Pop culture driving Halloween costume choices

10/21/2013 5:12 PM

10/22/2013 6:08 PM

What’s the most popular adult costume for Halloween at the Kansas City Costume Co.? It can change by the day and by the shipments coming in.

Last week, the Dorothy outfit — a blue and white checkered dress, with ruby slippers — from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” was selling well. Over the weekend, customers were more likely to pick the Evanora and Oz (Oscar Diggs) costumes based on 2013’s “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

This week, the shop was down to just one Big Top Tease for women — a ringmaster’s outfit with gold brocade top, ruffled three-tier skirt with gold trim, jacket with gold embroidery, fringed epaulets and long tails, black bow tie, and satin top hat. The shop has already ordered more and expects more in later this week.

Juan Madera, store manager of the downtown Kansas City shop, said 1980s theme parties are in this year, so the store is stocking Madonna-style blonde curly wigs with big bows, neon studded chokers, and leg warmers, along with MC Hammer-inspired gold suits with harem-style pants and black mesh shirts.

Some customers are trying to recreate the Robin Thicke/Miley Cyrus pop culture moment by substituting a striped Beetlejuice suit for Thicke’s striped suit. There also are Elvis blinged-out pantsuits, disco ball earrings, and a variety of noses — pig snouts, pixie, and Pinocchio.

Movie characters continue to be top choices with Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man and Minions from “Despicable Me” on many lists.

At Party City in Merriam, customers have made ninjas a top choice as well as Slender Man, Darth Vader and Ghostface.

Jerry Vest, co-owner of Have Guns Will Rent Costumes Props in Kansas City, Kan., said his customers were planning a very scary Halloween.

“More so than normal. We rented both of our Peter Rottentails — an Easter Bunny with fangs and claws,” said Vest, a co-owner of the costume sales and rental store. “Zombies and pirates have always been good, and for girls, anything sexy. And Star Wars, but not as much as in the past.”

Vest also sold a wedding dress to a woman planning to be a zombie bride at her Halloween wedding next week.

“Cowboys and gangsters were hot last year but not this year. We just had one cowboy this year,” Vest said. “That’s what is so hard about this business. You have to have a couple of million dollars in inventory, and you still won’t have enough.”

More information

Consumers, on average, will spend about $75 on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations, or a total of about $6.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Costumes will account for $2.6 billion of spending— about $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.2 billion on adult costumes, and $330 million on pet costumes.

Top adult costumes

1. Witch

2. Batman character

3. Vampire

4. Zombie

5. Pirate

Top children’s costumes

1. Princess

2. Animal

3. Batman character

4. Action/super hero

5. Spider-Man

Source: National Retail Federation

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