- The Washington Times - Monday, October 31, 2011

The Occupy movement that has filled city parks with camping gear and streets with marching “corporate zombies” has had no shortage of theatrics in the six weeks since protesters first sat down in Wall Street. But on Halloween, a day when the outrageous is ordinary and disguises are encouraged, Washington’s local occupiers were strictly business.

In late September, the brazen protesters in New York donned costumes and held up hand-written signs to protest corporate greed and wasteful government spending. At times, members of the Occupy D.C. and “October 2011/Stop the Machine” movements have adopted similar tactics, but on Monday there was little more than white face paint to show local support for the national trend.

“This morning both [groups] marched as zombies to the Chamber of Commerce wanting corporate brains,” said Al Leger, a 37-year-old District resident sporting a homemade Occupy Halloween T-shirt. “Maybe there will be something later as well. I think it’ll be coming.”

From his seat in MacPherson Square, Mr. Leger could read and keep watch on the afternoon activities of the protester camp, just blocks from the White House. Around lunchtime, occupiers were busy with such daily chores as collecting water from public drinking fountains or grabbing a bite to eat, a far cry from an impromptu march a few weeks ago through downtown led by the sound of noisemakers and a banjo.

“We brought carved Occupy D.C. pumpkins to the White House to try to leave them,” said a 24-year-old Virginia resident who went by “Rusty,” but he said the stunt did not impress the Secret Service.

An Occupy DC protester, who did not want to be identified, paints a sign Monday among the tents in McPherson Square. Signs of Halloween, too, were evident at the encampment, but theatrics were kept low key. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)
An Occupy DC protester, who did not want to be identified, paints ... more >

Around the park, glimpses of the autumn holiday could be seen, such as a notice for Halloween Arts for Kids at 2 p.m. and a friendly black cat that perched on shoulders.

As Christina McKenna, 26, settled her daughter, Viola, in a chair at the camp’s new book swap, she said her plan was to take the 4-year-old and twin brother Sebastian trick-or-treating later in the day.

“We’ll make costumes out of some boxes,” said Ms. McKenna, who has been living in the park for about a month. “I’m not sure where we’re going to go; whether it will be a more impoverished neighborhood or one that’s more wealthy.”

Several blocks south, at Freedom Plaza, a similar stillness hung in the cool October air.

An orange-and-black flag hung along a wall that read “Happy Halloween — Love, the Occupation.” But as a result of Saturday’s storm, campers were focused on “winterizing the camp” more than a Halloween party, said organizer and Baltimore resident Kevin Zeese.

Though both groups chose to downplay the holiday of tricks and treats, sources from the two camps said they were focusing efforts on a nationwide movement to “Move Your Money,” on Nov. 5, which corresponds to Guy Fawkes Day, a day remembered for the attempted conspiracy to blow up the 17th-century British Houses of Parliament.