NEW YORK — Dressed as protesters, complete with toy megaphone, Mitch Robinson and his wife unrolled a sleeping bag and “occupied” their friends’ Halloween party. Unlike the real-life Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, they had a detailed, numbered list of demands for their hosts.
So went the party in Tacoma, Wash., last Saturday night — Robinson in jeans, flannel shirt and a “Live Free or Die” cap and wife Mary Boone in beret, baggy sweater and a “Peace, Love Bieber” button.
“We were a big hit,” said Robinson, 48, a marketing executive. “We tried to incite the other partygoers. Plus I loved that basically what I wore was perfect for raking leaves the next day.”
Among the self-proclaimed 99 percent, the anti-Wall Street protests that began in New York and spread across the country are inspiring lots of costume ideas this Halloween.
“We’re ready to go,” said Kris Ruby in Greenwich, Conn. She is dressing her 7-year-old golden retriever, Morgan Stanley, as a 1 percenter in business suit, red tie and tweed hat. “My dad works for Morgan Stanley.”
Ricky’s NYC, with an online shop and 56 stores throughout the city, stocked up on extra “V for Vendetta” masks, those plastic faces popping up on protesters around the world. The company iParty reports an uptick in requests for dollar-sign jewelry, play money, suspenders and glasses among young people looking to go as bankers and CEOs.
Actual protesters have been invited to take part in the huge Greenwich Village Halloween parade, not far from their home base in Zuccotti Park. Occupy Wall Streeters have set up a website with some costume ideas for the parade, calling on supporters to dress as Wall Street zombies, corporate vampires, “laissez fairies,” unemployed superheroes, or the top-hatted plutocrat from Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags.
“Occupy Halloween,” the site urges. “Because the top 1 percent shouldn’t get all the candy.”
Ellen Freudenheim, a blogger and About.com specialist on Brooklyn, suggests cheap and easy costumes ripped from the headlines. Times are tough — duh — so tape a dollar bill to your mouth as actual protesters have done, paired with a hand-scrawled “End Corporate Greed” cardboard sign, she said.
Or, she added, don a dark sweatsuit and plaster yourself with slogans, such as “Do You Feel It Trickle Down?”
Will the revelers be mocking the protesters? Or expressing their sympathy for the movement?
“I think it could be all of the above,” Freudenheim said. “I think people who would never, ever in their wildest dreams be caught in Zuccotti Park will dress up.”
Jen Doll, a blogger at the Village Voice, suggests dressing up as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, the white-shirt New York cop disciplined for allegedly pepper-spraying some penned-in protesters.
“Alternatively, you could be a slightly less demonized member of the force, put on a blue shirt and go around saying, ‘My little nightstick’s gonna get a workout tonight,'” she wrote. “Add a gleeful laugh and you’re in.” The remark, by a real NYPD officer as he put up barricades, is making the rounds in a YouTube video.
If all of that sounds too in-the-box for Halloween, Doll suggested, dress up as pepper spray.
With Halloween less than a week away, the V masks ranked No. 2 on Amazon’s list of best-selling novelty clothing, behind a “Where’s Waldo” outfit for adults. The mask was used by the shadowy revolutionary V of comic book and movie fame, and is based on Guy Fawkes, the 17th-century Englishman who tried to blow up Parliament.
Josh Paz, a sophomore and economics major at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., thinks he might “zombie-fy” his look when he pairs a Fawkes mask with a business suit on Halloween.
“I was planning on purchasing a few stacks of fake hundred-dollar bills and proceed to bribe people for candy and drinks,” he said.
Freudenheim thinks Occupy Wall Street will be a big Halloween theme in Park Slope, her liberal, socially conscious neighborhood in Brooklyn.
But “I don’t know what people will do in Greenwich, or wherever,” she said, referring to the rich Connecticut town that is home to investment bankers and hedge fund managers. “I guess they’ll just ignore it, I suppose. Or be a clown or a witch or something.”
Of course, the real 1 percenters could put on a business suit, carry a briefcase and “shout things about smelly hippies,” Doll said.