Trick or treat -- it's election season

SANDUSKY Tina Fey is a dead ringer for Sarah Palin, helping explain why her impersonation of the Ala
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Tina Fey is a dead ringer for Sarah Palin, helping explain why her impersonation of the Alaskan governor on Saturday Night Live is so gut-splittingly funny.

But Fey is not the only person reproducing Palin's distinct look and mannerisms.

Tons of people -- mostly women, but not entirely -- plan to dress as Palin for Halloween.

A basic Internet search finds hundreds of photos of Palin impersonators, each with her own variation on the vice presidential hopeful.

Some hold toy shotguns. Others wear hockey jerseys. Still others sport a "Miss Alaska" sash.

It would be impossible to track the number of people intending to don a Palin costume this Halloween season. Achieving the desired effect requires only basic items: Horn-rimmed or rimless glasses, brown wig and a business suit.

"A lot of people are doing it on their own," said Gregg Kerns, president of Costume Holiday House in Fremont.

Inevitably, Palins will be spotted all across north-central Ohio later this month at Halloween parties and local bars.

Many Palins won't attend the parties alone.

Sen. John McCain masks are selling at a brisk pace. Only two remain on the racks at Party America, and none are left at Spirit Halloween.

Sen. Barack Obama masks, meanwhile, are sold out in town.

"He was the hardest to keep around," said Barb Erf, manager of Party America.

At Costume Holiday House, the McCain and Obama masks are flying off the shelves. The popularity of the masks remains fairly even, but Kerns said Obama has a slight edge.

This, however, is not necessarily a perfect representation of what's happening in the polls, Kerns said.

"It's hard to tell, because you just don't know what they're using them for. I think more people use (masks) because if you don't like a candidate, you're going to buy it so you can (parody them)," Kerns said.

Kerns -- a fan of Halloween parties, if only to see what the hot costumes are that year -- said more often that not, a person buys a political mask to spark a critical debate about that politician and their policies.

Costume-hunters also tend to gravitate toward politicians who are interesting characters with unique personalities -- those who are ripe for parody, Kerns said.

Costume Holiday House turns 50 next year, meaning it has survived many presidential elections. Kerns said there were lots of Michael Dukakis masks left over in 1988, because Dukakis was not all that interesting as a person.

McCain and Obama are different stories, Kerns said. Even Bill Clinton's mask still sold out this year at Party America.

In the end, the type of costume a person is likely to wear is often determined by their age and gender. The big categories of costumes are sexy (popular among women), silly (popular among men), cute (popular among children) and scary (popular among young men).

The Joker is a top-selling scary outfit and mask this year, Erf said. Top-selling cute costumes include Hannah Montana, Indiana Jones and Batman costumes.

Adult males are more likely to wear costumes that make funny statements -- political or otherwise -- such as outfits worn by actor Will Ferrell in any one of his movies, said Dean Lorentz, assistant manager with Spirit Halloween.

For women, dressing as Palin may be appealing for two reasons.

First of all, Palin has the chance to become the first female vice president, so she's interesting in that regard. But her look also lends itself in another way.

Walls of Party America and Spirit Halloween are devoted to sultry Halloween costumes for women. There are sexy pirates, sexy maids, sexy witches -- there's pretty much a sexy costume for every career imaginable.

A party-goer could dress like Palin and exaggerate the governor's resemblance to a naughty librarian. That could kill two birds with one stone.