Halloween 2012: Election-Style Costumes

PHOTO: Paul Ryan, photographed for TIME, demonstrates his workout technique at a gym in Janesville, Wis. in December of 2011.
Gregg Segal/TIME

Halloween is some children's favorite holiday, but let's face it, it can be stressful for adults. Coming up with a clever costume can be a challenge at times: You don't want to be that person who phones it in and dresses like a vampire or a zombie, and you don't want to repeat what you did last year. Luckily, a presidential election year offers lots of pop culture memes to adopt into a costume Oct. 31 (or, because Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, the Saturday night before).

Mitt Romney

Romneys Debate Quotes Gone Viral
Mitt Romney referenced "binders full of women" during the second presidential debate, Oct. 16, 2012.
Binder Woman (or, for a group of friends, binders full of women)

"Binders full of women" has become a favorite Internet discussion topic since the second presidential debate when Romney made an off-handed comment about his searching for female candidates for his gubernatorial cabinet in Massachusetts in response to a question about pay equity for women. For the politically savvy woman, a large cardboard box, some suspenders and some scissors and glue can be transformed to make you a woman in a binder. A couple of words like "women's resumes" written onto the costume will help to clarify your costume.

For a group of female friends, you can use the same tools and go as a binder full of women. Finding a box large enough to cover several women might be a challenge and, as the night wears on, the costume could become uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Paul Ryan

PHOTO: Paul Ryan, photographed for TIME, demonstrates his workout technique at a gym in Janesville, Wis. in December of 2011.
Gregg Segal/TIME
Rep. Paul Ryan, photographed for Time magazine, demonstrates his workout technique at a gym in Janesville, Wis., in December 2011.
Workout Paul Ryan

Break out your gym clothes, sneakers and free weights. This costume is inspired by Time magazine's photo shoot with GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan working out, and it's easy to replicate. The outfit? A T-shirt, a backward baseball cap, gym shorts, sneakers and the free-weight of your choice (you might not want to go too heavy if you'll be doing a lot of walking.)

Hillary Clinton

Texts From Hillary

It was the tumblr that took on a life of its own; an image of Hillary Clinton on a plane checking her BlackBerry while wearing sunglasses that just begged for people's guesses about who she might be emailing. Again, this costume is pretty easily done; wear large sunglasses and a black pants suit and make sure your BlackBerry is prominently displayed at all times. In the picture, Hillary is not smiling, so try to contain your smiles for the night as well.

Clint Eastwood


Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention is perhaps one of the most-remembered moments of the convention. Eastwood, 82, gave a rambling speech in which he talked to an empty chair that was supposed to represent President Obama. This practice -- talking to an empty chair -- became known on the Internet as "Eastwooding." For this costume, put on a suit and carry around a chair with you throughout the night. Folding or swivel, the chair choice is up to you, whatever is most comfortable to carry.

Mitt Romney

Unemployed Big Bird

Just like "binders full of women" took off after the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney's remarks in the first debate that he'd cut funding for PBS, which were followed by a quick remark "I like PBS, I love Big Bird," took off on the Internet within moments of his saying them. It seemed as though the comments triggered a response from everyone who grew up with the large yellow bird. Big Bird has, of course, been a possible Halloween costume for years now, so to specify that you're referring to the "fire Big Bird" social phenomenon, dress up as unemployed Big Bird. Throw on some sweatpants, ruffle the feathers on the costume and talk about how you're looking for a new line of work.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden and the Female Biker

This is an idea for a couple, or even for two friends who want an ensemble costume idea. The picture of Joe Biden's cozying up to a female biker in Seaman, Ohio, became an Internet sensation, and the costume is fun, recognizable and easy. For Biden, the costume is straightforward: Wear a blue button-down shirt and some slacks. For the female biker, break out the jeans, chaps, a leather vest and a bandana. Make sure to stay close to one another throughout the course of the evening.

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