xx Tuesday, October 26, 1999

Star Wars, Pokemon, lead the way for Halloween

By CAROLE SAUCIER -- The Canadian Press

Leo LeBlanc of Saint-Antoine, N.B., about 50 km north of Moncton, stands among his more than 700 costumes and 600 masks which he rents from his home office. (CP PHOTO: Greg Agnew)
 MONCTON, N.B. (CP) -- You can tell that Leo LeBlanc loves this time of year, just by looking at the 700-plus costumes parked in a storage room at the rear of his home.

 In 1975, LeBlanc whipped up a witch costume for himself. When requests from friends to sew up more costumes began to increase, his collection took on a life of its own. Now, a costume-rental business is an adjunct to his barber shop in nearby St. Antoine.

 Last year, about 650 of his costumes roamed hallowed halls within and beyond the town's limits.

 His wardrobe includes a variety of scary, funny, lovable and not-so-cute characters. All the costumes are made from scratch, mostly without a pattern. From Snow White to Mother Teresa, LeBlanc enjoys the challenge of coming up with different Halloween attire.

 The witch, he says, remains ever-popular.

 "I have about 20 witch costumes and the jail bird is popular, too. I don't know why," he says with a grin.

 Halloween tends to shine a spotlight on the year's most colourful characters.

 In the last few years, Disney's Mulan, the Spice Girls, Zorro, South Park characters, Titanic-era dresses and Teletubbies stole the scene.

 It's difficult to predict the latest in Halloween fashion before the witching hour, but store sales are usually a good indicator.

 "This year, for the kids, it's Pokemon," says Monique Collette, who works at Zellers in the city's NorthWest Centre.

  • 1. Darth Maul from Star Wars.
  • 2. Pokemon's Pikachu.
  • 3. Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars.
  • 4. Queen Amidala from Star Wars.
  • 5. Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars.
  • 6. Witch.
  • 7. Dracula.
  • 8. Barbie.
  • 9. Werewolf.
  • 10. Batman.
  •  Young kids want to be disguised as Pikachu, a cute yellow character with magical powers from the enormously popular Pokemon TV series.

     The sci-fi characters from Star Wars are also in demand -- especially Darth Maul, the evil young Sith Lord.

     Less imposing, but still impressive, are Queen Amidala, ruler of the underwater city Naboo, and the techno whiz-kid Anakin Skywalker.

     But don't fret if your knowledge of what's hot is not quite up to snuff, because when it comes to Halloween, anything goes. The main thing is to dress up.

     "You don't want to be recognized," says LeBlanc. "That's the fun of Halloween."

     Don't bother to ask him who's rented what outfit, because he won't breach the customer confidentiality oath he's taken.

     John MacAulay, the owner of the costume store Lloyd's, said draculas, devils and axe-wielding characters have remained popular over the years.

     Those still searching for ideas might consider dressing up as a priest, nun, Little Bo Peep, pirate, bear, tiger, old lady, cowboy, Frankenstein or the prime minister of Canada.

     MacAulay adds that rubberized faces come in all shapes and sizes. Some even move or ooze fake blood.