Halloween — one of the only times of the year you get to be someone you’re not. But who (or what)? And where do you turn to for inspiration?
Pop-culture moments, especially the ones trending in the run-up to All Hallow’s Eve, are a perennial safe bet, although they might emerge from — and return to — relative obscurity in a short period of time. (Does anyone still remember 2009’s balloon boy?)
The National Retail Federation estimates Halloween spending in the U.S. on costumes and other items will hit $8.8 billion this year (impressive, but down slightly from $9 billion last year). According to this year’s survey, social media is the top source of costume inspiration, with women tending to pluck their pop-culture ideas from Pinterest and men turning to YouTube. (The survey didn’t include nonbinary gender identifications.)
Elizabeth Rogers, a spokeswoman for Elmsford, N.Y.-based Party City, also cited the importance of online buzz, noting that in addition to the evergreen costumes such as witch, vampire and superhero, what’s trending on social media determines what’s on the shelves of the retail outlets.
So if you’re in the mood for a ripped-from-the-headlines costume — or simply want to make sure you don’t show up at the party dressed like anyone else — here are five of-the-moment Halloween trends you can expect to see on the streets of West Hollywood and elsewhere come Oct. 31.
J. Lo’s Versace dress
The iconic look from Jennifer Lopez’s 2000 Grammy Awards appearance was unexpectedly resurrected last month — and set social media on fire in the process — after Lopez walked in the Versace women’s summer and spring 2020 show in Milan in a version of the famous deep-V “jungle” dress. Yandy, the Phoenix-based online purveyor of lingerie and sexy Halloween costumes, seized the social media frenzy by serving up a look-alike costume as a tribute to the dress, and has reported it has since become one of the website’s bestsellers. (It probably doesn’t hurt that the “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” costume will set you back only $79.95— as opposed to $9,795 for the Versace version.)
Area 51 aliens
Aliens are never out of fashion during Halloween. However, a recent outgrowth of a viral Facebook joke — Storm Area 51 — has given this old standby a new meaning. “DIY alien costumes” is a top search on Google Trends. Although Alienstock was a bust, people are still trying to keep the event’s spirit alive for Halloween by planning to dress up as Area 51 raiders.
The low-calorie spiked seltzer White Claw, known as millennials’ Champagne, gained additional online buzz after a parody video about the drink by Trevor Wallace, a YouTube content creator, went viral. The video inspired several memes and tweets, which flooded social media timelines.
After sales of the drink grew 283% to $327.7 million in July, the company announced a nationwide shortage of the seltzer. The spike in demand indicates it’s a new fashionable drink, and retail outlets have capitalized on this opportunity by creating White Claw-inspired costumes. Yandy’s titillating response — a two-piece, midriff-baring “Hard Outlaw” costume ($54.95) — initially sold out, according to a company representative who also said ramped-up manufacturing efforts now have it back in stock.
A recent documentary about Fred Rogers, creator of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and an upcoming film about him starring Tom Hanks have re-popularized the late children’s TV host for the always-online generation. Once again, Yandy stepped to the plate, delivering an eyebrow-raising homage to Rogers that includes a signature sweater that hugs the curves, gray hot pants and a necktie. (Alas, hand puppets not included.) The “Nicest Neighbor” costume has generated a lot of traffic for the site, according to Pilar Quintana-Williams, vice president of merchandising at Yandy, who added that it ranks as one of the most-ordered.
Since the debut of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in 2016, its characters have topped the charts of Halloween costume ideas, according to Party City’s Rogers. With the introduction of characters such as Robin (Maya Hawke), knockoffs of the character’s outfit have quickly catapulted onto the shelves of Halloween costume stores. But the most coveted “Stranger Things” costume continues to be that of character Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Rogers said.