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Posted Date: 01/11/2016

A Full Year of Opportunity for Costumes

Dorothy Creamer

In July of 2015 I had my first child. By the time October 31 rolled around, my then almost-four-month-old had been in a costume of some sort three times. Not the same costume, mind you, three different costumes. First was an adorable knit mermaid costume that a neighbor gifted to her. Next, she was transformed into the cutest (okay I’m a touch biased) Minion. Finally, for Halloween itself, this harried first-time mom who had retued to work recently, ran out at the last minute to get the “official first Halloween costume.” (It wound up being an elephant, not for a love of pachyderms, but because by that late date it was the only infant costume left in her size.)

This all brings me to two points which will be discussed in greater detail in the following pages. One is that retailers have to deal with customers like myself who wait until the last minute to buy costumes. This puts a great deal of pressure on owners who are counting on Halloween sales to drive their bottom line. Secondly, I was happy to dress my daughter in some form of costume pretty much at any time. This speaks to a larger trend which could prove to alleviate some of the stress on costume retailers to always have strong Halloween sales.

This issue’s cover story examines how and why retailers should be paying attention to the cosplay world. There is a whole subculture of people who love nothing more than to dress up as their favorite characters — these are people to whom retailers should be marketing. I spoke to retailers and costume suppliers to find out how this trend is taking shape and offer some suggestions for how store owners can appeal to die-hard fans who are always looking for an opportunity to dress in costume.

Sales at Halloween will of course remain important for retailers, but there is no harm in making those late sales a little less vital. While owners usually report that Halloween sales are the bread and butter and everything else is gravy, by finding creative ways to rake in sales from year-round cosplayers, there is a very real possibility that this could shift.
 
I’m sure for 2016, come Halloween, I will once again be scrambling to find a toddler costume, but maybe my little one will already have been to a zombie walk, a renaissance fair and a comic con. You just never know, but one thing is for sure, it will be comforting to think that I can walk into any local costume shop and find something for her to wear.

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Who Ya Gonna Call?

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Committee Weighs in on Costumes

The House Appropriations Committee has once again said its piece about the treatment of costumes

 
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