Costumes take on patriotic appearance

Expect more firefighters and police officers than ghosts and goblins this Halloween, experts say.

"Things aren't going to be as festive, but people still want to have fun and enjoy themselves," said James Lowry, a retail industry analyst. "People will still dress up in costumes, but you won't see as many ghoulish ones. We'll have more heroes, including firefighters and policemen.

"The addition of firefighters, police officers, and emergency personnel may add a new twist to a popular holiday."

Many costume store owners and managers said they noticed a difference in people's attitudes this Halloween. They said sales have been much higher for positive costumes.

"Types of costumes like superheroes, story book characters and fun things, as opposed to the more traditional gory and violent costumes, have sold more than in the past years," said Tricia Coppock, owner of Anderson Costumes.

Coppock said some traditional costumes such as hippies, flappers, witches and devils have remained popular. She said she thinks many customers are looking to avoid gruesome costumes and "put reality on the backburner" this Halloween.

According to Barb Baker, the manager of B&B's Celebrations in Muncie, patriotism has made people divert their funds to causes from candy.

"People have bought less than usual in my store," Baker said. "I think they are being more conscientious about how they spend their money in light of everything."

Baker said many customers are renting cowboy and cowgirl costumes.

Though spending might have dropped, parents are being urged to not completely abandon the holiday.

"The Sept. 11 attacks make the holiday much more difficult for parents than children," said Theresa Kruczek, a Ball State counseling psychologist. "Parents have a greater sense of the ramifications of the terrorism attacks and the war we are involved in.

"Youngsters need parents to maintain as much of a regular routine as possible. That's what security means to them."

Others say Halloween can be a good way to escape the world for one night.

"We all need to have fun right now and enjoy the day," Coppock said. "People are ready to party."

"Halloween will bounce back fairly quickly because we are ready to have fun," Lowry said. "Adults want to dress up and forget about things. Kids are looking forward to it like they do every year. Halloween is here to stay."


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