News Briefs

Masks trump Halloween sales

What’s scarier than vampires, witches and ghosts appearing at your door on Oct. 31? Thou­sands of Donald Trumps flooding the streets throughout the country, complete with exag­geratedly ghoulish grins and neon yellow hair.

Spirit Halloween, in a poll administered in conjunction with Harris Poll, found that the primary reason customers chose to dress up as Trump is to be funny, while the top reason people chose to be Clinton is because they like her as a candidate (The Washington Post, “Peo­ple are hate-buying Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton masks for Halloween. Scary, Right?” 10.25.2016). In fact, twice as many people are go­ing as Trump to mock him than those who are dressing as Hillary to ridicule her (The Wash­ington Post). Trump masks sold in costume stores such as Spirit Halloween lend them­selves easily to satirizing the GOP nominee. Spirit Halloween alone offers three options: “Loud Mouth Donald Trump Mask,” “Cry Baby Trump Mask” and “Tax Evasion Trump Mask.”

Retailers are expecting record sales of candi­date costumes and masks. The general manager of Halloween Superstore in Tampa, FL, reports that sales of candidate masks have “tripled or quadrupled” (The Boston Globe, “Demand for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump costumes are keeping Halloween shops busy,” 10.16.16). She adds that the store stocked twice as many Trump masks as Hillary masks this fall.

Area manager for Spirit Halloween Mike Windsor comments, “‘The ongoing joke is that we predict the election by whatever mask sells more’” (The Boston Globe). In the past, howev­er, this so-called joke has held a certain amount of truth: in 2008, buycostumes.com reported that 55 percent of candidate masks sold were Obama masks, while only 45 percent of those polled dressed as McCain; in 1988, “Ronald Rea­gan’s rubber likeness outsold Jimmy Carter’s” (Time, “Halloween Prognosticators,” 2008).

While “The candidate whose Halloween mask sells the most is far more likely to win the election…there are of course many factors that set this year’s contest apart from previous elections” (AOL News, “Sales of Halloween masks point to ominous prediction for Hillary Clinton,” 10.24.2016). One can only hope that the current election is an exception to the rule.

-Emma Jones, Senior Editor

 

Halloween display confronts real life terrors

Detroit resident Larethia Haddon’s Hallow­een display takes horror to a new level, rep­resenting not monsters on her front lawn, but real-world frights like acts of police brutality, terrorism and murder. Haddon’s grandchildren proposed that she use the quirky platform to send a message. “[They said] ‘Well Grandma, if you’re going to get that much attention, we need to do things that’s gonna bring attention to the things going on in America right now.’ We already know about witches and this and that, but they’re not real. This is what kids are afraid of.” Effigies like a bloodstained stuffed dummy holding a sign reading “My hands were up!” and a knife-wielding likeness of a child predator force passersby to confront the reality that for many, fear strikes not only on All Hallow’s Eve (Washington Post, “Why a Detroit grandma’s Halloween display depicts police shootings and terrorist attacks,” 10.25.2016).

The community has overwhelmed her with support. She explained, “One lady…said, ‘Thank you so much for doing this. I see it on the news all the time, but not like this.’ This is in your face. It really makes you think about what we need to be doing to try to stop these things.” The local police department also stated that they respect her exercise of free speech. (CBS News, “This Detroit grandma’s Halloween dis­play takes on real-life horrors,” 10.25.2016).

The scenes that the yard depicts are partic­ularly salient for Detroit citizens. 40 percent of the city’s population is in poverty, and within the last year alone, there were nearly 300 re­ported murders. Nearby in Flint, Michigan, citi­zens fight for clean drinking water after a 2-year long issue with lead contamination. Haddon ap­propriately created a dummy begging for clean water (Al Jazeera, “Grisly Halloween display in Detroit decries US violence,” 10.20.2016).

-Emily Sayer, Features Editor

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