Ghosts, Goblins and Scary Politicians : Halloween: This is a holiday made for pretenders, but haven't voters already figured out what's behind the Washington masks?

Robert S. McElvaine is a history professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. He is working on a book about the future of progressive politics

Through painstaking investigative work, I have been able to find out in advance the costumes that a wide variety of prominent people will be wearing when they go out trick-or-treating Tuesday.

President Bill Clinton plans to go out disguised as a man with convictions for which he is willing to stand up.

Speaker Newt Gingrich will hit the streets to ring doorbells dressed as a believer in marriage, family values and democratic procedures in the House of Representatives.

Colin Powell will pretend to be a Republican. He is reported to be considering wearing an Eisenhower mask.

Ross Perot is planning to go out as a nonparanoid.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole can't decide whether he wants to go as a gay-basher or as himself or whether he'll just let his staff go out in his place.

Elusive political consultant Dick Morris has concluded that the chameleon costume he had first chosen is insufficient as a disguise, so he will go back to his favorite get-up: the Invisible Man.

Sen. Phil Gramm has decided to celebrate the holiday disguised as an English-speaker. He will attempt to say "trick or treat" in this language that is so new and difficult for him.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton very much wanted to wear an Eleanor Roosevelt costume. She rejected the suggestion that she go as a commodities futures trader and has been persuaded (probably by Dick Morris) to opt instead to present herself as a cookie-baker.

British Prime Minister John Major has chosen a drag costume and will try to get people to think that he is Margaret Thatcher.

Yasser Arafat will go as a statesman.

Louis Farrakhan will go as David Duke. David Duke will go as Louis Farrakhan. But neither disguise will keep them from being recognized as themselves.

The Republican budget will go dressed as a creature that will not hurt the poor or help the rich--perhaps the best disguise of the night.

The Republican Party will disguise itself as the savior of Medicare.

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani will put on a Miss America swimsuit and go as "Miss Congeniality."

The flat tax will go out dressed up as a fair tax.

Sen. Strom Thurmond will disguise himself as a champion of term limits. He won't stand out, though. This disguise is expected to top "Pocahontas" as the year's most popular costume, as least among politicians. Republican presidential hopeful--or, rather, hopeless--Bob Dornan is one of the many who will be using this disguise, as he indicated when he proudly proclaimed recently that he has been in Congress for 19 years fighting for term limits.

Former President Jimmy Carter will go as someone uninterested in the Nobel Peace Prize.

Steve Forbes will disguise himself as a self-made man who got his money through his own merits and believes that his tax proposals would be beneficial to ordinary folks like himself.

Pat Buchanan has borrowed a Statue of Liberty costume from former rival Pete Wilson and will pretend to believe in the principles it symbolizes.

Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition will dress himself up as a reasonable, moderate man. Indeed, he won't need to change for the evening festivities, since he wears this disguise most of the time.

Sen. Arlen Specter will go as someone with a chance to win the Republican presidential nomination.

At some point during the evening, each of the Republican presidential hopefuls will shed his costume and don a Ronald Reagan mask.

But the prize for the scariest look of this Halloween will go to the Republican majority in Congress, whose members plan to go dressed as themselves.

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