So unlike the other Rooktopia Top Ten, these are actually based on real statistics. The Top Children’s costumes, as defined by the National Retail Foundation, can be found at this site. The purpose of this list is to elaborate on my own marginal opinion for each of these timeless October 31 motifs. When those adorable little moppets start to lurk around your door, asking for tricks or treats, what frightening creature of they night will they be disgused as?
#10 – Power Ranger. Wait a minute… kids still watch this show? How? I’m pretty sure this show was on before I went to college, and that was over 10 years ago! Bandai must have the greatest marketing staff in existence to keep this scam for going on this long. Either that, or the NRF is starting to confuse Power Ranger-like substances with the real thing. (“What’s a ‘LaDanian Thomlinson’? Looks like a Power Ranger to me.”) I guess I’m just having a hard time imagining that the modern kid is still into Power Rangers, since I associate it more with college freshmen and misplaced nostalgia.
#9 – Ghost. I’m surprised this wasn’t ranked higher. A white bedsheet with two holes is about the easiest costume you can make. Boys and girls can wear it. And you can even make a decent case that you’re really “Charlie Brown wearing a ghost costume” if you poke enough holes in the costume. Sadly, I think this has to do with the increase in the price of bed sheets, forcing children of lower tax brackets to dress up in discounted “ID4 Alien” outfits.
#8 – Pumpkin/Jack o’ Lantern. Once upon a time, I would’ve thought that this was a weird idea for a costume, but when we went to the pumpkin patch over the weekend there were a ton of kids in pumpkin outfits. Most of them were toddlers, though. This doesn’t sound particularly safe. What happens when a pumpkin picker accidentally takes a baby home by mistake? Tears, police involvement, and 10-20 years upstate, that’s what.
#7 – “Star Wars” characters. This is right up there with my disbelief over Power Rangers. Kids are still dressing up as Star Wars characters? I’m assuming that Darth Vader, Jedi Knight, and Yoda are popular costumes, though I’m sure there’s some poor kid with parents who bought into the whole Jar Jark Binks hype. I guess the recent trilogy did good money, and the only people who are complaining are the ones that should’ve rolled up their pre-production “Revenge of the Jedi” replica poster a long time ago, but I guess I figured midichlorians hadn’t tapped into the ying of youth imagination the way the originals did. Color me surprised. Jedi surprised.
#6 – Princess (Disney). You ever wonder why there isn’t a Disney Prince line for boys? Of course not, becuase not many boys would want to dress up like a bland milksop. Well, except for Aladdin, and he had that weird open vest number. It’s the Princesses that had all the personality and attitude. Girls like that! Also, they like the pretty outfits they wore in the in the movies. It’s a win win! (Note: while she’s bundled at the Disney Store with the princess packages, Tinkerbell is not a Princess. The NRF lists Tink costumes separately. Which begs the question: how do we know she’s not some sort of Fairy Princess of Neverland?)
#5 – Fairy. This is sort a variant of the princess costume, only more sparkly and with wings. (I’m going to go out on a limb that “fairy” represents ones that look like the Tooth Fairy, not disturbing “Pibgorn” style fairies.) I’m going to guess that the main attraction is the wand with the glowing star at the end. It’s a nifty tool to hang your treat back off of. Plus, you can use it as a makeshift weapon in case your little brother gets all grabby with the candy.
#4 – Witch. I don’t know… this one seems kinda quaint. I would’ve credited Harry Potter for the strong showing, but HP is a separate category in the NRF poll. Maybe this is a generational thing. “Your momma dressed up like a witch, your grandmomma dressed up like a witch … and so help me, you’re going to be a witch on Halloween!” I guess this is a nice alterative to the little girl who has developed a distaste for all things frilly and pretty and has this thing for spiders and dressing in black. Just know that you, parent, may in a few years see her allowance money get siphoned into the Hot Topic fashion empire.
#3 – Pirate. Thank you, Johnny Depp, for making pirates cool again. I’d say that his fey rendition of Jack Sparrow single-handedly brought pirates back into the mainstream. (Honestly, I do love the pirate costume. It’s the easiest to cobble together with pieces of other costumes you may already have around the house! Also, I saw a Captain Hook hat at the Disney store recently that was tres cool.) Plus, a pirate costume is so versatile. You’ve got a ready-made outfit for Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, you can use the hook for getting at hard to reach spaces, you can use the eyepatch in case you get spontaneous lazy eye, and the skull-and-crossbones is the latest design motif in hipster wear.
#2 – Spider-Man. Spidey’s one of my favorite superheroes, so I got no complaints about his recent status as “Most Popular Superhero Costume.” He’s friendly, he’s from the neighborhood .. and he’s got nifty webshooters that can shoot either water or silly-string, so right there he’s got a more functional representation of a superpower than, say, the kid who dresses up as Superman. Concerned parents living in the Northern US, though, might want to dress up their kids in heroes wearing warm weather gear. Like … um … that Korean guy from “Heroes.” He’s sensibly dressed. I mean, the Spidey mask is great protection from the cold weather and all, but the standard superhero spandex look often means that kids have to stroll around the block wearing an overcoat that covers up ther costume anyway. I guess you could make a case that the kid is really “Peter Parker in costume change transition” … but that’s just lame and no one’s buying it.
#1 – Princess (generic). And now we get to the #1 costume, the Princess. It’s actually the second appearance on this list if you count the Disney Princess entry. It’s probably also the only member of the royalty that gets serious play during Halloween. Unless someone’s being the Burger King (which IS a nifty costume, admittedly), no one’s donning the crown and bling combo except daddy’s little girls. Perhaps the whole theme needs a lift from a blockbuster movie, preferably starring Johnny Depp. “Monarchs of the Mediterranean,” perhaps? Now, I’m not to big of a fan of the theme of this costume. It’s an excuse for parents to spoil their little girl and for little girls to act like spoiled brats. Don’t think so? What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you see a pre-teen wearing a pair of sweatpants with the word “Princess” written across the butt? Other than “Oh my God this is an FBI sting operation isn’t it?”