- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Can’t figure out how to dress as a binder full of women for Halloween? There’s always Big Bird, the other star of the presidential debates.

The Yellow One is flying off the shelves after Mitt Romney’s threat to do away with government support for PBS. President Barack Obama kept the Halloween dream alive Tuesday night when be brought up the bird again during their second debate.

At 6 feet, Angela Betancourt volunteered for Big Bird duty among a group of friends riffing on Sesame Street for a couple of Halloween parties and a meander along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. She’ll likely carry a suitcase as she passes out the popular kid character’s resume.

“I grew up on Sesame Street and I think that PBS deserves all the funds it can get,” said Betancourt, 30. “We all feel the same way.”

Halloweencostumes.com sold out of several takes on Big Bird almost overnight after Romney’s remark during the first presidential debate Oct. 3, said a company spokesman, Marlon Heimerl.

“In the past this hasn’t been a very popular costume, so when Big Bird flew the coop in such high numbers, it was definitely a big surprise,” said Heimerl, who would not provide specific sales figures.

Disguise Inc., Sesame Workshop’s official costume maker, said interest is up among the thousands of retailers it services. The sellers of unlicensed Big Bird, especially sexed-up versions, beware.

“The only costumes authorized by Sesame Workshop are with our licensee, Disguise, and we are working with our legal team on having the others removed from the market,” said Ellen Lewis, a spokeswoman from over there on Sesame Street.

Betancourt went for sanctioned, sassy Big Bird in a yellow, flapper-style feathered dress and a dainty head piece. Shannon Ziegler of suburban Detroit will be Big Birdesque in a sexier mini with mesh cutouts, ringed thigh-highs and a fluffy hat that has google eyes.

Ziegler, another 6-footer, hadn’t decided between a sign that reads: “Big Bird for President” or one imploring: “Don’t Use Me.” An American flag may also be involved.

“When I saw that costume,” said the 27-year-old Ziegler, “I thought, how perfect is that?”

For the record, Ziegler’s a Republican who said she’ll probably vote for Romney.

Big Bird is not getting fired,” she said. “Big Bird is big and strong and he will be able to stand his ground. I think that Sesame Street will be strong no matter what.”

Kimberly Wick, vice president of Costume World based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., also saw sleepy seller Big Bird become a hot seller overnight. The company sells and rents costumes of all kinds and has four stores around the country.

“We had Big Bird dancing in front of our Deerfield Beach store and people were honking and going crazy,” Wick said. “It’s been 20 years since Big Bird was popular.”

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