Ghostly sightings of Bernard Madoff’s plastic punim will be popping up everywhere this Halloween, as costume shops report that Madoff masks are flying off the shelves.
As of press time, Amazon.com listed its Madoff mask as “currently unavailable,” and it was “temporarily out of stock” at AnyCostume.com.
Mask buyers are pairing the face with striped prison outfits, says Mac Beige, owner of Rubie’s Costume Co., Inc. in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. “This happened once before, with Richard Nixon,” Beige said of people pairing masks with the striped ball-and-chain ensembles.
Beige, whose company distributes a “Mr. Ponzi” mask to costume shops and online catalogs across the United States, said, “Our customers were asking for it, because he’s a famous face” of the moment.
The mask, which is priced between $19.95 and $39.95 at most retailers, has garnered media attention with both a wire-service piece in The New York Times regarding its mass distribution and a gag line in the opening monologue on David Letterman’s October 16 show.
“The Madoff mask is now one of our most famous, or should I say infamous, masks,” Beige said.
But if Madoff isn’t your costume of choice, there is a minion of Jewish characters from the Bible and recent history to choose from.
On eBay you can buy an Einstein wig and mustache kit for $9.99. Another site, halloweenstreet.com, offers adult biblical costumes, including a white-haired Moses (imagine Yul Brynner greeting you with “Moses, Moses, Moses”), a generic shepherd — good for a variety of forefathers — and a satiny Queen Esther. And in a pinch there’s always Jesus; just say you’re Isaiah.
There even are costumes for Jewish wannabes of late — Britney Spears, Madonna — in various outfits.