(Bloomberg) -- The traditional black-and-orange Halloween palette is about to turn hot pink. And retailers are bracing themselves.
Barbie is set to be the third-most-popular Halloween costume for adults, after witches and vampires, and among the top 10 for kids, according to The National Retail Federation. It’s never ranked in the top 10 for either age group since the NRF began asking consumers about their holiday plans in 2004. Licensed costumes, off-brand duplicates and DIY interpretations will feature heavily in the $4.1 billion Americans will shell out this year on their outfits, part of the record $12.2 billion they’ll spend on the holiday.
“Barbie mania has taken over Halloween and people are really pent up to do these looks for the season,” said Drew Griffiths, the divisional vice president of marketing and social media at Spirit Halloween, a costume and accessories chain. “Pink and Barbie are going to be a big part of that $12.2 billion.”
Spirit has already sold out of some of its licensed costumes, including both adult versions of the Barbie and Ken neon rollerblading outfits, and is currently limiting sales of some looks to two per order. Retailers like Target Corp., Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are selling licensed costumes, while Amazon is also full of third-party retailers hawking unlicensed copies of the movie’s most popular looks using cleverly worded titles such as “cowgirl outfits” and “movie cosplay dresses.”
A Target spokesperson declined to comment on this story. Spokespeople for Walmart, Amazon and Mattel Inc., the maker of the iconic doll, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Halloween takeover, dubbed “Barbieween” by influencers, builds on the economic boost from the Barbie movie’s theatrical run. The Warner Bros Discovery Inc. release is the top-grossing film of the year so far, taking in $1.4 billion globally at the box office and making Greta Gerwig the first woman with sole director credit to have a film pass the $1 billion mark. Fans latched onto the film’s feminist storyline and its originality as a film by and about women and womanhood. It also sparked a slew of partnerships from Airbnb Inc. to Microsoft Corp.’s XBox looking to capitalize on the film’s popularity.
The holiday is going to be more than prefabricated costumes. Creators on TikTok are urging followers to lean into the community around the movie by wearing variations of the same costume or prepping for an Oct. 31 flash mob by learning a dance featured in the film.@sarahebaus
I was under the impression this was an unspoken agreement #halloween2023 #halloweencostumeideas #barbiemovie♬ original sound - sarahebaus
Some revelers will really latch on to the uniformity of Barbieworld. “The whole point is not being ‘not like other girls’,” one TikToker named Hannah said in a video that has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.@hannah.coffee
#stitch with @Mark Roberts its show week can you tell #barbie #thebarbiemovie #thegirlsthatgetit #halloween2023 #iwentcrazyagaintoday #hedidntgetit #fionaapple♬ original sound - Hannah☕️
A lot of others will go for retro costumes, and maybe emulating the most famous Barbie. Robbie, with the help of stylist Andrew Mukamal, referenced the doll’s archives for her pink-carpet appearances this summer, wearing luxury designers like Schiaparelli and Emilio Pucci to replicate versions including “Solo in the Spotlight” and “Totally Hair.”
Retailers can expect Halloween-goers — guided by the DIY costume tutorials proliferating on TikTok — to pick up items to create these looks as well as those inspired by Mattel’s animated films. Influencers are already tweaking their Amazon Storefronts to help followers source the necessary tutus, fairy wings and tiaras.@serenityllorin
someone please be yassified bibble #foryoupage #foryou #barbie #barbiemovie #costume #halloween♬ Barbie World (with Aqua) [From Barbie The Album] [Extended] - Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice & Aqua
Meredith Heika, a costume designer in California, posted a viral TikTok clip pointing out that costumes based on the animated films or one of the many dolls is a way to hit the Barbie trend but also show some originality. For her part, she’s planning an outfit inspired by the 1984 “Peaches ‘n Cream” Barbie.@meredithheika
#greenscreen #halloween2023 #halloween #halloweencostume #costume #costumeideas #costumeinspo #mario #barbie♬ Dancing In The Moonlight - 苏颜悦
“There are so many looks that Barbie has,” said Heika. “A lot of girls have been saying they want every girl to be a Barbie this year, and I like the idea of everyone being a different Barbie.”
As for Barbie’s would-be paramour? He’s just Ken — but plenty of costumes are available for him as well.
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