Feb 21, 2012
2012 Costume Trends
Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

Find out what’s on the costume horizon for 2012

Undead zombies and the superheroes that fight off their attacks will duel each other for costume supremacy in 2012, while accessories are once again seen as the perfect way to both build and complete creative costumes.

Q. What do you predict for 2012?
Sergio Lemus
Disguise Inc.

Halloween 2011 showed the strongest consumer spending in nine years, and 2012 should be no different. Children, the core of the holiday, will undoubtedly continue to hit the pavement in strong numbers, and an emerging young adult market will still be able to take advantage of a full weekend of celebrations that concludes with the official Wednesday festivities. This, in theory, could amount to three or more costume purchases per participant.

Alicia Brockwell

Couple’s costumes did great in 2011 and we expect the trend to continue for 2012. In 2011, we also embraced the “Big, Bold and Beautiful” woman with more than 80 styles with all of the same great innovations that can be found in the main collection. This line will be a great growth area for 2012.

Brian Sofer

Zombie, vampire and Steampunk costumes are bound to remain popular for the coming season.

Simon Woo
California Costumes

Sales for men and women will trend towards accessories costume purchases for children will be very value oriented. Parents are willing to spend for their children, but they have become more discerning about a costume’s quality and value. Besides the typical staples of witches, vampires and pirates, we think aliens will be a big hit with boys this year.

Warren Berkowitz
Forum Novelties

The greatest number of carryover in the costume sector of Halloween was sexy costumes. This has been the trend for the last few years now. With so many companies offering sexy costumes, the market has become a little saturated. This does not mean a retailer should ignore sexy costumes, as it is still a large part of the costume business. However, they should consider scaling back variety. A customer will buy just one costume but can buy many accessories to add on.

Q. What new collections do you have to introduce to retailers?
Chris Zephro
Trick or Treat Studios

We’re releasing an officially licensed Michael Myers mask based on the 1981 Universal Studios classic, “Halloween 2.” Complete with heavy weathering, camel hair and flesh tones, it looks just like it jumped off the screen.

We’re also coming out with a line of masks from Dark Horse Comics that includes the first ever comic book version of “Hellboy” and a mask based on Eric Powell’s “The Goon,” which is going to be a major motion picture in 2012. We’re also doing a line of masks called the Clowns of Death Series that should be a big hit with the Haunt crowd.

California Costumes is unveiling a new “Paw-Parazzi” line that is a collection of themed celebrity dog costumes. We’re also introducing a new product line of Tranformotion masks that offer a two-in-one surprise – a spring-loaded outer mask pops open to reveal a scary second mask underneath.

The popularity of zombies remains undying, and our “Get Your Zombie On” kits contain accessories and makeup that will let anyone customize their own zombie persona.

Erin Sue

Our designers put a stronger focus on growing the animal costume line. Previously there was a bear and a skunk, and there will now be a raccoon, deer, pony and bear. Retro toys and comics from the ’80s have inspired many of these themes, and the designers expect this collection to be extremely popular for all ages and personalities.

Dreamgirl has added a new musical dimension by integrating the latest sound technology into our costumes Simply plug in any portable music device or phone and enjoy hours of music. Another new innovation is the Costume Camera discreetly hidden in the hat of the costume that can record the action or take stills of friends. Using the included USB memory card, videos can be downloaded onto your computer for 120 minutes of entertainment.

Q. What themes or licenses should retailers have on their radar?
I would recommend keeping an eye on costumes and masks from the comic book industry. Most of the attention of costume manufacturers goes towards motion pictures, but Hollywood has been short on ideas lately and comic books seem to be the direction where everyone is looking for the next great thing.

We are excited about adding a few new licenses to the Forum line this year. We have just signed on the Annoying Orange license for costumes and masks, American Horror Story and Annie from “Little orphan Annie.”

Last year Dreamgirl expanded our Sugar Sugar collection into the girl category with Sugar Sugar kid’s collection. This year we have given our girls – both kids and juniors-a whole new reason to buy with an exciting array of costumes, and have expanded the line to include a new boys offering, Mischief and Mayhem.

Another new category for the junior girl is our “mini costume,” apparel-driven kits that allow her to create a character in a flash. We are also introducing two mini costumes for boys at great price points; good for all year round play.

Gary Schneider
Rasta Imposta

For licensed product, our Coca-Cola licensed adult costumes are going to be on the market for the first time ever. We will also be adding accessory items such as wigs, eyelashes and hosiery to our very popular Crayola costume line. Our collection of food based licensed costumes continues to grow with the addition of Chiquita banana costumes, Campbell’s and Chunky Soup and Wonka Candy brands featuring Fun Dip, Sweet Tarts and Laffy Taffy.

No doubt the year’s biggest films will be Marvel’s “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” so they’re a must on every retail floor. New theatrical releases that are sure to pop include Disney/Pixar’s “Brave,” DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and two Disney 3-D re-releases in spring and fall -“Beauty and the Beast” and “Finding Nemo.”

Q: What do you suggest for costume add-on sales?
Stockings, gloves, and accessories are always ideal to spice up costumes and personalize them, and our catalogs are shot with costumes and props. These pairings can be a helpful way for retailers to add-on to their sale with a costume.

Complementing accessories are by far the best add-on sale. Demographic is important; a parent shopping for a kid is likely to enhance the child’s costume with an add-on, and if available, also pick out something for themselves.

Viable purchases for the price-conscious parent include a mask, a wig or a set of gloves; a full-blown costume purchase is not as common. In contrast, the young adult will want a costume to be as striking and complete as possible, so add-ons such as gloves, boot covers, makeup or head gear can amount to a considerable sale.


Accessories can be just as much of a draw for your business as costumes. Customers need to be sold on by accessorizing to get the most out of their role playing and going the extra mile to complete the fantasy. You can help drive accessory sales, as well as spark customer ideas with virtually no cost.

This year we are putting a new spin on the classic costume kits. Think apparel pieces mixing and matching with our assorted costume starters like leggings, dresses, petticoats and tops. These pieces are perfect for the customer who wants to personalize her “costume style.”

For 2012, we have also expanded our use of the LED lights to multiple colors and chasing lights in surprising new placements, integrating these into hats, petticoats and sexy accenting details.

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