News & Politics

8 Washington-Themed Costumes to Wear on Halloween This Year

Runaway zebras, Met Gala AOC, the Capitol fence, and more.

Image via iStock.

It’s officially October—time to start planning your Halloween costume! Sure, you could go for an old standby, but why not pay tribute to some of this year’s headline news? Washington was the backdrop to plenty of costume-worthy events and characters, making it the perfect inspiration for spooky season. Here are eight ideas.

Inauguration Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator donned a casual look for the inauguration ceremony, instantly becoming the viral meme of the day. And yes, his ensemble has already been transformed into a “sexy Bernie Sanders” costume.

What you need: Brown rain jacket, cozy wool mittens, and a disposable face mask.

Bonus points: Post up in a chair for the entire night with your arms crossed. Speak to no one.

Runaway zebras

The perfect group costume doesn’t exi— Gather a crew of five friends to pay homage to the zebras that broke free in Upper Marlboro, capturing our hearts in the process.

What you need: Black-and-white striped outfits, animal ears, and an indomitable spirit.

Bonus points: Leave the Halloween party without saying goodbye and then go off the grid for a month (and counting).

Eleanor Holmes Norton Zebras
Image via iStock.

Space cowboy Jeff Bezos

The owner of the Washington Post took a 10-minute trip to space in July with his rocket company, Blue Origin. The Amazon founder inexplicably donned a cowboy hat before and after the launch.

What you need: Spacesuit, cowboy hat, and Western boots.

Bonus points: Buy all the Halloween candy. Hoard as much of it as possible.

Brood X

After 17 years of chilling underground, the Brood X cicadas dominated this summer’s airspace. The more people you can get involved in this costume, the better.

What you need: Red sunglasses, costume wings, and antennas.

Bonus points: Be as loud as possible all. night. long.

Photograph by JMPhoto64 via iStock.

AOC at the Met Gala

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the costume gala’s Americana theme to make a political statement. The representative wore a gown created by activist and designer Aurora James bearing the message “tax the rich.”

What you need: A long white dress inscribed with red paint.

Bonus points: Redistribute the wealth (king-sized candy bars) to trick-or-treaters.

Joe Manchin and kayak protester

This couple’s costume is perfect for the partners who always seem to be fighting. Protesters kayaked to the West Virginia senator’s houseboat—named “Almost Heaven,” naturally—to challenge the centrist’s resistance on the latest budget reconciliation bill.

What you need: Orange life jacket and a kayak paddle for the protester. Suit, salt-and-pepper coif, West Virginia flag for Manchin.

Bonus points: Argue all night about abolishing the filibuster.

Sexy Capitol Fence

Fencing was installed around the Capitol following the January 6 insurrection, remaining intact for six monthsmuch to the exasperation of Capitol Hill residents. The barrier later returned ahead of September’s far-right rally. But who says security theater can’t also be sultry?

What you need: A section of chainlink fencing, fishnet stockings, and barbed-wire headpiece.

Bonus points: Overstay your welcome. Then, once everyone thinks you’re gone, come back again.

Photo by Evy Mages.
Photo by Evy Mages

Kyrsten Sinema

The Arizona senator is known for her eclectic ensembles, including colorful wigs on the Senate floor. But lately she’s been in the news for a far less fun reason: slowing down the passage of the reconciliation package without publicly explaining her rationale.

What you need: A bright-colored or platinum blond wig, funky glasses, and a festive frock.

Bonus points: Throw up a thumbs-down whenever you’re asked a question.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.


Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.