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Gangnam Style’s Psy? Pregnant Snooki? Clint Eastwood’s Chair? Honey Boo Boo? Smirking Fab Five member?

These are likely to be some of the top costumes at Halloween parties this year – but probably not the parties that preschoolers or little kids will be attending. It’s a safe bet that a few preschool princesses will come to your door (perhaps of the Tangled or Brave variety this season) and that firefighters, superheroes and pirates will parade through your neighborhood. But beyond these timeless tropes, what’s new in the Halloween haute couture this year?

  • child with costume

    Whether they’re working moms or just practical parents, most Halloween costumes we'll see on the streets will likely come from a store of some sort…At the higher price point, Pottery Barn Kids offers an artisan-looking collection of costumes from Where the Wild Things Are that help preschool parents provide a chance to play favorite-character, while feeling like they’re promoting the literary prowess. This brand also offers quirky costumes that seem to seek handmade simulation over sleek production – see their “paper doll” costume or their cardboard “house.” And while animals are always a Halloween favorite, this year’s batch, at PB Kids and Target, include creatures who haven’t been under-celebrated in the past…Hedgehogs and donkeys might lose out to lions and tigers, but their mere inclusion in the these stores’ selections suggest that parents are looking for something a bit more offbeat in their store-bought costumes. 
  • Speaking of quirky, Chasing Fireflies offers a watermelon fairy costume, alongside a goth “Tragedy Ann.” This brand’s offerings are certainly differentiated versus the competition (Vampire of Versailles costume for your little guy?), but they may have missed the mark. This parent targeted catalog seems to be skipping sentimentality in their offerings, which might be off-putting to parents who strive to steer their little kids and even bigger kids towards good, clean fun.
  • In contrast, superheroes (especially the  Avengers, but also Spiderman) fit the bill for boys this year (as well as last year). Variations on this theme abound, but we have no doubt that many youth will slip into some version of the quintessential cape and mask on Hallow’s Eve. If birthday party themes are any indication of the kinds of properties that preschoolers love (and we think they are) than our YouthBeat Jr. data might hold some clues to Halloween’s top costumes: Disney Classics (Mickey and Minnie), Princesses, and LEGOs.
  • For parents who prefer the commercial-free look, but don’t have the skills or the time to do it themselves, Etsy helps them accomplish their goals. Parents can get the authentic handmade look without putting in the labor – and this marketplace is full of stay-at-home-moms willing to monetize their costume-making skills for those who can’t or who choose not to do it themselves.
  • And what about tweens and teens? Look for Katniss braids on girls, along with a few Olympians. For the boys, athletes are always a mainstay among guys who know that dressing up like your favorite player protects you from making the wrong choice. Will we see any Wanted or One Direction homages? Tough to say – we don’t expect too many boys to take on these personas, but perhaps we’ll see a few female “number one fans” knocking at our doors.

What’s your best bet on the costumes that will connect with youth (and their parents) this year?