Don't be surprised when you open your door tonight to find a pint-sized green striped creature sporting a unibrow asking for candy. Just drop the Snickers in the bucket and say hello to Brobee. It's one of the characters you'll likely be seeing.
At Halloween City last Monday, Demetrius Murray and his girlfriend, Trina Jordan, were trying to find costumes for themselves. Murray had his eye on vampires, while Jordan was leaning toward a 1920s flapper.
The Tacoma couple were reflective of the two directions most Halloween celebrants are headed this year: trendy and traditional. Trendy for Murray, 32, because he’s a fan of the HBO vampire series “True Blood”; traditional for Jordan, 28, because the modest flapper outfit is “cute and it’s covered up.”
But Murray also was considering another popular category: celebrities. Specifically, Jimi Hendrix. “It’d be fun to be the voodoo child for the night.”
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Like most celebrants beyond the age of trick-or-treating, Murray and Jordan were headed to a private party this weekend. Last year, Murray said he was a referee, making him the ultimate party foul caller.
“He was just throwing the flag at everyone,” Jordan said.
“Especially when they spilled or dropped something,” Murray added.
Move over Captain Jack Sparrow. You are so 2007. But don’t weep for Johnny Depp just yet. Ask Halloween City store manager Angie Kruger (no relation to Freddy) what the most popular mens’ costume is, and you’ll get a quick response.
“Mad Hatter. No. 1 hands down,” she says. Credit that to Depp’s performance in Disney’s live-action “Alice in Wonderland” earlier this year. Also popular is the March Hare character from that same movie, she said.
Pop culture pushes a lot of the trends in costumes. But it’s just not films. Another popular choice for men is Master Chief from the Halo series of video games, Kruger said.
Being a hero never goes out of fashion. There will be plenty of pint-sized and teenaged Iron Men walking the streets tonight. And women are getting in on the act with Batgirl and Wonder Woman costumes. Still, girls’ costumes generally trend more traditional, with princess dresses, tiaras and wands in high demand.
For kids, the Brobee character from the Nick Jr. TV show “Yo Gabba Gabba!” is a big seller. And popular across the board with all demographics: Harry Potter, the boy wizard, and his assortment of friends and foes. This being Halloween, the foes are particularly popular. “We’ve sold out of pretty much everything Harry Potter,” Kruger said.
Denise Keegan has 10,000 costumes in stock at her Creative Costumes and Rentals shop on Rich Road south of Olympia. Her year-round store caters to clients looking for custom, unique and high-end outfits rather than costumes-in-a-bag.
Her pin-striped zoot suit collection alone comes in 45 different colors. She has vintage colored tuxedos with matching shoes, Elvis outfits and racks of medieval costumes. “I’m a one-stop shop for guys in particular,” she said.
But women often drive the costume decision-making, Keegan said. In between answering a reporter’s questions, she was helping a military couple with Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf costumes.
“They came in not knowing what they wanted,” Keegan said. “She’s found something that’s really hot on her, and so he’s getting something to match her. That happens a lot.”
Recently, a father and daughter came in to Keegan’s store and left with princess and frog outfits.
The classics never go out of style, Keegan said. Pirates, medieval garments, and zoot suits make up a sizable portion of her business. Mostly, her customers want costumes that look good on them and are comfortable – that transcends what’s popular. But this year she’s also noticed consumers wanting to stretch their dollars as much as they can.
Back at Halloween City, Luke Barrett was watching his wife, Julie Hutchens, try on a beer keg outfit. “Beer’s my favorite beverage so it’d be perfect,” she said. Barrett – sporting distinctive sideburns, jet black hair and metal framed glasses – was not trying on any costumes. Just his mere presence in the store started a flurry of Elvis sighting reports.
“I just dyed his hair last night,” Hutchens said.
Barrett was going all out to evoke the image of The King, growing out his hair and sideburns and shaving his goatee. But the Elvis fan wasn’t ready to shell out big bucks for a rhinestone jumpsuit. Instead he’ll finish off the look with a leather jacket and scarf.
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 firstname.lastname@example.org