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A Few Tricks for Halloween

Cross dressing tops the list as de rigueur for Halloween bashes in 1988.

“Ladies love to be Elviras,” said Maurice Stein of Cinema Secrets beauty supply in Burbank. Men have been known to come into the shop to try on the costume too.

Other men go for what Stein called “a frilly girl’s dress” that rents for $35. Each year he rents out about 80 of the oversized, lace-trimmed satin dresses, which come in pink, yellow and powder blue. “A guy with a 44-inch chest could wear it easy.”

“I have women coming in here saying, ‘Make me look like a man!’ ” Stein said. For them, the store stocks a costume with a beard and chest hair sprouting out of an open-necked shirt.

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Masks of the infamous Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street,” replete with bladed fingernails, are always a sellout. Feline costumes spurred on by the Broadway musical “Cats!” are still big, Stein said, along with the standard Draculas, vampires, devils and clowns.

Cinema Secrets artists charge from $45 to $100 for a personal Halloween makeup session and also construct custom latex masks, some priced up to $200. Other masks sell from $10 to $50. Costumes go for $20 to $100. For special effects, six varieties of “fresh scab” and thick blood are available as well as other seasonal kitsch such as “the most horrible, horrendous hangnail ever!”

For parents concerned about the safety of their children’s makeup, Stein advised using only FDA-approved water-based product. Aloe should be applied beneath makeup, he said, and plastic, not metallic, glitter is best, to prevent scratching of the skin.

Finally, Stein said, fake blood should not be put in children’s mouths because most brands have a detergent base. “If they want to look like there’s blood in their mouths, they can buy sugarless cherry Jello,” Stein said. “It’ll look just as bad.”

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