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John Lamb, Published October 30 2012

Lamb: Politics scares up some costume ideas

Things are lining up for a frightfully fun Halloween.

Monday night brought a full moon and Bill Clinton stumping for Senate hopeful Heidi Heitkamp. I wonder if he stopped for a cold one at the HoDo afterward. There is no way the Bubba in Chief passes up a bar wrapped in bras.

There is no shortage of colorful costume ideas this year, and tomorrow we’ll likely be hearing about all the trashy Honey Boo Boo outfits (“Holla for the squalor!”), the bizarre “Gangnam Style” Psy costumes and the questionably appropriate Frankenstorm Sandy get-ups.

Current events and pop-culture characters come and go, but every four years a presidential election brings a decidedly political rash of costumes. Regional races offer up plenty colorful takes on those seeking public office.

Sure, there are easy targets, namely making political opponents into horror movie monsters. I’m sure someone will put an undead twist on President Barack Obama and his support of “Ozombiecare.” Similarly others will sharpen their knives to make Mitt Romney look like a chainsaw-wielding blood-and-yellow-feather-splattered PBS-slasher.

But don’t overlook the rich characters in regional races.

Perhaps no other candidate seems as tailor-made for a Halloween appearance as would-be North Dakota Gov. Ryan Taylor, known to some as “you know, the guy in the cowboy hat.” Sure, you could slap on a Stetson and say you’re the Democratic candidate, but add a little depth. Taylor has run a valiant campaign, but he’s a long shot to win, and with the exception of running mate Ellen Chaffee, often seems to be campaigning on his own. Add a black eye mask and a revolver and you’ve got the Lone Ranger. (WARNING: You’d be best to avoid travelling with a Tonto with this costume. If Johnny Depp can’t pull off being the masked man’s “faithful Indian companion,” neither can you.)

Of course, the Heitkamp/Rick Berg battle for North Dakota’s Senate seat is one of the most hotly contested races in the country. So have some fun as one or the other office-seekers.

Even those who won’t vote for Heitkamp can’t deny her likability – which seems to be why the Berg camp seems to be running against Obama. How do you portray that scrappy, red-headed moxie? Dress as Raggedy Ann, a plucky personality for sure. This costume is ideal for couples as he can go as Raggedy Andy/Heitkamp’s little brother, KFGO host, Joel.

They say three is a crowd, but you could add another element to this pairing as Heitkamp booster/hot dish connoisseur/face for radio, Garrison Keillor. The “Prairie Home Companion” host looked like a towering pumpkinhead Sunday while singing her praises, so just slam a jack-o-lantern on a suited body, wear red sneakers and sing and talk in a low and slow voice about life in a fictional town.

While pro-Berg ads link Heitkamp to the president, pro-Heitkamp ads link Berg to a certain real estate company. It’s an association he can’t seem to shake, so why not use it in a costume. Simply wear a suit and chain a real estate sign around your neck. For extra color, slap a sold sticker on the sign.

On the other side of the river things aren’t as lively. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is well on her way to a second term. In fact, many people may not even know who is running against her, which makes Kurt Bills the perfect candidate – to be the Invisible Man.

Have fun tonight, but don’t overdo it – you need to get out and vote next week.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533