President Trump slides, ‘fake news’ soars at Halloween costume stores
© Yandy.com

Perhaps spooked by the current climate on Capitol Hill, Halloween retailers say customers are ditching duds inspired by politicians and instead scaring up sales of costumes depicting hot-button political issues.

Jeff Watton, chief financial officer of yandy.com — which in past years debuted the “Make America Great Again” hat-wearing “Donna T. Rumpshaker” and “Donna T. 2.0” costumes — says for this Oct. 31, his company has “kind of moved on” from traditional get-ups made to look like President Trump and other politicians.

With many Americans simply OD’d on candidates and politicians, the costumes depicting White House hopefuls that might have been scooped up in an election year have “lost that luster.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Now it’s more of the political environment around the Trump campaign and things that have become synonymous with this administration,” Watton says.

That could be why the costume maker’s “Fake News” outfit is selling frighteningly fast.

A description for the $55 tank dress with a newspaper print design and “FAKE” written across it boasts that wearers can “spread all the alternative facts” in the get-up. The item keeps selling out and has done north of $10,000 in revenue, according to the company.

Another site, cafepress.com, is selling $22 T-shirts emblazoned with “Russian Hacker” on the front and an image resembling an “I Voted!” sticker on the back. A $20 shirt takes a cue from Trump popularizing the term “fake news,” with an official-looking TV logo and the words “Fake News Network” written on it.

Other Washington-area Halloween merchants say sales of Trump-inspired gear have been downright
eerie.

“No one has touched my Trump wigs or masks for Halloween this year,” Rip Claassen, manager of The American Backstage Company in Alexandria, Va., says. “Everyone is a bit too disgusted with politics lately.”

An employee at Party City in Alexandria says when it comes to purchasing political attire at the store in left-leaning Northern Virginia: “No one wants Mr. Trump.”

“The elections were a trend last year,” online store halloweencostumes.com says on its website, “but this year people are tired of politics.” The company says while there are a few exceptions, such as Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” it’s “seeing a big shift towards pop culture and television shows like ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘GLOW.’ ”

Watton says the site’s overall top seller is its $150 “Game of Thrones”-inspired “Sexy Northern Queen” costume.

But when it comes to costumes taking a page from politics, how does Watton respond to critics who might find tongue-in-cheek costumes during tense political times not so funny and simply scary?

“For our consumer, I don’t think they take the costumes too seriously, and we try to take ourselves not too seriously when it comes to this time of year,” he says.

“Things are so serious around different issues, but Halloween is just one of those times we feel that everyone gets a free pass to take a lighthearted punch at something either that they find funny, or something that they’re passionate about that’s happening in pop culture or even one of their political heroes,” says Watton.

“It’s just a point in time where I think everyone has a better sense of humor than maybe other times when we’re more concerned about being politically correct.”

Dominic Mancini contributed.