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Clowns, politics, movies lead costume choices at local stores
Clerks see concern from parents over certain costumes
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Party Shop Emporium in Gainesville has a variety of masks including handmade clown masks that are usually extremely popular. However, every few years the owners of Party Shop Emporium notice certain costumes that customers shy away from. - photo by Erin O. Smith

While clown costumes are still selling at Party Shop Emporium, the disguise is coming with a dialogue.

“A kid will want to do the mask, and a parent will say no,” the shop’s owner Neil Clark said, adding the parent will often worry about the child’s safety.

The purchases are still going through in most cases, but the concern is something not seen before for the Gainesville fright night shop owner.

“It’s a comment I’ve never heard before,” Clark said. “When somebody actually buys something, they’re not worried about any kind of repercussions or anything.”

Creepy clown sightings have popped up across the country, although local law enforcement have been unable to confirm calls from citizens.

Target stores have removed scary clown masks from its supply ahead of the Halloween holiday.

Clark said he recently talked to a couple of police officers who came into the store.

“They said that there’s no reason to not sell anything,” Clark said.

Aside from the red-nosed ensemble, Party Shop Emporium has also seen a spike in its political attire.

“Donald Trump has been a really popular character, to say the least. Both of them, really,” Clark said of the 2016 presidential candidates.

At the Pearl Nix Parkway shop Thursday, a lone Bill Clinton mask hung above a stock of elephant and donkey ears representing the two major political parties.

Recent blockbusters like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Suicide Squad” are also seeing a rush at the stores, Clark said.

Customizing her costume from the options at the store, Maresa Egerton purchased a Jedi robe that she was going to make into a Mother Nature costume.

Harley Quinn and The Joker, two prominent characters in “Suicide Squad,” stood out in Clark’s mind for popular requests.

“She’s probably the strongest female character that people have been asking for,” the owner said of Harley Quinn.

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