Halloween 2010 here we come. It is no wonder it is without a doubt my favorite holiday. There is no other time when adults are allowed to dress up and act out their favorite characters. Even the politics of Halloween have become interesting. Even though it is not a major election year, there will no doubt be some politically motivated costumes going around this Halloween.
"Barakula" -- a mask depicting President Barack Obama as a vampire -- is among the politically haunting headgear on sale for Halloween, a holiday that seems these days to be just as much for adults as it is for kids.
"You can tell a lot about what's going on in Washington by what costumes people are wearing," says Jon Majdoch of BuyCostumes.com, a major online costumer.
"We've accurately predicted the last six presidential elections based solely on mask sales," Majdoch says. "...., people were buying Barack Obama masks . And they were clearly outselling the McCain masks."
Even so, it's hard to see how Obama supporters can interpret the sale of a pointy-eared, fang-toothed latex rendering of the president as a good thing. This might just be the best example yet of that old adage, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."
"I've seen some pretty wild costumes," Majdoch says. "But this is the first vampire politician that I can recall."
The staying power of Palin's costume -- popular last year, and still popular this year -- might say something about the future of the former Alaska governor.
Halloween is now a $4.75 billion business. Spending is down, with the average consumer expected to lay out $56.31 this year, off nearly $10 from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. But that's only heightened the competition among costumers.
The Bernie Madoff "Mr. Ponzi" mask is one way to exorcise those recession demons.
"We're seeing a lot of people combining 'Mr. Ponzi' masks with a prison outfit as a way to celebrate his 150-year sentence," says Meredith Abraham, vice president of AnyTimeCostumes.com.
The Madoff mask didn't hit the market until this year. Costumers need several months to put a costume into production, and that scandal broke too late to figure into last year's Halloween sales.
That would explain why you won't see people running around in Mark Sanford masks and hiking boots. But other media maelstroms are well represented.
The "Eight Is Too Much" Kate Gosselin wig is one of BuyCostume.com's most popular items. That blond crop just screams haggard homemaker.
The "OctoBabies" costume offers an even more aggressive take on motherhood. For $36.99, you get a khaki sling crammed with eight 5-inch dolls, ultra-short shorts and knee-high boots.
With all the little tykes strapped to your side, you may even get more candy.
Of course, Halloween offers us all a chance to reinterpret current events. Illegal aliens can be depicted as space creatures with fake green cards. And a tea bagger can be a guy in a giant teabag, with sex jokes and political commentary all left to the wearer's discretion.
"I think this Halloween belongs to Michael Jackson. 'Thriller' zombie mask was always big. But with his passing they're even bigger," says Ben Armstrong of the Haunted House Association.
Indeed, several Halloween sites offer Jackson-inspired paraphernalia, including "Beat It" jackets.
Jackson is just one of many celebrities to pass away of recent, and he's not the only one who will return from the great beyond this Halloween. Costumzee offers directions for a do-it-yourself Billy Mays outfit.
And if you make a giant mess constructing your costume, there's probably some Billy Mays product still being sold on TV to help you clean up. I wonder if costumers got Rod Blagojevich in prison stripes done in time for this years festivities.