A Patriotic Halloween

Ghosts Are Out, Firefighters Are In, And Some Will Trick Or Treat as the Mayor of New York

By Buck Wolf

Oct. 4, 2001 — How's this for scary: Thousands of Rudolph Giuliani clones will be running loose on the streets of America this Halloween.

Ghosts, skeletons and witches are taking a back seat on fright night. Costume sellers say folks are dressing up as Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, firefighters and rescue workers, riding a wave of patriotism following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Rubber masks of Gary Condit had expected to be a big seller among adults with a wry sense of humor.

These are the same sort of Halloween revelers, who, in recent years might have gone to costume parties as Monica Lewinsky or Bill Clinton. (Remember, the rubber mask of Richard Nixon ranks up there with Frankenstein among all-time, best-selling Halloween attire).

But this year folks want to be Rudy, the feisty New York mayor who's earned international acclaim in the last few weeks for his leadership.

"The 'Mayor' mask had been retired. We weren't going to make anymore. It sold in New York, but not that much elsewhere," said Brenda Sullivan of Disguise Inc., a wholesaler and Internet retailer of costumes, serving stores such stores as Target and K-Mart.

Predictive Power of Rubber Masks

"Now, it's a surprise hit. And we're getting orders from all over the country. Kids and adults want to be the mayor."

Even to a hardcore liberal, that's no surprise. "Rudy has always been a scary character, so there's a place for him on Halloween," said civil rights lawyer and talk-show host Ron Kuby.

As host of a morning radio show on WABC in New York, Kuby is renowned as one of the city's foremost Rudy-haters. But even he has congratulated the mayor on his performance in the crisis.

Of course, there are other ways to honor America than donning the thin-lipped rubber Rudy mask, which comes complete with a Giuliani comb-over. Another costume flying off the shelves is the "Red Hot" sexy firefighter at Halloween Express, a national chain of more than 80 retail stores.

"This mixes patriotism, heroism and sex appeal. That covers a lot of bases," says John Majdoch, company founder. "Of course some ladies would rather be a sexy Statue of Liberty."