Halloween Fashion Steers Clear of Scary

Forget ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night.

This Halloween, Martha Stewart is the big shocker for trick-or-treaters.

Costumes of the guru of good taste, in a prison apparel with ball and chain, are flying off the shelves at stores that specialize in Halloween costumes.

"The scary costumes are out. This year, it's more fantasy and superhero," said Paul Blum, the owner of Abracadabra in New York City.

Fears of more al Qaeda attacks, talk of war with Iraq and the Beltway sniper mean scary and violent are out. Whimsy and fantasy are in.

Even last year's popular police and firefighter costumes are likely to be scarcer this Oct. 31.

"People aren't into the horror stuff, and there aren't too many requests for patriotic costumes, either," Blum said.

"We'll always have that horror aspect, but I think people just don't want to get into that."

In addition to Stewart, the most popular costumes at Abracadabra are Spider-Man and Wonder Woman.

Cee Fumador, a salesman, said Spider-Man is a big seller because "he saved a lot of people. He's everybody's superhero."

Laura Brown, 29, an actress who lives in Astoria, Queens, was shopping for a costume of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

"I just knew I wanted something a little demure, nothing scary," she said. "This year, I'm going sweet."

Paul Fritz, 50, who lives in downtown Manhattan, was looking for a pink bunny costume

"I'm trying to look as ridiculous as possible," he said. "It's entertaining and scary at the same time."

Gary Mittin, an Los Angeles real-estate man, has two Web sites cashing in on the Halloween hype surrounding Stewart, who is caught up in an insider-trading scandal.

For $9.99, he's offering an orange "Department of Corrections" T-shirt with the name "Martha" on the chest, and a black T-shirt with "Martha Stewart Living in Jail" written behind prison bars.

"Martha is such a prime target because people didn't like her to start with," Mittin said.

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