Plenty of police and firefighter costumes expected this year

By Melis Senerdem, Special to the Daily Planet
Friday October 26, 2001

Pumpkins are carved, candies in the bowls and costume shops are open. Halloween’s a week away, and the trendiest of all holidays is catching up with world affairs, with firemen uniforms and patriotic figures apparently this year’s favorite costumes.  

Paper Heaven staff on Shattuck Avenue were surprised at the number of people asking for firemen costumes. 

Compared to previous years, however, there’s a smaller crowd. Shop owner Jules Weiss said this year sales are 30 to 40 percent down.  

“Halloween spirit is not as pronounced as it was before. But I am sure if we had a bin Laden mask, that would sell best,” she said. 

Some customers complain about the prices.  

Deborah, 30, is looking for a gray wig for her 8 and a half year old son. He wants to be dressed like a sage but she is reluctant to buy one. 

“It is 20 bucks,” she said. “Twenty bucks for one night is too much. I think I will just spray his hair gray.”  

Deborah, who declined to give her last name, lives on Russell Street, where crowds typically gather on Halloween. 

“I don’t think world events will affect Halloween. People want to go out,” she said while trying on a mask with spider nets. 

George Torre, 18, manager of the Spirit Store in San Francisco said he thinks that firemen costumes are the new trend. 

“People come really for firemen uniforms. We didn’t have any because we didn’t think that it would be so popular,” he said. “We only had hats but they are all gone now. Our Uncle Sam costumes and patriotic hats are also all sold out.” 

Lauren Greenberg, 22, the shop manager of Halloween Headquarters on University Avenue said they have had a couple of slow days, but she is optimistic. 

“The day before (Halloween) gets completely insane, we do a lot of hiring for that day. The lines become too long.” 

Greenberg also confirmed the popularity of patriotic costumes.  

“We sold a lot of W. Bush masks. The statue of liberty has just come in so I don’t know about it yet but people have bought lots of flags.” 

Classics like vampires, cheerleaders and clowns are still popular. And Hollywood makes its way. 

“Batman masks are selling a lot. I have also sold a couple of Darth Mauls and X-Men.”  

Greenberg said she is thinking of dressing up like Alex from the Clockwork Orange, the Stanley Kubrick movie. 

Harry Potter seems to be the children’s number one…  

“We sold out whatever we had about Potter,” Sirit Store manager Torre says, “even girls come and ask for it.”