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This Halloween, the Scariest Thing is Politics

Oct. 31, 2008 –

Story by Michael Pasternak

Batman. Sponge Bob. Obama.

With the presidential election just days away, some of Chicago’s most popular Halloween costumes are political figures.

At Chicago Costume Superstore in Lincoln Park, the usual superhero and monster outfits are available, but customers can also find costumes of those whose only superpower is running for office.

“A lot of people want to be Sarah Palin,” said employee Erica Hohn. “We don’t have a mask, but we have glasses and a wig.”

At Ragstock in Lakeview, the first thing customers see when they enter the costume store is a picture of Palin advertising her now famous glasses.

Lakeview resident Natalie Sullivan decided she would be going as Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee.

“I’m going to be Sarah Palin for Halloween because, like every other little girl in America, I want to be a hot Alaskan governor ,” said Sullivan, 27, who went as a lobster last Halloween. “It’s fun when politicians turn into pop culture icons and when I kind of look like them.”

Although the Palin costume is expected to be popular, it is just one of many different political options available.

Online, there are masks for presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain, Bill and Hillary Clinton, President George W. Bush, Al Gore and several former presidents.

The Chicago Tribune’s HeadCandy blog offers downloadable masks of all four presidential and vice presidential nominees that have received almost 100,000 hits.

Noelle Schmitt will host a Halloween party in Lincoln Square where she expects several of her guests to get in the political spirit.

“From what I’ve heard there will be quite a few political costumes,” said Schmitt, 29. “It’s on everybody’s mind, so I imagine it would be an obvious choice for most.”

While Schmitt says she has a friend going to her party as the late NBC Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert and another possibly going as conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, her own costume is also politically motivated.

“This Halloween season I have chosen to go as Zombie Ann Coulter, because I believe that nothing is more frightening than Ann Coulter, and the zombie aspect shows off my belief that she is dead inside,” said Schmitt, who went as a hippie vampire last Halloween. Coulter writes conservative books with titles such as, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans.

Even those whose political views won’t be worn on their sleeves Oct. 31 and expect to wear traditional costumes that night likely know someone dressing as a politician.

“My friend is going as Sarah Palin and I think her husband is going as Joe Six-Pack,” said Andersonville’s Jay Steigmann, 32. “I think I’m going to be Dolly Parton.”

Joe Six-Pack, along with Joe the Plumber and Hockey Mom, are just a few more topical political references expected to be out trick-or-treating this year.

Back at Chicago Costume Superstore, customers can transform into the “mavericks” McCain and Palin, or just rent a flight jumpsuit and become Maverick from the movie Top Gun.

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