Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Political costumes among those dominating Halloween 2016


Christmas is always touted as the peak of American capitalism, but maybe we’re not giving Halloween enough credit. This year, Americans are expected to spend $8.4 billion on Halloween, an all-time high, according to the National Retail Foundation. 

More Americans than ever – 171 million – are expected to celebrate Halloween this year, according to The Balance. The average spending per buyer will be roughly $83, another all-time high. Pet owners alone spent $74.34 each on pet costumes last year, making up the $3 billion pet costume industry.

Most of the industry is geared towards candy, with 94.3 percent of all people polled by the NRF planning on purchasing candy. Roughly 67 percent of those polled will buy costumes as well. In total, the NRF expects spending on Halloween costumes to reach $3.1 billion in 2016. According to The Balance, the most expensive part of Halloween by far is costumes, though the average American is now spending $8 less on costumes than they did previously.

Marrianne Frucci, owner of the Tuscaloosa branch of Spirit Halloween, said sales this Halloween have been surprisingly high, reflecting the national trend. 

“Last year we expected sales to be high because it was a Saturday Halloween… This year, sales have almost reached the same levels as last year, even though it’s a Monday Halloween… It’s really exceeded our expectations,” she said.

Frucci said this was especially surprising given the current atmosphere of the nation. 

“We thought maybe people wouldn’t want to celebrate quite as much this year but, I mean, we were wrong. … We’ve seen great sales this year, much more than expected.”

Nationally, the top two most popular costumes are Harley Quinn and the Joker, featured in the 2016 film The Suicide Squad. Tuscaloosa mirrors this trend with Frucci saying, “Definitely one of the most popular costumes is the Harley Quinn costume. I mean, we’ll get them back in stock and immediately they’ll be gone.”

The most popular costumes in Tuscaloosa, though, are politically based.

“We have a wall dedicated to masks of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Frucci said, “and … it clears out so quickly that we had to make a new display to cover up the empty wall.”

As a national brand, Spirit Halloween has had a role in the presidential election since 1996.

“Well, you know, over the last, I think it’s 25 years, every time there’s been a presidential election, the mask of the candidate that sells the most has been the candidate that wins,” Frucci said.

A poll conducted with Harris Poll and Spirit Halloween found that 45 percent of those polled would dress up as Hillary Clinton for Halloween, while 55 percent of those polled would choose Donald Trump. For those dressing as Trump, the top reason to do so was “to be funny” with 39 percent of those polled citing this as their reasoning. The top reason for those dressing as Clinton was because they “like her,” with 31 percent of those polled citing this as their reason.

Spirit Halloween also has an official Presidential Mask Index which has accurately predicted the winning candidate in each election. Currently, Trump is leading Clinton by 10 points in the Spirit index. Roughly 25 percent of both Republicans and Democrats said they would dress as the opposing party’s candidate “to frighten America.” 

No matter what the Spirit index says, Americans will have to wait until Nov. 8 to see if their fears will be realized.

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