Goulish politics: Company says mask sales can predict presidential winner

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

Halloween is usually a time for ghosts, ghouls, and other disturbing, gooey things. But this year it’s not just Democrats who think President Bush is scary.

According to www.anniescostumes.com, which claims to be the “web’s most complete source for costumes for all holidays and occasions,” Bush masks have outsold Kerry masks 55 percent to 45 percent through the first of the month. It goes on to say their mask sales have predicted the winner of the past three elections.

Local costume purveyors don’t have the numbers to back up this election prediction, but they have been selling a lot of other fearsome creatures for parties and events scheduled for Saturday, the day the city recommends residents celebrate Halloween.

“A lot of the hooded masks are great sellers,” said Anthony Ulibarri, general manager of Family Dollar Store. “A lot of kiddy costumes are (also) big sellers.”

He said witch hats, vampire blood, pumpkin costumes and Spiderman suits are all quick movers this year.

“It’s been a lot of children coming in,” he said. “I see a lot of the adults playing with the masks.”

Oneda Dotson, owner and manager of Joy’s Costumes, says her inventory of Halloween staples are serving her well this year.

“We have rock singers that are pretty popular,” she said. “Usually Snowhite will go out with one dwarf.”

Her store opened in 1982, and she still has some costumes from that era, she said. She personally made many of her costumes over the years, which she rents out from $10 to $65 per use.

“We used to make a lot of children’s costumes and we quit, because there weren’t a lot of people renting them,” the business owner said. “A lot of people just want to buy their childrens’ costumes.”

She has a variety of political masks at her store, everything from George Washington to Hillary Clinton. She ordered the Sen. John Kerry mask but was disappointed when it never arrived. She expects an influx of customers starting Thursday and running through Saturday.

Adela E. Tijerina was at Joy’s Costume Monday afternoon trying on a baby costume, complete with bib and bonnet, for an upcoming party.

“I am actually the baby of the family,” said Tijerina, who in previous years took on the persona of Smurfette, an M&M and a genie. “You have to go (to the party) in full costume or you get kicked out.”