Thursday, October 30, 2008

Palin, economy can’t scare people from Halloween

If on Halloween night you should find yourself surrounded by Sarah Palins, don’t be alarmed. It’s not an attack of the clones.

The Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate may or may not be a maverick, but she definitely is one of the hottest Halloween costumes this year. And you can take “hottest” in any sense you like.

Ricky’s Halloween Costume Superstore in New York City has come up with a “Miss Alaska” costume that is little more than a sash that says “Miss Alaska” on one side and “Miss Vice President” on the other. It does, however, include a facsimile pair of Palin’s stylish Kazuo Kawasaki eyeglasses. It’s up to the wearer to supply a star-spangled bikini like the one the model wears on the Ricky’s Web site. But what do you expect for only $22.99? It’s a costume priced for a sagging economy.

Somehow, I suspect most Palin impersonators this Halloween will stick with the standard-issue latex mask. At least I hope so, unless they happen to have a Miss Alaska figure.

As if Halloween night weren’t scary enough, the streets are sure to be crawling with people dressed as — shudder — politicians. And because this is a presidential election year, there will be plenty of Barack Obamas and John McCains to go along with such evergreens as Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton.

The proprietors of online retailer Annie’s Costumes claim that since 1980, the presidential candidate to sell the most Halloween masks at Annie’s has gone on to win the election. So, in case you’re wondering, Obama has a slight lead.

That leaves Joe Biden. Is anyone dressing up as the Democratic VP nominee? Anyone? Hello?
Even with the economy slumping toward a seemingly inevitable recession, Americans seem eager to spend money on celebrating Halloween. Of course, maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. The Golden Age of horror movies — Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” and Boris Karloff’s “Frankenstein,” among many others —occurred during the Great Depression. Economic hardship and the macabre seem to go together.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation, which expects $5.8 billion in Halloween-related sales, up from $5.7 billion last year.

Popular non-political costumes include the Joker (as played by Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”) and Iron Man. But unfortunately the Iron Man costume you can buy off the rack isn’t as cool as the one in the movie.

And if you want something really scary, the most popular movie-related costumes for groups, according to, are the women of “Sex and the City.” Who hasn’t run in terror from Sarah Jessica Parker’s hats?

Everyone from Wal-Mart to Papa John’s is trying to cash in on Halloween, reported The New York Times.

“Halloween is a huge day for Papa John’s,” a spokesman for the pizza chain told The Times, “and having it fall on a Friday is a double benefit because we know there will be a lot of big parties.”
Of course, if your costume is a Sarah Palin bikini, you should probably steer clear of pizza until after Halloween.

Cable television always skews heavily toward horror programming during October, but this year offers more than usual. The Sci-Fi Channel, for example, has replaced its traditional “13 Days of Halloween” with “31 Days of Halloween” and has seen its year-on-year ratings rise as a result, The Times reported.

“With the financial turmoil, people want to escape and think about something else,” said Sci-Fi President Dave Howe.

“Something else” apparently means pleasant things like zombies, ghosts and masked serial killers. Just keep the slashers away from my 401(k).

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