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SIOUX CITY | There are masks labeled 'Yelling Candidate,' 'Frowning Candidate' and 'Smirking Candidate.'

For sale at Spirit Halloween in Sioux City, the masks all bear varying likenesses of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. They're among the many costume options Siouxlanders have if they want a political theme for Halloween in 2016, a year when it is hard to avoid seeing Trump, an outspoken billionaire businessman, and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"Those are going like crazy," Spirit Halloween assistant manager Patience Andresen said.

With Halloween just a week before the Nov. 8 presidential election, retailers recognize this is a year people want to dress like political figures for the holiday. Add into the mix that the Republican nominee has continually seized news cycles with controversial statements that please some and repel others, and it is understandable that Trump Halloween items are moving.

Since Richard Nixon's presidential run in 1968, the presidential candidate whose Halloween mask sells the most has been a harbinger of the election results. While Trump masks are outselling Clinton masks by a bigly margin nationally this year, the results aren't that scary for Clinton, who holds a solid lead in public opinion polls.

Spirit Halloween is located at Southern Hills Mall, as one of 1,200 stores in the chain. The political masks and oufits section borrows liberally from one of Trump's key campaign phrases, with wording "Making Halloween Great Again" in lettering at the top.

"The race for president is tight and Spirit Halloween has conducted an investigation to assure there’s no rigging in the mask votes. Our whining Cry Baby Trump mask is still in the lead, but Spirit’s #HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge) Hillary is closing in with an 18-point spike over last week," Spirit spokeswoman Trisha Lombardo said Wednesday.

Spirit store manager Paul Boecher said "politics is one of our best sellers," right along with items that tie into 2016 pop culture movie staples "Suicide Squad" and "Deadpool." Andresen and Boecher said the Sioux City store is selling more Trump than Clinton fare.

Personnel from city stores said people are more likely to buy Halloween fare of presidential nominees they dislike.

Scare Central was a popular spot on Historic Fourth Street to buy Halloween costumes for a decade through 2015. Scare Central Manager Tara Shumansky said people over the years bought masks of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Shumansky said most of the time as people made those purchases, they identified themselves as detractors, rather than fans of the politicos.

Andresen spoke similarly: "They are not scared of saying who they are for and against...A lot of (sales) are negative."

Party City has a store at the Lakeport Commons shopping area in Sioux City. The Party City store on Tuesday had some Trump slip-on wigs and bronzer sticks for those who want to get his face pigmentation (orange?) correctly. Party City Spokeswoman Olivia Abbazia said she could not give sales figures.

"With the election taking place a week after Halloween, we are sure that political costumes of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton will be popular costumes choices for both men and women," Abbazia said.

In 2015, the main political mask at Spirit's city store was President Obama. Boecher said the items this year have involved Trump, Clinton and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. There are high-quality latex masks of Clinton and Trump, Trump wigs, bronzer and other items.

In a time when Trump fans in rallies yell "Lock her up," about Clinton, Andresen noted one man made his own costume. He bought a Clinton mask, then paired it with a black-and-white stripe jail outfit, and told Andresen that Clinton belonged in jail. Boecher said he's seen at least two other people craft a similar Clinton jailbird outfit from Spirit Halloween.

Andresen said a man bought 25 rolls of the Clinton-themed toilet paper that sell for $5. The Clinton rolls show her smiling likeness on two-ply sheets. The Trump toilet paper has sheets that read, "Dump The Trump," "We Shall Overcomb" and "Donald For President."

"Hillary is still winning the Spirit Halloween 'Roll Poll' (toilet paper) with a double-digit lead over Trump," Lombardo said.


County and education reporter

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