Trick Or ... <i>Martha?</i>

Michael Jackson fan and vendor Kenza Seventwonine, of Inglewood, Calif., glues sequins on white gloves he is selling for $10 a pair to passing fans outside the gates of the late pop star's former residence, Neverland Ranch, in Los Olivos, Calif., Sunday, July 5, 2009.
At a busy costume shop in suburban Chicago last year, pop culture seemed to be replacing politics. Employee Mike O'Dell told reporter Regine Schlesinger of CBS Radio Station WBBM-AM there was not much demand for George W. Bush masks, and requests for Osama bin Laden costumers were down, too.

What was hot were members of the Osbourne family, from MTV's reality show, and domestic diva Martha Stewart in jail stripes.

"They want the prison costume, and they want the wigs as well," O'Dell said.

There was no actual Martha Jailbird costume, so customers had to improvise. "We don't have a Martha Stewart mask, but we do have wigs that go very nicely," Odell said.

That was for the adults. For children, the girls wanted princess costumes, and the boys wanted monsters — the gorier the better.

A survey by Wal-Mart found top-selling costumes in Canada last year were Spider-Man, Harry Potter and Princess Barbie.

Penn State University's student newspaper The Collegian reported, among collegiate women in central Pennsylvania, angels, butterflies and cowgirls were the most popular costumes last year. For the men, it was Austin Powers and SpongeBob Squarepants.

And for dogs — yes, dogs — a Connecticut store reported costumes with the "devil" cape and horns and the pumpkin collar and hat were among the most popular, according to the Stamford Advocate.
By Lloyd A. de Vries