Uncertain Economics Minimalized Halloween Costume Sales

Updated 6 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Uncertain  Economics Minimalized Halloween Costume Sales

Masquerading has a fixation on Halloween, along with the inevitable vampires, werewolves, and film scream queens.  However, dressing up in character has spread beyond October 31. Some fans go to the movies in costume, which can be traced to the “Star Wars” series. Others, attend fantasy, comic, or science-fiction conventions dressed as aspiring hero, villain or heroine.

For costumers, though, the expanding popular culture characters does not represent a new demographic of shopper.

"Avatar costumes tanked," said Ken Epperly, co owner of Magic Makers.   "Walking Dead costumes and masks just sat there.  Green Hornet, and Green Lantern, only sold a couple..We are starting to steer away from the licensed characters, and going back to the "meat and potatoes" of the costumes, that have sold every year for 35 years."

Thus, popular characters at this year's boogie masquerades are (as always) , the old standards are #1   Pirates, Vampires, and Harem Girls. "Certain costumes will always sell well and that is what we are concentrating on," Epperly said.

Professional cosplay performer Elsa Littlepage as Avacyn: Archangel of Innistrad
Professional cosplay performer Elsa Littlepage as Avacyn: Archangel of Innistrad
Photo (c) Chris Hayes

The last two Halloween seasons have not been awesome due to jittery national economics, not the jangling of skeleton bones.

"We had a record in 2011. October was a terrible month for ALL kinds of business last year, due to the doom and gloom of the election.   McDonalds recorded their worst year in 10 years, last October.  It devastated the costume industry.   This year is even worse."

Why?

"The government shutdown, has scared most consumers, and on top of that, the economy is just not the same as it used to be.during the Clinton years. We  were so packed the last week, you had to shove your way thru the crowds," he said. 
Perhaps, reflecting tight economics, the Magic Makers co-owner noted that the most requested costume for 2013 is Duck Dynasty. "It consists of a $4.95 beard. The rest is red neck clothing or hunting gear."   As for the emergence of cos-playing conventions, Epperly said most of the fans make their own costumes. "They will buy accessories,  make up and wigs." He analogized them to Civil War re-enactors, or Medieval re-enactors, they make their own costumes, because they are so specialized, and they like them to be authentic."   When Tsubasacon comes to town, "we  have a small crowd of the attendees stop in, and buy accessories,  It is great, they wander around in costume, and make their choices.."
Movies?  "Harry Potter  was the biggest hit [for us].   With every new release, we would have a busy week selling all  they needed to go to the movie in character.."  

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