EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 14, 2012

Zombies and politicians are Halloween's hottest trends

ST. LOUIS — Zombies are everywhere. And they are protesting.

In one St. Louis County, Mo., yard an undead creature in long floral dress holds a sign: “Zombies are the 99 percent.” Another waves an American flag in one hand while displaying a sign stating the zombie platform: pro-bigger brains.

The walking dead mannequins are part of Tim Mulhall’s elaborate Halloween decor. He spent eight hours setting up a graveyard with nearly 50 fake tombstones in front of his house. He and his wife, Katie, found the mannequins through boutiques and department stores unloading them on Craigslist.

“I wanted to do something political, but not on either side,” Tim Mulhall, 30, explained. “So, I decided to vote for zombies.”

Talk about scary politics.

The Mulhalls are part of a record 170 million people planning to celebrate Halloween this month. Spending on holiday-related items is expected to rise to $8 billion, up 17.5 percent from last year, according to a survey by BIGinsight on behalf of the National Retail Federation. The average person will spend nearly $80 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year. Retailers say customers are also buying more accessories with their costumes.

The Mulhalls’ decorations combine two of the season’s hottest trends: zombies and politics.

Pop culture heavily influences top-selling costume choices. According to retailer Spirit Halloween, there are likely to be plenty of characters from the season’s popular shows, games and movies: Batman, Power Rangers, “Monster High,” The Avengers, Angry Birds, “Ted” and “The Hunger Games” top their list of expected best-sellers.

And the election season always prompts plenty of political candidate look-alikes, critics and supporters. Spirit tracks the sale of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney masks in a Presidential Index.

Late last month, Obama masks were outselling Romney masks by more than 30 percent, according to reports of sales records at BuyCostumes.com and Spirit Halloween Stores.

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