Here are your choices for a Halloween costume this year: fantasy or reality, movie or television, Sherwood Forest or Capitol Hill.
Which means lots of Robin Hoods and Maid Marians may run into some Clarence Thomases and Anita Hills at the same parties, as Halloween celebrants take their costume cues from the hottest shows to play on movie and television screens this year.
Several Baltimore-area costume stores have received queries about masks, wigs, outfits or accessories to duplicate the look of Mr. Thomas, the newest Supreme Court justice, and Ms. Hill, the woman who nearly cost him that seat by accusing him of sexual harassment. But although stores elsewhere in the country are selling such costumes, local shops said Thomas-and-Hill-wannabes are on their own.
"The factories in Japan don't even know this is going on," said Alvin Sachs, owner of Party Time Rentals and Sales in Catonsville, offering instead masks of every president back through FDR. "It would have had to have happened six months ago for us to get masks."
"I had a couple come in here who wanted to go as Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill," said Dave Martini, manager of the Boo Boutique, which has locations in Fells Point and Towson Town. "I think he was just going to wear a suit and glasses and she was going to wear a dress with handprints on it."
More easily duplicated -- his glasses or judicial robes and her turquoise dress aren't the most instantly recognizable of costumes, after all -- are Robin Hood and Maid Marian, as popularized by Kevin Costner's hit movie this summer. Several stores reported selling or renting costumes for that fun couple.
Other popular get-ups this year are the crash dummy from the car commercials, Star Trek's Next Generation uniforms, Scarlett O'Hara of sequel fame and Freddy Krueger-- in perhaps his final Halloween appearance since he was killed in his last movie, store owners said.
And who's out? "Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles are not selling as much as last year. Bart Simpson's out. Saddam Hussein is a big flop. We thought Rocketeer would be big, and it's not," said Harriet Berlin of Artistic Costume and Fun Shop. "With kids, 101 Dalmatians is popular, and Mickey Mouse is still popular."
Batman's popularity is waning, said Jennifer Trussell, costumes manager at ABC Rental Center in Randallstown, while George and Barbara Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev masks are holding their own.
Mr. Martini expects to see some Madonnas since there's a mask of her, as a blonde, available, as well as "those strange cone brassieres."
Several stores reported the historic classics are doing well, especially Cleopatra. "And this year," said George Goebel, owner of A. T. Jones, "Christopher Columbus, too."