up for this love-it or hate-it holiday. Dracula, a sheet over-your-head ghost or a cape and mask batman just won’t cut it around here. You need to be smart and unique with your costume.

Do not fear, my fellow “I was going to be a goblin until I read this post and realized that’s just not cool and I need to try much, much harder” friends. We Love DC is here to save the day yet again. Today I present to you: DC appropriate costume ideas. Some of them would only fly here in DC while some could make it elsewhere. But if there is one place in the country where these outfits would be considered a good choice on the night of October 31st (definitely don’t wear them during the day)…it’s right here in the glorious and splendid Nation’s Capitol. Now, let’s take a look at your options.

Bernie Madoff
One of the most hated men in America today has to be Ol’ Bernie. He pretty much single-handedly symbolizes the nasty greed and corruption in the financial sector that helped bring down our economy. But he will soon be forgotten, so now is the time to take advantage of his terribleness. When you go as a specific person, you kind of have to buy a mask – unless you are fortunate enough to look exactly like this ass-hat. But what will make this really work is your “shtick”. Give out fake stock certificates, fake $100 bills, or maybe print out a completely made up stock chart that goes nowhere but up to show to potential investors. Tape it to your back! You want everyone to know that you can offer them the investment of a lifetime. The hard part is deciding what to wear; a fancy pinstriped suit or an orange jump suit? Both are appropriate.

H1N1 – The Big Bad Swine Flu

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘jpcolasso’

The Swine Flu might be the most popular thing on earth right now. Obviously it’s not popular for good reasons and it is causing a lot of grief, but let’s ignore that for one night and have some fun with its popularity. A must is a breathing mask (this fancy one is $3.95). If you are really into it, go for a full out pig costume. If you are on the cheap, maybe just put on a pink t-shirt (because you have one of those) and attach this for your tail. Then, on the t-shirt, write H1N1 in huge bold, scary-looking letters. Nice touches (thanks to Katie) would be sick-people slippers and perhaps some tissues stuck to you.

The National Mall
We love our National Mall. Everything about it is awesome (except the whole no drinking on federal land thing). We love it so much, we can even wear it as our costume! Katie pitched in this description since she was so incredibly excited about it. Just make sure you have a little time on your hands for this one:

Wear all green from head to toe. Outline the shape of the mall on your body, from shoulder to ankles, with masking tape, marking the cross-streets and city blocks. Cut out the Lincoln, and attach it on your shoes (one half of the building on each shoe) and then run a blue section of the reflecting pool up your pants. On your stomach, (or in other areas, if you’re feeling ambitious) attach a cardboard Washington monument (WOW Katie), and decorate with little American flags. Then, up near your shoulders, fashion the Capitol and reflecting pool and attach. You’re good to go.

Washington Monument

Photo courtesy of
‘High Heel Race 2007’
courtesy of ‘Kyle Walton’

This is just brilliant, and definitely something you would not see outside of the DC area (and if you did, that’d be pretty weird). I have no idea how to tell you to dress up like the world’s tallest obelisk, but I know one thing – you should figure it out because this is awesome. Maybe a bunch of felt combined with foam shaped into a giant point at the top? Yah, I suck at crafts. But give it a shot!

Metro Station Pylon

Photo courtesy of
‘Shannon as a Metro pylon’

Love or hate the Metro, this city is always talking about it. Let’s celebrate it! Shannon describes for us how to achieve the perfect Metro station pylon look. This costume is sure to be a hit at any DC area party, assuming nobody takes their Metro aggressions out on you:

I got a couple pieces of black foam-core board, cut them into long rectangles, then duct-taped all the rectangles together with a foam-core square platform holding them all together in the center.  I duct-taped a baseball cap into that platform so it would stay on my head.  I used colored posterboard for the Metro line colors, and white poster board for the M (I worked off a picture to get the proportions right).  I bought some two-inch letters at a craft supply store and stuck them on black clothes, and ta da!  It took less than an hour and I can’t tell you how many people have told me they love the costume.  I felt like a celebrity last year– random people on the street wanted to have pictures taken with me!

