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HALLOWEEN ISN’T JUST FOR CHILDREN ANYMORE

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Once was, after finishing elementary school and graduating from trick-or-treating, you were too grown up for Halloween. But the holiday has become big business for local merchants selling costumes and decorations.

And many adults seem to be rediscover-ing the childhood allure of Oct. 31.Dorothy Watkiss, 70, has seen Halloween become a bigger holiday in her life-time and says it has become overblown. "People decorate their house, they decorate their kids and themselves. It becomes very expensive." she said.

All the money people spend on Halloween lines retailers' pockets. Julie Nielsen, who's worked six years at Martha's Hallmark at Fashion Place Mall, says that in the past two years Halloween sales have gone up. "I don't know why," she said. "Just everything is going."

This year sales at Salt Lake Costume Co. are up 25 percent, according to Dixie Crystal the store's co-owner. The store, which rents most of its costumes to adults, was packed Saturday. The parking lot was overflowing, cars filled a church parking lot across the street and more cars lined the street up a block.

Rod Jackson, 40, came to the store to pick up a British guard costume. Jackson, who works for Gillette, said that each year people from work pressure him into dressing up. "I don't mind Halloween. I just don't like getting dressed up," said Jackson, who will wear the costume at a trade show in Denver. Many businesses, like Gillette, encourage their employees to dress up for Halloween.

Janae Howard, 19, is the one pressuring her co-workers to dress up. The teller at West One Bank, who is dressing as a flapper, said almost everyone at her office dons a costume of some sort.

The high demand for adult costumes led the owners of Fun Services - Midvale to begin stocking them a couple of years ago. While children have to make sure their costumes are warm enough for trick-or-treating, grownups have different demands for their costumes. "People who have to wear them to work are concerned that they're as simple as possible," said Randy Draper, owner of Fun Services. "For a party they want them to be more elaborate."

Adults are going to more parties - both private and public - for Halloween. Duane Schilowsky, 39, is throwing a costume party this year to reunite his old friends.

"We used to do it a lot in the past, but we haven't done it for a while, probably eight years," said Schilowsky, who's dressing up as Uncle Sam.

For Gina Wells, 21, and her friend Andrea Morris, 22, Halloween means one party after another. Morris, who dressed up as a devil for a party Friday, figures she'll have attended four by the official trick-or-treat night.

Still, not all adults have been won over. "I hate Halloween," said Colleen Howard, 43. "My kids love it, but I hate it because I have five kids and I have to get them all ready."

But more and more, adults are beginning to enjoy the holiday once considered just for kids. "Look at how much fun the kids have," Schilowsky said. "Why can't the big kids have fun, too?"