Dressed To Thrill

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

August 1, 2008 5 min read

DRESSED TO THRILL

Hollywood characters make a splash on the Halloween scene

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

Creators News Service

If you've ever had dreams of being Indiana Jones, Iron Man, the Dark Knight or the Joker, now's your chance. Halloween costumes that capture the look of your favorite blockbuster-movie characters will be the hot sellers this year.

And if you don't shop early, you may have to settle for one more Halloween dressed like a monster, clown or vampire -- or even worse, Capt. Jack Sparrow.

"Pirates are on their way out," Shari McConahay, marketing director for ExtremeHalloween.com, said. She tracks Halloween costume trends for the site, a leading online retailer of costumes and costume accessories.

The flamboyant pirate captain's costume that was inspired by "Pirates of the Caribbean" has been deep-sixed by the new Indiana Jones look: a leather jacket, gun belt, bullwhip and, of course, the brown fedora.

"The Indiana Jones costume is easier for men to wear," she said, compared with the new Batman's tightly constructed muscle-chest jumpsuit, cowl, cape and belt. However, both are expected to be popular sellers.

Like other costume retailers and manufacturers, ExtremeHalloween.com is betting that the string of spring and summer mega-movie hits will send buyers scrambling for adult and children's Halloween costumes that reflect those adventure heroes.

"Movies and television really drives what's popular," McConahay said, whether it's for children's costumes or those worn by adults.

For retailers like ExtremeHalloween.com, which sells several hundred thousand Halloween costumes a year, critical buying decisions must be made at trade shows held in late winter, often before the films come to market. Costume makers like New York-based Rubie's Costume Co., Inc., the largest manufacturer and distributor of Halloween products in the world, work year-round to develop new designs -- many of them tied to exclusive licensing agreements with movie and television production companies.

"Our costumes are in every store by July, August or September," Rubie's spokeswoman Terry Goldkantz said. At the top of the 2008 list? "Indiana Jones and the new Batman," she said.

Hot costume styles for women will include comic book heroines and villains like Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and spicier versions of traditional costumes like witches and storybook characters. Even moms-to-be will have costumes to choose from, including a glittery angel costume that's one size fits all.

Don't be surprised if your child clamors for a Hulk muscle costume, wants to be Wall-E or asks for an Iron Man costume (especially the version that lights up like the one in the movie). Teenyboppers are expected to make a beeline for the new Hannah Montana costumes (and wigs) or those that will transform them into their favorite stars from the popular Disney Channel "High School Musical" movies.

"For the last 15 years, the Power Ranger costumes have been wildly popular with toddlers," McConahay said. However, after youngsters turn four or five, they want something else. Not so for Dorothy costumes from "The Wizard of Oz," which are expected to remain popular in 2008. "It has stood the test of time, cutting across generations," McConahay said of the character. "It's always going to be loved."

Costumes come in all price ranges, but expect to pay slightly more this fall as a reflection of higher material and shipping costs. If you want to guarantee you'll get the costume of your dreams, buy early, the experts say. No later than mid-September for the best chance to get what you want.

Live in a cold climate? Consider buying a children's costume that's one size larger if they plan to go trick-or-treating. It will allow them to wear warm or insulated clothing under the costume without covering it up with a coat or jacket.

(c) Creators News Service

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