Joe Wilson
Outside of some wicked cool Halloween party hosted by the member of Congress you work for, I doubt many people would actually recognize you if you dressed up as Joe Wilson the man. But if you decorate yourself as Joe Wilson the symbol – you win. This might be the easiest costume on earth too. I’m pretty sure all you need is a piece of cardboard with “YOU LIE!” written on it in Sharpee. Then hang that hand-made sign on a piece of string and put it around your neck, letting your passionate feelings hang on your chest for all of the vampires, witches and Batman’s to see. Instant hit.

Suspicous Package
It’s hard to go a whole week around the District without at least a few blocks getting shut down due to a suspicious package. But how do you pull this one off? Well it’d be great if you could put yourself in a huge box that had holes for your head, arms and legs. But that may not be possible. If not, at least tape cardboard to your front and back so you somewhat look like a box…and maybe put packaging tape or USPS tape (even better) all around you. Then write something ominous or threatening on the outside of the cardboard box. I’m not going to give examples because it would probably cause some kind of outrage, but believe me…it will be much funnier in person when you arrive at the big party half-drunk. For good measure, put some police line tape around you as well.

The DC Real World Cast
Photo courtesy of
‘The Biggest Looser’
courtesy of ‘: rebecca :’

(Yes I realize that picture is not of the Real World cast, but same idea)
You could try and replicate the look of one of the cast members, but hardly anyone would know what they look like so that would probably result in #costumeFAIL. Instead, make this a group contest. If the Real World cast walking through Dupont Circle, how would you recognize them? It would be a bunch of hipsters looking like they just don’t care, followed up by a camera crew of course. The key is making sure someone in your group either has a video camera on their shoulder or perhaps even a film crew t-shirt. If you are in the cast, just make sure to look as cool as possible. And make out with a LOT of people wherever you go. And be wasted. By the end of the night, half the city will know who you are. Mission accomplished.

What NOT to Wear
I’m going to say that you should NOT go as Barack Obama (unless you do something cool like have a Nobel prize around your neck??). Too easy and you will run into way too many look-a-likes. But maybe going as Michelle would be a better idea? I also suggest you not go as Michael Jackson. It’s just…weird and creepy on many levels and there will be a lot of them. And as a guy, it would be hard for me to say that the surge in popularity of scantily clad female costumes is a bad thing…but as someone who is writing an article about clever Halloween costumes, I recommend you find a better way to dress up than just picking the tightest or most revealing outfit you can find and hoping it gets you in just because you are showing a little something extra this Saturday night. Be creative!

Are you going as one of the above? Think my ideas suck and you have better ones? Share your thoughts in the comments. But hurry…you are RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Karl is a Washingtonian who lives and breathes everything that is DC. Politics, ethnic restaurants, sad sports teams, the Metro and pretty much anything in between. Karl’s life is kind of like going to a Nats’ game while eating Ethiopian food and discussing the latest legislation to pass the House. Then cramming on the Metro for a ride home. That ’bout sums it up. See why Karl loves DC or check him out on Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Halloween Costume Ideas, DC Style

  1. Re: National Mall costume – to be totally appropriate, you need to replace the “all green” with more tan/brown and splotches of dead grass taped to it. Just sayin’.

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  3. @ber – that is fantastic. I hope someone goes as that and sends in pics.

    @Rebecca…that would be good too!

    AND I completely forgot to include the costume idea of Balloon Boy!!! Ug, that would’ve been great.

  4. My roommate said a few weeks ago that she was planning on going at Aretha Franklin’s inauguration hat. Haven’t seen any evidence of its crafting around the house but if she follows through I’ll totally get you pics.

    Someone should go as Andrew Bestor, the guy in the straw boater who hangs around outside Union Station every day with the weird signs about the CIA and such: http://www.janusmuseum.org/panabasis/jan06.htm#14jan2

  5. Mary, please do see if you can get pics. We will need a follow up article after Halloween showcasing the best DC themed costumes of the weekend!

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