The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Trump-ed up costumes dominate Halloween

Political+costumes+are+a+popular+choice+among+students+this+Halloween.
Political costumes are a popular choice among students this Halloween.

Political costumes are a popular choice among students this Halloween.

Political costumes are a popular choice among students this Halloween.

By Ariel Majewski, Contributing Writer

Polls show former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at the forefront of the election —as of Oct. 30, she leads 45 percent to 41.6 percent — but Donald Trump is leading in a different way:

Masks, costumes and wigs.

The political election season has greatly affected the costume business — so much so that political costumes have been placed as the third-most popular choice for adults over 35, according to the National Retail Federation.

The National Retail Federation reported in a survey that consumers will spend $3.1 billion on costumes out of an overall $8.4 billion on Halloween this year — a record in the survey’s 11-year history.

Based on a Spirit Halloween political infographic, 55 percent of people said they would choose to be Trump, while 45 percent would choose to dress up as Clinton.

Spirit Halloween has a special section for its political inventory this year, called “Make Halloween Great Again.” Along with paper and latex masks, Spirit offers multiple foam masks with two presidential candidates’ facial expressions.

Marisa Uzzolino, Spirit Halloween representative, said the whining “Cry-Baby Trump” mask is still in the lead over the “#HBIC Hillary” mask.

These Trump-favoring statistics appear to be the case for other costume outlets as well.

Robert Dallas, owner of Dallas & Co. in Champaign, said he can’t keep Trump masks in stock, and Hillary masks closely follow in sales.

“Trump masks are still in the lead by a small fraction. We just sold out of both but will be getting more back in within a day,” Dallas said. “I am confident we will sell out again, so I would push people to buy them now rather than waiting right before election time.”

Other than masks, Dallas & Co. provides donkey and elephant costumes, “Make America Great Again” hats, American-themed ties and candidate wigs.

Although many people are purchasing this material, it’s not easy to find. Dallas said some customers buy their political merchandise discreetly. The popular supplies have also divided customers at times.

“I think the political scene has basically altered and changed and put fear into everyone’s mind,” Dallas said. “It’s really made more customers upset and angry about things you usually wouldn’t care about.”

Daniel Howie, sophomore at Parkland College, said he could see shock and irritation as possible reactions from customers looking at the political rack the first time.

“I can definitely see people getting frustrated at that,” Howie said. “They’re concerned about how this election is going to go.”

Andrea Cunningham, freshman in DGS, doesn’t think there is anything wrong with promoting this inventory, although she personally wouldn’t purchase it.

“People are going to do what they want — they’re going to find it somewhere else,” Cunningham said. “It’s just a funny costume. I don’t think there is any harm done by people buying it or seeing it. I think it’s kind of nice to poke fun at something that’s so serious and, frankly, scary.”

College students aren’t the only ones making comments about Dallas & Co.’s inventory. Dallas said that students in both high school and middle school have been especially vocal about the merchandise.

Alec Campbell, senior at Centennial High School, recently went to Dallas & Co. with his friends.

“It was kind of funny at first; it was interesting to see that they had the masks. I think they might make other people feel more inclined to not have fun,” Campbell said. “Compared to just a fun costume … it just changes the mood.”

Ever since Centennial High School had an election, Campbell said students have been facilitating more conversations about political merchandise. Specifically, a couple of people in his  government class animatedly debate over the costume shop’s masks.

Compared to “Make Halloween Great Again,” Dallas & Co. does not have a rack solely designated for political merchandise. Costumes and masks from “V for Vendetta” — another popular theme this year — are mixed in the same rack.

“We’re basically making a Dallas & Co. statement that we’re not trying to affiliate with any specific political party,” Dallas said.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment