Barbie-themed Halloween costumes are growing in popularity after the recent hit movie inspired by the doll. Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC images
Halloween’s traditional black and orange palette is about to turn hot pink. And retailers are gearing up.
Barbie is set to be the third most popular Halloween costume for adults, after witches and vampires, and among the top 10 for children, according to the National Retail Federation. It is never are ranked in the top 10 for every age group since the NRF began asking consumers about their holiday plans in 2004. Licensed costumes, off-brand replicas and DIY interpretations will feature heavily in the $4.1 billion they will make the americans I pay this year for their clothing, part of the record $12.2 billion they will spend on the holidays.
“The Barbie craze has taken over Halloween and people are really determined to rock these looks for the season,” said Drew Griffiths, vice president of marketing and social media at Spirit Halloween, a costume and accessories chain. “Pink and Barbie will 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 outfits, and is currently limiting sales of some looks to two per order. Retailers such as Target Corp., Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. sell licensed costumes, while Amazon is also full of third-party retailers selling unlicensed copies of the movie’s most popular looks using cleverly worded titles like “cowgirl costumes” and “movie cosplay dresses.”
A Target representative declined to comment for this story. Representatives for Walmart, Amazon and Mattel Inc., the maker of the iconic doll, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Halloween acquisition, dubbed “Barbieween” by influencers, is based on the financial boost from the theatrical release of the movie Barbie. The release of Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is top grossers film of the year so far, earning $1.4 billion worldwide at the box office and making Greta Gerwig the first female director-only film to cross the $1 billion mark. Fans latched onto the film’s feminist storyline and originality as a film by and about women and womanhood. It also triggered a number of collaborations by Airbnb Inc. up to Microsoft Corp.’s XBox. who wants to capitalize on the film’s popularity.
Vacation will be about more than pre-made uniforms. Creators on TikTok are prompting followers to lean into the community around the film by wearing variations of the same costume or preparing for a flash mob on October 31 by learning a dance featured in the film.
Some revelers will really fixate on the uniformity of Barbieworld. “It’s not all about not being like other girls,” a TikToker named Hannah said in a video that has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.
Many others will go for retro costumes, and perhaps imitate the more famous Barbie. Robbie, with the help of stylist Andrew Mukamal, referred to the doll’s archives for her pink carpet appearances this summer, wearing luxury designers such as Schiaparelli and Emilio Pucci to reprise editions such as “Solo in the Spotlight” and the “Totally Hair”.
Retailers can expect Halloween-goers — guided by 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 have already modified their Amazon Storefronts to help followers stock up on the must-have tutus, fairy wings and tiaras.
Meredith Heika, a costume designer in California, posted a viral TikTok clip pointing out that costumes based on the cartoons or one of the many dolls is a way to buck the Barbie trend while also showing some originality. For her part, she designs an outfit inspired by the 1984 “Peaches ‘n Cream” Barbie.
“There are so many looks that Barbie has,” Heika said. “A lot of girls say they want every girl to be a Barbie this year and I love the idea of everyone being a different Barbie.”
As for the would-be Barbie lover? He’s just Ken — but lots of costumes are available for him too.
“Falls down a lot. Unapologetic alcohol guru. Travel specialist. Amateur beer trailblazer. Award-winning tv advocate. Hipster-friendly twitter aficionado”