Halloween season meets election season

Can the sales of Halloween masks determine who will be the next President of the United States? (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

(SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Americans are expected to spend a record high $8.4 billion on Halloween this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

With this year's Halloween cutting into the last days of the 2016 presidential election, nominees Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) rank as some of the season's top costumes.

"It’s that one time of the year where you can dress up, be somebody else," said Ana Smith, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. "This year we definitely learned that adults 18 and older are looking at political costumes as part of their outfits for Halloween."

The age group driving the political costume-buying isn't necessarily the same one driving the uptick in Halloween celebration.

"Millennials love Halloween and they’re the ones helping the whole revitalization of Halloween, [however] this is a generation that loves do-it-yourself outfits," Smith said.

One popular do-it-yourself costume making the rounds on social media is that of Ken Bone, the stand-out undecided voter at the second presidential debate town hall.

Costumes based on candidate gaffes have also floated around social media as fair game, such as Clinton's "basket of deplorables" or Trump's "bad hombres."

Virginia Regional Manager Jeremy Simpson for the major Halloween retailer Spirit Halloween says he hasn't seen an age range on political costume purchases at his stores.

"There is no set age that I have seen purchasing our political merchandise," Simpson said. "It’s everybody, it’s fair game for the whole family.”

Since 1996, Spirit Halloween says the candidate who has sold the most masks in a presidential year has gone on to win the White House and in the week prior to Halloween 2016, Trump masks have edged out Clinton mask sales by less than 20 points, according to the retailer.

Meanwhile, the national election polls show Clinton with slightly less than a six-point lead over Trump, in an average by Real Clear Politics.

In an usual presidential election year such as this one, Simpson also points out this race could become the exception to their mask sales White House prediction.

"This season [customers are] saying they’re doing Donald Trump to be fun," according to Simpson and Spirit Halloween. "However, those that have bought the Hillary products have done that because they like her.”

Thirty-two percent of Spirit Halloween costumers told a survey they were dressing as Trump to mock him, while only 16 percent of respondents said the same about Clinton.

Regardless of their reasoning, experts point out it's a good thing that people are having fun with politics this Halloween season.

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