Scott Brown
September 29, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Can’t wait for another glimpse of X-Men hunk Hugh Jackman? Never fear: Come Oct. 31, he’ll be lurking in every cul-de-sac, hitting you up for Jolly Ranchers. That’s because costume manufacturers expect to ship tons of X-wear this Halloween — especially duds based on Jackman’s character, the white-hot Wolverine. (Note to kids: Start growing those muttonchops now!)

For Hollywood trendspotters there’s no litmus test like Halloween. Trouble is, with this year’s summer-movie crop skewing older (The Perfect Storm, The Patriot, Space Cowboys) and the next Star Wars flick two summers away, a clear fright-fest fave hasn’t emerged. Besides X-Men, says Alan Marcus, VP of public relations for toy giant F.A.O. Schwarz, ”it’s tough this year because there really hasn’t been a standout.”

So what is leading the candy-grabbing pack? TV and (horrors!) books. Early scouting suggests Harry Potter and the Powerpuff Girls will dominate your ‘hood. ”No one could have predicted what’s going on with The Powerpuff Girls,” says Rubies Costumes prez Howard Beige of the Cartoon Network’s breakout hit. ”It’s selling very well for retailers.” (Blame the shortage of Halloween girl power, a void X-Men failed to fill when no Storm costume was produced.)

Also scaring up sales: Kramer-haired Goku from the anime ‘toon Dragonball Z and beasties from the Pokémon rip-off Digimon. And speaking of Pokémon: The critters remain a treat for retailers, thanks to an expanded line of characters, 10 in all. So take heart, Mom: no need for little Debbie to borrow your push-up bra and hit the streets as Erin Brockovich.

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