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Published: Saturday, 10/20/2001

Local stores, Internet offer cool disguises

BY RHONDA B. SEWELL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Why should the big kids have all the fun on Halloween? Costumes for infants and toddlers are plentiful in shops, too. From Clifford the Big Red Dog to princess costumes, parents will go all out to dress their little ones for the celebration. After all, babies and toddlers now are included at adult and older children's costume parties, in trick-or-treating, and for photo opportunities that are guaranteed to provide future embarrassment.

“Parents get really into dressing up their babies. We've been doing well with our really warm, heavy plush costumes for the little ones to keep them warm,” said Sherri VanDoren, spokeswoman for the Livonia, Mich-based Gags and Games, Inc.

Carol Roscoe, of the Spring Meadows store, said

parents still prefer princess and angel costumes for their baby and toddler girls, while boys of the same age tend to get into character outfits such as Clifford, Scooby Doo, Spiderman, and Thomas the Tank.

“Superman is the big hit this year, and anything related to cartoons,” added Ms. Roscoe.

For toddlers and boys in the 4 to 6-year-old range, scarier costumes such as monsters and skeletons often are preferred.

For newborns and babies under 12 months, instead of full costumes, some parents go for Halloween-themed accessories such as bibs and hats with detailing of pumpkins, or “Baby's 1st Halloween” stitched on the front.

At Babies R Us on Holland-Sylvania Road, sleepers and coordinating accessories with pumpkins or animal detailing are popular Halloween options. The most popular sellers are pumpkins, giraffes, bears, Halloween bibs, and stuffed animal toys with Halloween themes.

According to a survey conducted by Disguise, an international costume maker, parents of newborns to toddlers age 4 are interested in a wide range of costume choices.

For boys in the newborn to age 4 range, parents' costume choices, in order of preference, are pumpkin, Winnie the Pooh, cowboy, Power Ranger, and Buzz Lightyear - Scooby Doo and Blue's Clues tied. For girls in the same age range, parents selected princess, Barbie, pumpkin, Winnie the Pooh, witch, and Power Puff Girls.

Toys R Us listed similar top 10 costumes, including Bob the Builder, Power Rangers, Prom Barbie Queen, Blues Clues, Little Pumpkin, Itsy bitsy spider, Power Puff Girls, Race Driver, Little Firefighter, and Thomas the Tank.

If you have purchased your baby or toddler's costume for next week's holiday, prepare to spend about $4 and up for Halloween accessories such as bonnets, bibs, caps, socks, and sleepers. Most baby and toddler costumes will cost no more than $39.

More elaborate costumes, and those which have become especially popular due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, such as those with police, firefighter, and rescue worker themes, can cost up to $100. For example, there is the Little Firefighter children's costume we discovered at Toys R Us; it retails for $89.99.

In addition to costumes, Halloween safety should be a key concern when dressing children, who should always be in the company of a parent or guardian.

The Web site www.Toysrus.com suggests using goggles with night vision, binoculars, flashlights, waterproof headlamps, walkie-talkies with clip-on microphone, and neon arm bands while trick-or-treating.

“We tell the parents to keep the kids warm and not to wear a lot of masks, and head pieces should not go over the face,” added Ms. Roscoe, of Halloween USA.



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