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RAZZLE DAZZLE 'EM `CHICAGO' INSPIRING HALLOWEEN COSTUMES.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

VALENCIA - Expect to see a lot of SpongeBob SquarePants and Roxie Hart in the next couple of weeks. And that quiet CPA in the long black coat and sunglasses? He's living out his ``Matrix'' fantasy.

``Everything is 'Pirates of the Caribbean,''' said Reena Newhall, who owns Chorus Line costumes. ``Wenches and Renaissance, sexy things. ...

``The 'Chicago' look is big, with gangsters and flappers, everybody wants to look like Catherine Zeta-Jones. Wigs are big; I'm on my third reorder on the Roxie Hart wigs and my sixth reorder for Velma (Renee Zellweger and Zeta-Jones' respective characters in the movie 'Chicago').''

Newhall said that trends in her Santa Clarita stores are following those reported by the National Costumers Association. The only difference is the climate; she said that, along with the costumes here being a little more risque, California's warmer weather means fewer gorilla suits are rented here than on the East Coast.

``I wanna be a rock star,'' shouted a little girl of about 8, as her mother looked through a rack of costumes.

``There's a lot of call for bustiers to get that '80s look, like Madonna,'' added Newhall.

She said that, in 2002, anything with wings was ``flying out of the store.'' In addition, she's seeing a second generation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, small boys coming in for masks and shells brought to the store by their twentysomething brothers.

People who take Halloween seriously have already ordered and are now accessorizing their costumes, having visited stores or shopped online in August and early September.

``The good stuff dwindles,'' said Newhall. ``If you're shopping now, you're not getting what you want; you're getting what you'll settle for.''

Susan Davy, who owns F.U.N. Inc., a gift store in Downtown Newhall, has been doing Halloween for 32 years.

``We do more traditional costumes, like gorillas, 'Star Wars,' Frankensteins. We don't go in for the trendy stuff,'' she said.

She and her husband started out with just a few masks and decorative items as part of the inventory of Newhall Pharmacy. Over the years, they saw the holiday's popularity grow by leaps and bounds, even overshadowing Christmas.

``Business is a lot better this year because Halloween is on a Friday,'' she said. ``When it's on a weekend night, it's much bigger.''

Davy often spends the actual holiday helping with haunted houses and plans on visiting Molar Manor, an attraction put on by dentist Ronald Singer to benefit two local charities - the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children's Cancer and the Foundation for Children's Dental Health.

``I got him started,'' Davy said, laughing. ``I sold him his first monster, a life-size mechanical Frankenstein about 13 years ago.''

According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween means a $6 million windfall for stores. The average household spends roughly $42 on the holiday, with the largest portion of that going toward costumes, followed by candy, decorations and cards.

A survey by extremehalloween.com on what well-dressed youngsters will be wearing revealed that the top five costumes desired by boys are the Incredible Hulk, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Pirate King and Power Ranger. Girls will be decked out as Barbie, Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Hagatha the Witch and Mega Star. Even trick-or-treaters in arms will be costumed, their diapers covered with suits of pumpkin, M&M's and dalmatians, along with spandex of Superbaby.

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS

Top 10 costumes for 2003:

1. Deluxe SpongeBob

2. Renaissance Countess

3. Foliage Fairy Green

4. Tequila Bottle

5. Disco Diva Gold

6. Tacky Traveler

7. Hulk Super Deluxe

8. Coney Island Gal

9. Scooby-Doo Vampire

10. Gothic Lace Vampiress

Source: buycostumes.com

CAPTION(S):

3 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- color) Brandy Marton, 9, of Canyon Country tries out the flapper look at A Chorus Line costume store in Santa Clarita.

(2 -- color) Meagan Marton, dressed as an '80s rock star, tries out a princess costume on her daughter, Seaira, 4, for Halloween.

(3) Jaclyn Cookson works stocking costumes of the '50s at A Chorus Line.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer

Box:

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS (see text)

Source: buycostumes.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 20, 2003
Words:693
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