Vampire, Swine Flu Top Sales at Veteran F.C. Costume Shop

It’s no surprise vampire capes and plastic fangs are having their heyday this year at the 25-year-old, family-owned Economy Party Supplies shop in the City of Falls Church. And then there are the pig noses.econPartywigs

sidebarIt’s no surprise vampire capes and plastic fangs are having their heyday this year at the 25-year-old, family-owned Economy Party Supplies shop in the City of Falls Church. And then there are the pig noses.

Blood-sucking fiction has pushed its way into mainstream entertainment all the way from HBO’s “True Blood” to the tween-geared book-turned-movie “Twilight,” sending today’s pop culture into an immortality-obsessed frenzy.

“Vampire costumes are big this year, from children all the way up to adults,” said Shawn Dimitriades, manager and buyer at Economy Party.

Of course, a lady can’t expect to get the ultimate, caped bad boy this Halloween without showing a little skin. That’s why sexy — that’s right; sexy is now an official costume category — hasn’t lost its momentum from previous years in solid sales. One scantily-clad get-up in particular, known as the “Gretchen” German beer maid costume, continues to be the best-selling sexy costume for females.

“Sexy is huge right now. There’s thousands of costumes to choose from these days. And then there’s funny ones — like bananas or carrots — all the way to the risqué nurse, with skin showing,” said Dimitriades.

She added, however, the increase in flirtatious costume options for adults has only recently spiked.

“It hasn’t been for that long. For instance, only a year ago, our shop went from 15 feet of sexy to 40 feet,” said Dimitriades.

That’s 300 additional inches of feather boas, fishnet tights and hooker heels, for those interested in a more quantified depiction.

To be fair, Economy Party does have its standards. “Too” sexy costumes, or costumes showing the midrift and beyond won’t be seeing its shelves anytime soon.

“I’m not going to carry those in my store, especially in this area,” Dimitriades said.

But it’s not just men, and women, of the night who are having all the fun this Oct. 31. Equally popular as requests for “Twilight’s” Robert Pattinson look-alike duds are customers asking for pig noses.

“The new thing is the swine flu. We’ve had so many people coming in here thinking they’re being original and asking for pig noses, pig tails, you name it,” said Dimitriades.

And while Halloween 2008 seemed to be the same year Sarah Palin released a swarm of body doubles into Washington, D.C., sales of masks resembling President Barack Obama and other politicos are practically non-existent this year.

“Politically-themed costumes did very well last year since Halloween was right before the presidential election. This year? Not so much. I think, if anything, [political masks] will be a last-minute choice for shoppers,” said Dimitriades, who’s been in the business long enough to know the trends. And that includes the marketing pitfalls.

While she “sells the hell out of blood” these days, Dimitriades saw a decline on the “gore front” during Halloween 2001, right after the events of 9/11.

“That was the only year we didn’t sell a lot of blood or adhesive wounds. There was just so much going on, people were steering clear of gore,” she said.

The only predictable crowd when it comes to Halloween fashion trends seems to be children.

“For kids, it’s a lot of Batman for boys and witches for girls year after year. They keep it fairly basic,” said Dimitriades, who thinks adults have yet to designate their timeless, can’t-go-wrong costume. She said they are more apt to go with the year’s trends.

“For grown-ups, there’s no classic costume anymore. Everything is fair game,” said Dimitriades.

With an industry that seems to quickly be catering more and more to dressing the adult-sized kids instead of actual trick-or-treaters, Dimitriades was asked: What gives?

She said, “What other day of the year can adults dress up as something they’re not, not be forced to hang out with their relatives and don’t have to give out presents? They just want to party.”



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