8 Halloween Costumes Inspired by Benjamin Harrison

8 Halloween Costumes Inspired by Benjamin Harrison

by Alexis Price

October 11, 2019

Whether you’re an adult looking for a costume with a historical edge, or stumped about an idea for your kiddo, we have you covered this Halloween. Here is our comprehensive list of Harrison-inspired Halloween costumes. Have ideas that aren’t on this list? Share them with us!  

1. Union Soldier

Did you know Benjamin Harrison was the last Civil War general to serve as president? Honor his legacy by taking on the role of a Union soldier this Hallowen. Want to add a spooky twist? Channel our current Candlelight Theatre show, Ghost Tales of the Civil War, and go for a ghoulish interpretation of this costume idea by applying a grave makeup look. Painting of Benjamin Harrison during his service in the civil war, adorned with union colors and his signature beard. He is gripping a sword and on horseback. Pictured in front of a beige background.

What you’ll need:

A blue military jacket Blue pants (Blue jeans will work, too.) Stick horse Plastic cavalry sword  

2. Caroline Scott Harrison

This one is for all of the trick-or-treaters or party goers who want to channel a fierce female. Caroline was the first First Lady to manage her own White House project, hold a press brief, and give a speech. Her speech was given before the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), of which she was nominated their first president general, at an event reception. She was a talented artist who designed the Harrison administration’s White House china. Talk about #GirlPower. Sepia-toned photographic image of Caroline Harrison in her inaugural dress which has a large bustle and beading on the bodice and around the neck. Caroline is wearing gloves and holding a fan; her hair is pulled back from her face. She is standing in front of a large bookcase and is resting her hands in the back of a chair, while holding a fan and kerchief.

What you’ll need:

Victorian dress DAR pin Paint brush and/or palette  

3. Old Whiskers the Goat

The Harrisons were known for their unusual and large number of animals. So, we would be remiss if we didn’t dedicate the next three costumes on this list to the presidential pets. First up: Old Whiskers. The goat lived on the White House grounds and is most known for his ornery nature. The most recognizable story of Old Whiskers—the time he escaped the White House grounds with a cart seating Harrison’s grandchildren—is commemorated in newspapers. Photograph from 1888 of Old Whiskers, Benjamin Harrison's family goat, pulling Baby McKee in a wagon across the presidential lawn. Also featured are Benjamin Harrison's other children and his pet dog.

What you’ll need:

All gray outfit White goatee White horns

Bonus: For siblings, you can make this idea a twofer. One can dress up as Baby McKee, the other as Old Whiskers pulling the wagon.


4. Dash the Dog

The Harrisons had many dogs at the White House, one of the most memorable being Dash, a mixed-breed collie. This presidential good boy joined the Harrison family in Indianapolis and traveled with them to the White House. Dash was known for following the family carriages on outings and keeping guard under them wherever they stopped.

What you’ll need:

Floppy, pointed ears Brown ensemble Furry tail A Harrison to follow around  

5. Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection

The last pets idea on this list is perfect for roommates or best friends. The platform of the Republican party during Harrison’s time in office was, “Protection and reciprocity are twin measures of Republican policy and go hand-in-hand.” This is likely where he got the names for these mischievous critters.

What you’ll need:

All gray outfit Long, stiff tail Claws Pink nose Upturned, round ear  

6. Sherman Antitrust Act

Attention law nerd and play-on-words aficionados: Yes, there’s even a costume for you. The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in July 1890 under then-President Benjamin Harrison. This was the first federal act to outlaw monopolistic business practices. So, this Halloween, dress up as the destroyer of monopolies—the Sherman Antitrust Act.

What you’ll need:

Black or neutral outfit Monopoly game board Fake knife  

7. The Statue of Benjamin Harrison

OK, this one is really a fun excuse to use body paint. The statue was constructed by Charles Niehaus and Henry Bacon, and revealed in 1908 at University Park in Downtown Indianapolis. Photograph of Benjamin Harrison's statue, forged from copper and turned green over time. The sky is a pale blue and leafy green trees cascade against the background. The engraving at the base of the statue reads, "Great lives do not go out, they go on". A quote famously said by President Harrison.

What you’ll need:

Gray body paint Long, gray coat Beard—you guessed it—also gray  

8. Benjamin Harrison

Did you think we were going to leave out the 23rd president himself? This one is for those with great beards… or those who know how to rock a fake one. Some facts about yourself you can tell others? You’re a lawyer and a Civil War veteran. You were inaugurated 100 years after George Washington. In all of your conservation efforts, you preserved more than 13 million acres of land. Oh, and you’re the last president to have a full beard. Photographic image of Benjamin Harrison sitting in a chair. He leans one arm against a side table next to him with four books haphazardly stacked on top of some loose paper. He is brightly lit in front of a dark background.

What you’ll need:

Beard Top hat Long, black coat

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