‘Trump costumes are not popular’: what’s big for Halloween 2021 | Fashion
The year 2020 was an odd one for playing dress-up. Still in the throes of the pandemic and under the shadow of the last US presidency, the bestselling fancy-dress costumes last Halloween included outfits that referenced “fake news” and the Netflix show Tiger King. “Last year was a huge Halloween and caught all of us by surprise,” says Alicia Thompson, director of brand marketing at Yandy, the US costume-maker. “Clearly, everyone was looking for a mental escape from the overwhelming circumstances of the year.”
This year, alongside perennial favourites such as cheerleaders, cowgirls, Austin Powers and Scooby Doo, viral moments have provided inspiration. A costume that approximates to Kim Kardashian’s all-black fetish-istic Balenciaga outfit at the Met Gala is selling out. “The Mystery Gala Guest costume is flying off the shelves,” Thompson says. “[It] was just begging to be created, right? How could we not? There is no shortage of ways that fans and detractors alike can have some real fun with this one.”
At the other end of the “fun” spectrum is the King of the Jungle, which seems to visually reference the so-called QAnon shaman Jacob Chansley’s horned outfit at the Washington Capitol Riot. Yikes! Thompson denies the visual connection. “The costume is selling well, for sure, but I couldn’t speak to whether people are using it for that purpose,” she says “It certainly isn’t the intention of carrying that item.”
Meanwhile, the 00s nostalgia train is running at full force, with a look which recalls Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty video from 2002 (flared leather chaps and all) selling well. “The trend has been steadily influencing fashion this year, made its way into lingerie and staked a claim on Halloween 2021 with a vengeance,” says Thompson.
Also interesting is the costumes that have fallen out of favour. Although “essential worker” costumes and a look mimicking a bottle of hand sanitiser remain bestsellers, pandemic-specific costumes have been sidestepped. “You’re not going to see sexy Covid-19 costumes,” Thompson says. A certain presidential era is not being celebrated, either. “The Trump-specific costumes aren’t popular any more at all,” she says, with reference to Yandy’s Donna T Rumpshaker costume, a big seller during the Trump era. “We had to discount the remaining inventory.”
While its Fake News dress is still being bought, political costumes are generally out of favour this year. “The political spectrum has been so polarising that it doesn’t offer the same humour it used to.”
Thompson says Halloween provides psychological insight into a person’s character. “You can learn a lot about people,” she says. “It’s an interesting time of year where people explore dark desires and dark humour. While not all of it is in good taste, there is always going to be a set of people who use Halloween to tap into themes that feel off limits any other time of year.”