Halloween in Washington: A sampling of costumes and parties in the area

Check out how some Washingtonians dressed for the holiday festivities.
By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 2, 2009

This must be Halloween in Washington, because the adults are dressed like editorial cartoons.

Everybody has a message, a cause, an ax dripping fake blood to grind.

To dress as a generic mummy or the figure of Death would be a waste of time and talent. No, the mummy must be wrapped in hospital bandages and must symbolize the unreformed health-care system.

Death must be clad in red, white and blue like Uncle Sam, with a whitened face and a black slash of a mouth as if sewn by sutures, and Death must stand for -- ?

Over to you, Mr. Death.

"The current health-care system," explains Scott Garrison of Silver Spring. "It's not survivable. . . . I don't know whether to smile or frown."

Oh, right. Health care is big at this particular Halloween party at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring. More than one Public Option staggers around.

A lot of the conversations take the form of captions.

"I'm a French painting that's been overtaken by sea-level rise," says Sat Jiwan Iklé-Khalsa, a green-building consultant from Takoma Park.

He's a painting by René Magritte, technically a Belgian. He's got the bowler hat, and the cloudy-sky backdrop frames his head and shoulders. But he has painted a wavy waterline across the scenery and across his face. Fish and sea are engulfing his mouth.

Now in its 21st year, this party, actually a pre-Halloween party, is a major gathering of about 250 artists and hipsters. Giant puppets that once enlivened protest marches against war and corporate globalization are repurposed as staring, accusatory creatures in the extravagantly decorated rooms. The party doubles as a fundraiser for the arts and climate action and this year raised $2,400.

"I'm three degrees hotter," says activist Nadine Bloch, one of the hostesses, slinking through the crowd in a red dress.

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