Politicians, Joker are top picks for masks, costumes

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Two weeks before Halloween, Party City had already sold out of Barack Obama masks.

"They're hot this year," general manager Amy Roberson said.

It's no surprise that they would be in an election year, she said, but it's likely, too, that the downer of an economy has played its part in the costume's seasonal success.

The entire costume costs only $14.99 for the latex mask when it tops a suit pulled from the wearer's closet.

John McCain masks also are $14.99, and were in stock.

Party City still had Bill and Hillary Clinton masks, in addition to a few Dick Cheneys, complete with glasses. Each costs $14.99.

A President Bush mask, however, costs $19.99.

The less politically inclined are drawn to stars from the summer blockbuster Batman: The Dark Knight and Star Wars: The Clone Wars , Ms. Roberson said.

"The movies were huge, with both children and adults," she said. "They come in knowing exactly who they want to be, if they're the good guy or the bad guy."

A Batman costume for boys costs $19.99; add muscles for $10.

With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, Michele Hattman says more adults are shopping for costumes than in years past.

She's the owner of Costumes by Michele. Although the shop is new, the costumer spent 23 Halloweens at Fat Man's Forest before opening her shop on Broad Street.

"This year the adults are really getting into it," she said. "People are waiting until the last minute to really get into the spirit, maybe because of the economy.

"They're not shopping as early, but they're starting to really come in."

Harry Potter reigned at the top of kid's costumes list for the past few years, but Ms. Hattman said Batman and Joker seem to have stolen the spotlight this year.

"If there was ever a movie that affected Halloween, it was Batman," she said. "The Joker is in."

Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com.

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