Alternative Presidents’ Day costumes

David Katz/Obama for America/Creative Commons
Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator Barack Obama and his running mate, Senator Joe Biden campaign in Fredricksberg, VA on Saturday, September 27, 2008.

When you walk into a Presidents’ Day costume party, you’re sure to see plenty of one thing — top hats. Sure, Abe Lincoln was a good guy, but as far as presidential costumes are concerned, he’s overplayed. And if the only other obvious costume involves painting yourself orange, it’s clear that there need to be some alternatives. Even though there are 44 presidents to choose from, most of them are just old white guys. The modern party-goer’s presidential outfit goes beyond the old white guy and is more open to interpretation.

21st-century Abe

Just because you aren’t wearing a top hat doesn’t mean you can’t pay tribute to the The Great Emancipator. Today, when people think about Abe Lincoln, they’re actually thinking about Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe Lincoln. And what’s Daniel Day-Lewis’s most recognizable role outside of “Lincoln”? Bill the Butcher in “Gangs of New York.” If you dress yourself like a gangster from 1863 and bring a girl who looks like Cameron Diaz to be Jenny Everdeane, everyone will recognize you as the 21st-century Abe.

“The eagle is in the nest.”

That’s what secret servicemen probably say into their sleeves when they’ve formed a human shield around P.O.T.U.S. You, too, can be a nested eagle, and you won’t even have to wear a costume. All you need to do is get 5 or 6 friends to stand around you all night while wearing matching suits and earpieces. An added benefit of this costume is you won’t have to interact with anyone.

Warren G (Harding)

We had a president named Warren G. Harding. There’s a rapper from the 90s called Warren G. The dots here are easier to connect than in the Abe Lincoln one. Besides, Warren G might not have been a terrible head of state — being able to regulate is an important skill in the presidency.

LeBron James?

No, not that LBJ. We’re talking about Lyndon Baines Johnson. If there’s any president you want to be mistaken for at a party, it’s LBJ. He would reportedly hold an empty glass out the window of a moving car until a Secret Service agent ran up to the car and refilled it with scotch. So dress like your typical old white guy president, wear a Cavs jersey if you want and tell someone to fetch you a scotch and soda.

No one has ever needed to get creative with Presidents’ Day costumes before because there has never been an excess of Presidents’ Day costume parties. Perhaps we still haven’t reached that point, but when it does arrive, we’ll know exactly what to do.

Contact Ryan Melvin at [email protected].