Satirical Halloween Costumes


220px-Friendly_pumpkin“The wife and I came up with so many Halloween costume ideas this year to satirize Washington politicians, but we aren’t sure which to choose.”

“You speak of a relatively recent trend in which adults pick or create Halloween costumes that mock or satirize current events and popular culture. Robert Thompson, a pop-culture expert and the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, explained the trend to me.”

“What do you mean, ‘trend’?”

“The origins of Halloween date back to pagan times. During harvest celebrations, the Celts dressed up in costumes to ward off ghosts and demons. As Christianity spread, the Catholics introduced All Saints’ Day. The holy evening before All Saints’ Day — All Hallows’ Eve — embraced many of the Celtic traditions. Today, we call it Halloween.”


“Thompson said the golden age of Halloween for kids happened in the post-World War II years. That trend continued into the 1980s. But in the last 25 years, Halloween has been reclaimed by adults.”

“It’s one of the few days of the year when you can be politically incorrect and make fun of bad ideas — though this year, the wife won’t let me dress up as a hobo.”

“She stopped you because she felt you’d be mocking the homeless?”

“No, because I was going to wear my regular clothes.”

“I see. The economy is still affecting many of us. Surely you have some other ideas to mock politicians in Washington?”

“I was thinking of dressing up like a big dollar bill — then I’d keep falling down.”

“A clever way to mock America’s weak dollar. Surely your wife is OK with that one?”

“Nope. She figured, correctly, that I came up with that one so I could conceal my consumption of adult beverages. It’s hard to slip anything past the wife.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah, it’s a real shame, because I was going to get her to dress up like a lady of the night with dollar bills pasted all over her.”

“I’m stumped. What would she be?”

“Loose money! The wife and I also thought about dressing up in straitjackets with stethoscopes hanging around our necks.”

“Doctors under ObamaCare?”

“Almost everyone under ObamaCare. Then the wife and I were going to strap a bunch of red balloons under my armpits and see how high I could float.”

“America’s ballooning debt? Very clever.”

“The one idea I really liked was to dress up like a runaway locomotive with the wife in the passenger car, screaming about things being out of control and nobody being in charge.”

“To reflect a runaway federal government in which nobody appears to be in control? Not bad. Look, I don’t mean to tell you how to express yourself on Halloween, but maybe you might want to consider skipping politics. In these divided times, you’re likely to offend someone. Why not focus on popular culture and have some fun?”

“I’m all ears for any suggestions.”

“Well, imitating characters from ‘Breaking Bad’ is a popular choice. ‘Duck Dynasty’ beards are selling like hotcakes. ‘The Walking Dead’ is making zombie costumes very popular. ‘Game of Thrones’ is also very popular.”

“Dressing up like ‘Game of Thrones’ characters would be the ultimate way to satirize American civilization.”

“How so?”

“The show’s fictional setting is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, which resulted from the fall of the once-great Western Roman Empire, which collapsed because it couldn’t control its spending.”

“You really are taking the fun out of Halloween this year.”

©2013 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!” is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact or call 800 696 7561. Send comments to Tom at


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