October 27, 2008
A Halloween dress rehearsal
Cortland Youth Bureau hosts costume party for children of all ages
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Salty pirate Patrick Barnes, 7, of Cortland tries to pick up a salty pretzel with his telltale hook Saturday at the Cortland Youth Bureau’s Halloween Party.
The ghouls arrived early this year.
Or at least, it looked that way Saturday as children of all ages dressed like ghosts and goblins began arriving at the city Teen Center for a costume contest.
Lynn DeMartino said she gained inspiration for her 5-year-old son’s costume from a can of green beans.
“He’ll probably wear it on Halloween, too,” she said, adding a family friend helped sew together the green garment and glue cloth leaves on a headband.
Dressed as “the jolly Green Giant,” Brendan Stillman, 5, took home first place in the “most original costume” category.
Nine-year-old Madisyn Zimmer was the only entry in the “food products” category with a costume made from cloth that was painted to look like a bunch of Tootsie Roll Pops.
“I like making our own costumes because then, I know that no one else is going to dress up like that. Lots of people wear outfits from the store,” said mother Tanya Zimmer, adding that last year she made her daughter a Hershey chocolate bar costume.
Even 3-month-old Dante Bice wowed the judges with a black cat costume and took home first prize in the “youngest and oldest” category.
“I just came out because I wanted to have fun with my kids,” said Dante’s mother, Katie Parker of Cortland. Following the contest, clowns, princesses, and Indiana Joneses sipped apple cider and watched a magic show performed by Morland the Magician.
The spooky events did not end there. This weekend, other local residents celebrated Halloween at a masquerade ball held at the 1890 House museum, a haunted house at the Burch Building in Suggett Park and a haunted hay ride hosted by the Cortland High School baseball team at the city Water Works.
Nationally, more people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, with U.S. sales of candy, costumes, and makeup reaching $5.8 billion. Almost 570,000 adults plan to dress like political figures, and Batman costumes are popular for children, adults and pets this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation.
“Consumers — who have been anxious and uncertain for the past several months — may be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to forget the stresses of daily life and just have a little fun,” NRF President Tracy Mullins said in a written statement.
Several houses are already decorated with witches and jack-o-lanterns, and on Friday night area sidewalks will again be crowded with monsters, superheroes and pumpkins looking for Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, and other candy during trick-or-treating.
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