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New Yorkers Looking To Be Big Bird For Halloween Amid Political Debate

(credit: Max Morse/Stan Honda/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Max Morse/Stan Honda/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Quite a few New Yorkers going out on Halloween said Wednesday that they were planning to portray a fine feathered friend who has found himself at the center of a political debate lately.

As 1010 WINS’ Holly Haerr reports, staffers at Abracadabra, at 19 W. 21st St. in Chelsea, said Wednesday that they have been getting numerous requests for Big Bird costumes.

1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reports

“I’m here thinking about maybe going as Big Bird for Halloween, because it’s funny,” one customer at the store said.

Store manager Cody Hadrick said the Sesame Workshop does not license Big Bird mascot heads because of possible negative publicity. But that has not stopped people from assembling their own costumes.

“Yellow boas; we’ve been selling yellow leotards. We have beaks, but not the really big ones, so people are actually making it out of construction paper,” Hadrick said. “Like, at this point, they’re using anything that they can make into a Big Bird. Anything.”

Big Bird has been a regular on “Sesame Street” since the program debuted in 1969. Portrayed originally and still primarily by puppeteer Caroll Spinney, 78, Big Bird is depicted as a perpetual 6-year-old child with a nest and personal alcove in the streetscape.

In recent weeks, Big Bird has been in the headlines for a comment by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the presidential debate last week. Romney said while he likes Big Bird, he wants to end the small federal subsidy for public broadcasting.

The remark spurred an appearance by Big Bird – with Spinney at the helm – on “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live last weekend. It has also spurred an Obama campaign ad that uses Big Bird’s voice, which the Sesame Workshop has asked to have taken off the air.

The actual Big Bird costume, Spinney has written, is covered in thousands of white turkey feathers that have been dyed yellow. The skull is built from half of a hard plastic ball, while the beak was originally constructed from a maple core with balsa wood forming its shape, Spinney wrote in his memoir, The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch.)

Will you be donning a Big Bird costume this Halloween? Tell us your plans…