Feb 20, 2018
Forever Festive Favorites
Sam Ujvary

Timeless characters and why they’re still relevant

Halloween is a holiday where trick-or-treaters and party goers have a chance to be whatever they want to be. Whatever costumes strike our respective personalities is up for grabs; it’s a chance to be as creative as we want to be. The same goes for household decor. When it comes to Halloween trends, the sky’s the limit.

There’s not much of a change in current costumes from year to year, rather it’s a perpetually evolving industry where dress-up ideas that were popular years ago can still be intriguing on shelves for Halloweens to follow. While relevant costumes only slowly transform over time, the Halloween & Party Expo is the go-to place to find what the most popular trends tend to be. With millennials at the forefront of the industry, we gathered some great intel from Mike Carlucci, senior vice president of Halloween & Party Expo to elaborate on what we’re expected to find in the coming year.

“We expect to see costumes that relate well to Millennials,” he said. “Oh, they are a nostalgic bunch – mainly because they will be the only generation that will be able to remember life without all things digital. They ache to relive their childhood.” Think: historical queens, classic fable characters, childhood movie favorites and pop culture references of the ’80s and ’90s, like InCharacter’s Funny Fox – a child-sized twist on the Big Bad Wolf – classic Superman capes from Rubie’s, and InCharacter’s Marie Antoinette costume.

A favorite feature of last year’s show, its Haunted Trends Runway is returning for the second year and will showcase these latest costuming trends as well as new products. HPE has expanded the runway this year to include an extra day of fashion shows, product launches, demonstrations and competitions and have a wide range of companies participating.

The industry has seen an increased demand for makeup from consumers this year, and HPE has put a strong focus to ensure its representation on the show floor. In this category specifically, over 30 companies will be represented at the 2018 show. “In addition, we are hosting an all new Artist Battleground competition, where makeup brands will be put to the test to transform models based on a mystery theme. During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the products as well as application techniques,” said Carlucci. The competition will feature celebrity judges Kyle Vest of Blast Effects and Skin Wars fan favorite and Nick Wolfe of Evil Twin FX.

For those attending HPE, the show has meticulously redesigned a retailer education program with help from Retail Minded, to offer cutting edge information for retailers. In this format, attendees can participate in many discussions including understanding the female shopper; realistic omni-channel strategies for brick-and-mortar; in-store experiences; and welcoming technology into your business. “Retail Minded (is) an organization designed to help support retailers with news and education, to redesign the education offerings for our attendees,” said Carlucci. “In the new education format, attendees can learn from retailer panel discussions and retail roundtables led by Retail Minded’s Nicole Reyhle – with each experience designed to strengthen retailer operations.”

All retailers are also invited to participate in four new open table discussions. These interactive roundtables cover frequently-requested topics and will welcome various industry thought leaders to join in the discussion. Topics include: Ask the Experts: All Things Retail; Retail Realities: Five Hot Topics Among Merchants Today; Maximizing Vendor Partnerships; and Halloween & Party Expo: The Present & The Future.

The general idea here, is to help shop owners decide what will sell in the coming years. And while specific costume ideas will vary incredibly, this is more of a way to know how to market new items as well as products leftover from years prior.

Specifically, items shop owners should plan to stock up on vary as well. Carlucci says we should expect to see more family themes thanks to the release of the new Incredibles film in 2018, and in part because influencers like Neil Patrick Harris has a cult like following when it comes to his family Halloween pics which is only growing.

Accessories too, has been a category that is in high demand from HPE attendees. While some consumers have made a shift to creating DIY costumes, ensuring your shop has what they need to create these one-of-a-kind looks is a great way to keep business as well as drive profits.

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