Tea Party activist Christine O’Donnell, as she stated in her campaign ad, may not be a witch, but you can rest assured come this Halloween, there will be plenty other witches, along with vampires, pirates, ghosts and Dracula’s prowling your neighborhood, hoping to shake you down for an extra fistful of candy.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 41 million trick-or- treaters ages 5 to 13 from across the United States in 2010 on Halloween.
But ever since the 1970’s, Halloween has become more closely associated with young adult party goers, dressing up in their most favorite costumes, usually as contemporary newsmakers from the world of politics and entertainment. In the 1990’s for example, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton costumes (smoking a cigar, of course) was in vogue; recent characters have been Saddam Hussein, Osama bin laden, George Bush and vampish entertainers like Snooki from MTV’s ``Jersey Shore’’ along with pop icon, Lady Ga Ga.
According to the National Retail Federation seven in 10 Americans (68.6 %) plan to celebrate Halloween, up from 63.8 percent last year and the most in NRF’s nine-year survey history. And those celebrating Halloween will plunk down an average of $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year; with total Halloween spending expected to reach $6.86 billion.
To give you an idea of what’s popular this year, I checked in with some costume shops from across the country to ask what are some of the most popular costumes and characters being requested.
• At Ricky’s Costume Superstore in New York City, some of the more popular requests have been newly married Prince William , former New York Congressman and Twitter enthusiast, Anthony Weiner Mr. Winning himself, Charlie Sheen, a Lady GaGa Tuxedo Costume, Walking Dead Zombies , and Smurfs.
• According to Daniel Hazen, owner of Ozzie Dots on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles, Ca., the most popular costume theme this year has been Zombies with a twist, such as Zombie Amy Winehouse, Zombie Bill Gates, Zombie Betty Ford. Recently, someone popped into Hazen’s shop and wanted to be Zombie Amy Swinehouse with pig ears. Steampunk was yet another costume request Ozzie Dots received, which apparently is a cross between Edwardian and Science fiction. Otherwise, according to Hazen, the most popular requests have been ``lots of gears and gadgets with goggles on bowler hats and such.’’
• At Costumes on Haight in San Francisco, the early buzz has been costume requests for Pan Am style flight attendants, Cleopatra has been unusually popular this year, its popularity is thought to have been sparked by the recent death of Elizabeth Taylor, at least according to the store’s owner, Chuck Nicklow. Requests for Amy Winehouse has been in high demand, as are the Black Swan for women and Renaissance and medieval costumes, largely due to the success of ``Game of Thrones’’, the American medieval fantasy television series on HBO.
• At the Buffalo Exchange headquartered in Tucson Ariz., the most popular costume requests have been Glee characters, 90's Grunge, Lady GaGa, Victorian/Marie Antoinette, and an assortment of 80's music icons. Its Santa Monica (Ca.) store, meanwhile, is fielding a number of requests for Black Swans, angry birds, ``Jersey Shore’’ gear, Lady Gaga and classic super heroes, especially Wonder Woman and Bat Girl.
• At Mallatt Pharmacy and Costume in Madison Wisconsin, two noteworthy costumes quick to sell out were Harry Potter for children (The ultimate Super Hero!) and black tutus and black rhinestone crowns for Black Swan (adult females). In addition, adult women wanting Nanny McPhee, including the wig, prosthetic noses and snaggle tooth is in high demand. Super Heroes and Zombie requests have additionally gone through the roof, while Mallatt owners admit they’re having trouble keeping up with the demand for the V for Vendetta mask.
• At the Creative Costume Company in New York City, other than the typical requests for standard Halloween costumes, whether it be pirates, vampires witches, princesses, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon etc; this year, stewardess uniforms and Playboy bunny costumes are more popular than usual, according to Susan Handler from the Creative Costume Company.
• At the Halloween Mart in Las Vegas, Nevada, Angry Bird and Monster High costumes are extremely popular requests this year, while a unique and unusual request the online Halloween costume store received just the other day was for LeeLo from The 5th Element motion picture.
Happy Halloween; and remember as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus would tell you, ``Let’s Be Careful Out There!’’!
October 26, 2011