News & Politics

5 DC-Themed Halloween Costumes to Wear This Year

Turn Lizzo's crystal flute and rejected Commanders names into Halloween looks.

Photo by Walter Grio.

Halloween is fast approaching, and with the holiday comes the decision of the year: What costume will you select? Some revelers choose between spooky or sexy regalia, but we recommend pulling a costume from local headlines for a look that speaks to this year in Washington. Here are five ideas for DC-themed costumes.

James Madison’s crystal flute

Former president James Madison achieved cultural relevance in September when pop star and flautist Lizzo played the Founding Father’s 200-year-old flute at a Capital One concert. The “flute en cristal,” on loan from the Library of Congress, was rescued from a White House fire in 1814.

What you need: Clear jacket, chrome accessories, and a wind instrument for an audio component.

Bonus points: Bust out some niche history facts alongside your best dance moves. After all, Lizzo thanked the Library of Congress for “making history freaking cool” after declaring “Bitch, I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute.”

Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.
Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.

Rejected Commanders names

Washington’s football team has long been a source of naming conflict, but a new moniker was finally unveiled this year after fierce competition. Get a group together to don costumes for the rejected names: Armada, Brigade, Defenders, Red Hogs, Red Wolves, and—of course—the Washington Football Team.

What you need: Animal ears, military helmets, or presidential wigs paired with football jerseys and eye black.

Bonus points: Elect a group member to dress up as Dan Snyder and refuse to leave the party…even if everyone wishes they would just go.

Photo by Jeff Elkins.
Photo by Jeff Elkins

Jon Taffer portrait in Taffer’s Tavern

The Bar Rescue host opened a sous-vide-centric pub in Penn Quarter, adorning the wall with a portrait of himself. Washingtonian’s Sylvie McNamara described the artwork “as though someone fed his picture into one of those computer programs that makes photographs look like paintings, printed it out, then hung it in a heavy gilt frame.”

What you need: To channel Taffer’s painted likeness, layer a gold frame over your neck, don a gray suit and blue button down, and carry a rocks glass.

Bonus points: Run around shouting the TV personality’s catchphrase, “Shut it down!” If you’re hitting a bar on the spooky holiday, counter Taffer’s unsavory remarks about restaurant workers with a generous tip.

Photo by Sylvie McNamara.
Photo by Sylvie McNamara.

Pentagon chicken

It’s been a wild year in Washington—literally. There was a red fox on Capitol Hill biting roving representatives and reporters, but the chicken that came before that egg? The Pentagon chicken. Despite having no security clearance, the bird infiltrated the complex in February, even inspiring a ditty from Jimmy Fallon.

What you need: A beak mask, feather boas, and a can-do attitude.

Bonus points: This one is best left as a mere costume, but in case it needs to be said: Please, PLEASE do not try to break into the Pentagon.

Photo courtesy the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Photo courtesy the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Silver Line Phase 2

Metro’s delays, breakdowns, and general vexation frighten commuters all year long—perfect fodder for an unnerving ensemble. Pay homage to the railway’s incoming edition with a Silver Line extension look. Six new spots are slated to debut this fall, six years after the first portion of the line was completed.

What you need: Rock a silver ‘fit with name tags touting the new station names.

Bonus points: Disappear midway through an event, and make your return in Halloween 2028.

Photo by Flickr user Elyse Horvath.
Photo by Flickr user Elyse Horvath.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

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