xx Wednesday, October 7, 1998

Monica's a Halloween star

By ALEXIS CHIU -- The Associated Press

Salesperson Nicki Zambrello of Medford, Mass., models this year's most popular Halloween costume depicting Monica Lewinsky and is surrounded by President Clinton masks at Boston Costume Company in Boston. (AP Photo - Julia Malakie)
 BOSTON (AP) -- Forget the witches' brooms, clown noses and monster masks. This year's most popular Halloween costume calls for a blue dress, a beret and, yes, a cigar.

"We thought 'Titanic' costumes would be the big rentals, but it looks like Bill and Monica are winning the race," said Stephen LaLiberte, rental manager at Boston Costume.

As impeachment hearings move forward in Washington, stores around the country are fielding requests for costumes of President Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and even Linda Tripp.

"We're getting lots of requests," said Claire Olerich, owner of the Costume Gallery in Derry, N.H., noting customers are disappointed when they can't find masks bearing Ms. Lewinsky's likeness.

For the creative reveler, dressing up as a figure from the political sex scndal is easy, especially with the details provided in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report and from Clinton's grand jury testimony, broadcast nationally last month.

There are wigs to match some of Ms. Lewinsky's oft-changing hairstyles. There are dark-hued berets like the ones she wore in those brief meetings with Clinton, captured on videotape, in meet-and-greet receiving lines. And there are the cigars, inspired by Starr's allegation that in one encounter, an unlit cigar was used as a sexual prop.

"People even want the tie," said Marilynn Wick, owner of the Fort-Lauderdale, Fla.-based chain Costume World, referring to one of the gifts the former White House intern gave the president.